Saturday, October 31, 2009

Joy Unspeakable


"You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy." John 16:20

Oh friends, today is a day of wonderful joy. Dad is coming home after 8 months in the hospital. We pick him up this morning at 10AM and my sister is hosting a big turkey dinner tonight in celebration. I know I'll have many more pictures to share later today, but for now, I'll share our journey to bringing Daddy home. Thank you for standing by my side and praying me through countless days. Wish you could all join us tonight as we praise the Lord for all He has done. To God be the glory!

(I wish I knew how to put a song of my choice along with the pictures. I have provided a link to the song I wanted to accompany the slide show, but I'm afraid you'll have to listen to it separately. Sorry. Computer savvy I'm not.)

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Dad's Journey Home
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Arriving at the hospital to pick up Dad.
Loading up the car.
One very happy Dad!
Aren't they cute!!!
First stop...Tim Horton's!
A lovely lunch at "Remember When" Tea Room in Brooklin.
Dad and I waiting for our scones and tea.
Outside the Tea Room.
Does this look familiar? My friend Carol decorated my garage door in a similar way when I returned from "She Speaks" last summer.
Daniel (my sister Japhia's son), Dad, Mom, Japhia, Sharon (sister).
Daniel, Dad,
Me, Dad, Japhia. It was soooo windy out!!!
Sharon checking out all of Dad's meds.
Preparing to cut off Dad's hospital bracelet that he has worn for 8 months. He looks nervous. Do you see the size of those scissors?
1...2...3...cut!!! As my sister Japhia said, Dad's identity was not in his hospital bracelet, but in the faithfulness of God.
Welcome Home Pa!! (Do you see the two faces peeking through the doors? Two grandsons!)
Smiles everywhere! Together again at last. We celebrated with a big turkey dinner. A belated Thanksgiving.
Ah....I can still feel that hug. Welcome home Dad...welcome home.

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Friday, October 30, 2009


“‘Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.’” John 14:1-2

Home. Ken Gire writes “Of all the images used to describe heaven - Paradise, a Kingdom, the Celestial City - none is so compelling an image as home.”

What memories do thoughts of home stir in you? Is it the feel of hardwood under your feet? What about the aroma of cookies coming out of the oven upon your arrival home from school? The sound of the lawn mower and the smell of freshly cut grass. Sunday afternoon solitude before extended family arrived for the evening meal. The sound of the kettle boiling. Hearing the laughter of neighbourhood children finishing a game of “Hide and Seek” before darkness summoned them away. New pyjama’s received during a time of illness. Gifts given for no occasion. Hands held for Family Worship every evening. Wallpaper. Area rugs. Game nights. Weekend cartoons. Music. Love.

I have no memories of my Father’s house, only imaginings. Rooms. Gold. No illness. Free of pain and fear. No war, pollution, death, disease, sorrow or tears. My best thoughts are still lacking. Uncertain of what awaits me there, I know who will meet me there.

Thank You Lord for preparing a place for me. Help me to remember that I am not home yet. In heaven my restless heart will find its rest.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Removing My Robe

“So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.” John 13: 4-5

He “took off his robe”. Jesus lay aside His garments and put on servanthood. What do I need to remove in order to serve? I think the number one enemy to serving is pride. Christ knew it, and the disciples proved it. Peter did not want Christ to wash his feet. Why? Pride. None of the other disciples offered to do this act of service. Why? Pride.

The only way pride can be defeated is through service. We must migrate our heart and attitude from ‘me’ and ‘my’ to ‘you’ and ‘yours’. When we do this Christ surgically cuts out pride.

After taking off self, we need to put our Jesus on. He was not into titles, but towels. He washed the feet of all His disciples. He even washed Judas' feet , knowing those feet would walk away and betray Him. Christ set an example for us to even love and serve the person we’d like to write-off. It’s hard to minister to our “Judas”. It’s not natural and if we haven’t dealt with our pride issue, it will be impossible to do what Jesus is asking of us.

John 13:1 tells us that Christ loved them “to the very end”. Unfailing love gives us the desire to go beyond the natural to the supernatural. Asking the Lord to give me that love today. Father, fill me with humility that will remove my robe and wash some feet in Your Name, I pray.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Celebrating Mom!

“Let’s celebrate together!” Matthew 25:21, 23

Today I’m celebrating the life of a faithful servant.

In Proverbs 31 we read, “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

Growing up, my 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. No doubt these teachable moments were a direct result of mom’s daily, consistent, personal time with the Lord in prayer and Bible study. As long as I can remember, mom has been rising each morning by 4:00 AM to spend time with her Lord, studying His Word and lifting her family and loved ones to Him in prayer. My memory holds dear, days that began and ended with prayer, as mom would kneel beside my bed each morning, surrendering my day to the Lord, and joining hearts and hands around the dinner table at the close of the day, taking time for Bible reading and family worship.

As I child, I would pray for everything and everyone, often stopping in mid-prayer to ask a question or give a hug, but mom and dad never seemed to mind. I learned early that I could talk to God anytime, anywhere, and He became my best Friend and Saviour while I was still very young.

It was also not uncommon to wake in the middle of the night to find mom kneeling beside my bed yet again. I know her prayers saved me from many hurtful experiences, and also saw the realization of many fulfilled dreams in my life.

During my school days I never left the house without joining hands with mom in the front hall for a quick word of prayer, asking the Lord to be with me. This circle often included a number of school pals who had come by to join my sister and I on the way to school, a witness to them of God’s love - and mom’s! A little dab of perfume on my wrist generally accompanied this prayer time, and was mom’s special way of reminding me of her continued prayers throughout the day. One time, just before writing an exam, a girlfriend inquired about the fragrance I was wearing. I simply answered, “Oh, it’s my mother’s prayers!” To which she replied, “They sure smell nice!” What a practical way for mom to teach the truth of Psalm 141:2, that our prayers rise as a sweet fragrance to the Lord.

Mom is faithful not only in her quiet times, but in all areas of her life. She is a faithful mother, wife, grandma, sister-in-law and friend. Her faithful dedication with her daughters in our musical training, sitting beside us daily through countless hours of piano practice, theory study and exams, led all three of us to receive A.R.C.T.’s from the Royal Conservatory of Music, an achievement that would NEVER have been accomplished without mom’s patience and sheer determination!

Her faithful, daily letter writing is just another example of her commitment to those she loves. It was the “norm” for dad to stop by the post office every morning on his way to work to mail numerous letters, notes, and little words of encouragement to family, friends, and anyone else the Lord happened to lay upon mom’s heart. It’s no wonder my dad began collecting stamps!

As a godly woman, mom’s quiet countenance, gracious nature, open hospitality, discerning spirit and tender heart 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 would be boiling and mom would make time to share a smile or tear over a hot cup of tea. She still provides a listening ear, encouraging word and prayerful support, ministering God’s love. She personifies Philippians 4:8, “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Perhaps one of mom’s favourite past-times would be her love of reading! A good book, a cup of tea, and a cozy place is mom’s personal refuge - when she finds the time! She enjoys quiet evenings, fresh white handkerchiefs (which she then proceeds to leave behind almost everywhere she goes!), "Lawrence Welk" re-runs, and peanut-buttered toast! She is happiest when her family is happy.

She is the founder of “there-there’s”. What is a “there-there”? It’s an unexpected gift, large or small, given simply to say, “I love you.” They can appear in lunch bags or suitcases and have known to be found on pillows or doorsteps! It has become a Dale family tradition, now reaching far beyond our family circle.

Mom, you invested your life in your children, making sacrifices for my sisters and I, and you did it with passion. Thank you for the life-long investment you made training and shaping me. You have provided the colour and shading that brought depth and dimension to my life. It seems like in my growing up years I often found time for everything and everyone but you, yet would anything or anyone else 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.”

After becoming a mother myself, I came to appreciate and love you in a deeper way. I esteem you for the perseverance you continually display in fulfilling daily, the thousands of tasks necessary to ensure that you leave a healthy and godly heritage.

This past year I have seen you rise above so many challenges. Your courage has climbed mountains as you remained a “prisoner of hope”, walking faithfully by dad’s side as he endured months of unexpected health concerns. You held on with grace and determination. You met the uncertainties head on and didn’t waver in your witness. You were hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9) You faced tremendous trials with strength and confidence. You never stopped trusting, but held on to the blessed assurance that God was in control. Again you gave testimony to the Lord’s promise that a bruised reed He will not break and a smouldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice. (Isaiah 42:3)

Mom, today as you celebrate your 84th birthday, I pray you will unwrap special gifts from His storehouse of treasures. I pray you will hear Him rejoicing over you. I love you mom...always and forever.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Coming Time

“The time is coming…” Luke 21:6

What do we do when a time of trouble comes? What do we do when difficulties arise? How are we to respond?

Almost five years ago now one of the Pastors at my church taught these lessons from this passage of scripture. Pastor Jonathan shared three “don’ts” and three “be’s” in times of uncertainty.

Don’t be deceived (vs.8)
Don’t panic (vs.9)
Don’t worry (vs.14)

Be firm in your standing (vs.19)
Be on guard (vs.34)
Be prayerful (vs.36)

Jesus promised us that we will face adversity, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.” (John 16:33) Times of destruction come, but we don’t have to despair. Our times are in His hands. Let’s trust Him with our times…our troubles…our todays…and our tomorrows.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Whitewashed Tombs

“For you are like whitewashed tombs - beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:27-28

When God repeats a lesson to me three times in less than 24 hours, I need to take notice. The above verses came to my mind yesterday afternoon while reading my friend Elaine’s blog. At church last evening our Pastor’s son, Graydon, used them as an illustration in his message. This morning they appear in my reading. What is the Lord saying to me? What message does He want me to understand? What root of misconception does He want to dig up and what truth does He desire to plant in my heart?

I confess that growing up, I was one who judged by appearance. If someone was dressed a certain way, I would assume much about their personality, character and conduct. Pretty outside meant pretty inside. I learned that was not always so. Unfortunately, much emphasis was placed on appearance in our home and many days my clothing masked a cold heart.

As I shared with Elaine last night, I struggle to find the balance in this issue. I long to give Jesus my best, and on Sundays that best includes extra effort in my attire. However, I can honestly say, the condemnation I used to feel towards those who came to church dressed in their ‘less’ and not their ‘more’ has completely dissipated.

Yet, here’s the catch. As my friend Elaine wrote yesterday, “when our ‘coming as we are’ is based on our laziness rather than on our desire for holiness, then we’ve missed the mark.” Finding the balance between dress and desire. Am I dressed to impress or is extra effort put forth on Sundays because my heart longs to bring God my best for the reason that He is worthy? It’s all about the 'why’ isn’t it? It’s about the motive or the reason behind our less or best.

But, even as I write that…is He not worthy every day? I’m not talking about legalism here, but love. Should my love for my Lord not compel me, as His ambassador, to represent Jesus well seven days a week? I’m not referring to clothing here friends, but conduct and contrite heart.

Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. So, for me it comes down to the fact that I don’t want to look the part and wear the ‘expected’ because of tradition or ‘religion’, having my finery falsely advertise a heart that is far from God. It’s got to be real through and through.

So, dressing to reflect both my heart condition and my love for God today, what am I going to wear? Let’s not be whitewashed tombs. Passion, authenticity and love wear better and witness easier.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Your Image

“Whose picture and title are stamped on it? Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.” Luke 20:24-25

The King James Version asks, whose "image" is on the coin? Genesis tells me that I am made in God’s image. The image of God is stamped on my heart. So, I need to give to God was is His…namely…me.

Lord, I belong to You. I need to give to You supremely, not just the minimum, but all of me. Father, bear Your image fully in me. Restore Your image in me to full Christ-likeness I pray.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Owner

“My Temple will be a house of prayer.” Luke 19:46

When we purchased our present home it was not new. Previous owners had painted the walls, hung wallpaper and designed window treatments. After moving in we set about to make it ours. We began decorating it to suite our tastes and lifestyle.

A house reflects it’s owner and is an expression of the one who resides there. Likewise, the house of God needs to reflect the character of God and not misrepresent it’s Owner.

I realize the church is the body of Christ and not the building, but is our place of corporate worship a place where God would be welcome and at home? Is it being used for activities and events that would demonstrate His heart? Is the conversation in the foyer, during meetings, and in Sunday School rooms pleasing and honouring to Him?

Christ desired that His Temple be a house of prayer.

Let’s remember who’s the Owner.

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Friday, October 23, 2009


“Father, bring glory to your name.” John 12:28

Lord, this has been my prayer since March 3rd of this year. As I have stood by the bedside of my dad after errors in care were made causing life threatening complications to arise. It’s been a weary walk.

As others encouraged our family to take action against the hospital, we offered forgiveness. Does this mean we just accepted the mistakes and continued on? No. We expressed our disappointment in the health care system. We met with those who held influence over future patients care and voiced our concerns. We held hands around dads bed and in waiting rooms and prayed, giving testimony to the one Physician who ultimately was providing dad’s care. Like Christ we prayed for the cup to be passed (Matthew 26:39), but He chose for us to sip a little, and in the drinking to glorify His name.

Friends, I have exciting news!!!

Back on March 27th, I wrote that short of a miracle my dad would not be coming home. Well…we’ve received that miracle!!

In just five more days, October 28th, my dad is coming home! What makes this homecoming a double blessing is that October 28th is my mom’s 84th birthday! What a gift. What a Giver!

Lord, I pray that as we’ve journeyed this unexpected road for almost eight months, daily at the hospital, our lives have brought You glory. I pray our responses and reactions have spoken of You. I pray staff and visitors have seen Your presence.

Father, I thank and praise You now for bringing glory to Your name in dad’s illness and healing. Although his mobility may be slower and he’ll need some assisted care, his mind has been renewed and my dad no longer demonstrates the characteristics of one effected by the medical error made.

Father thank You for glorifying Your name through pain and suffering, through doubt and fear, through confusion and heartache and now through praise and rejoicing.

In my life Lord, be glorified today.

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Climbing Trees

"So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way." Luke 19:4

Do you remember singing the "Zacchaeus" song in Sunday School? I even recall all the actions. The climbing motions. Shielding my eyes from the sun as Zacchaeus looked for The Son. I think I always liked that story because Zacchaeus was small in statue, and at only 5'2", I'm not exactly tall either.

However, Zacchaeus didn't allow his physical limitations to fortify him with excuses or keep him from seeing Jesus. He went tree climbing. When walking or standing won't do, climbing becomes a necessity.

After reading this story, my mind began to question what lengths I would go to to see Jesus.

I've read of individuals who have literally 'camped out' days before tickets become available for some concert or special event, or when an item comes on sale at a Department Store. Others will wait for hours behind roped lines to catch a glimpse of a favourite Hollywood Star who passes through their town on a movie shoot. What about a parade? Do you go early to get a front row, curb side seat? I remember going early to the train station one morning to have a first-hand glance of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip as their train slowed down on it's journey through a neighbouring town. My Mom had dressed my sister and I in England's colours and we were waving the Union Jack flag. I'm sure the Queen looked right at us. I can still feel the anticipation and joy of that moment.

So, the question that is stirring my soul asks, what lengths will I go to in my pursuit of Christ? Will I wait hours in silence for Him to speak to me? Will I set the alarm earlier so that I can sit in His presence while the house is quiet, before anyone else awakens? Will I turn off the television to be in His Word? Will I pass on an invitation to go out if I haven't first gone away to a secluded spot with Him first? Will I plan and prepare supper a little earlier on Sunday evenings so my family and I can be back at church in time for the evening service at 6pm? What 'tree' do I need to climb?

Then, once I see Him, may I obey like Zacchaeus. God's Word says that Zacchaeus quickly climbed down. He wasted no time. His response to the call was immediate. I don't just want a brief encounter with Christ in passing, my view contained from a tree limb. After seeing Him I want to be walking by His side.

Jesus is well acquainted with trees. Christ climbed a hill to a tree. A tree that forever changed eternity. A tree that we don't ever have to climb. He carried the weight of the world on His shoulders the day He was nailed to that tree. If He sacrificed His life for me, surely I can do whatever it takes to see Him and meet with Him every day. No excuses. Good intentions aren't enough.

Lord, I pray that You will increase my longing for You. Just like the crowds threatened Zacchaeus's view, my life can be so full that it threatens to crowd You out of my view. Give me strength to climb whatever tree is necessary to see You. May I not be satisfied with 'general admission seating', but may I be found at Your feet, in Your presence, my eyes fixed on You.

Put on your hiking boots, and let's climb some trees today!

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nothing Impossible

"With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." Mark 10:27

This verse came alive to me yesterday. Friends, these are not just words on a page written years ago, but God's Word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). His Word is true and His promises sure. Absolutely NOTHING is impossible with God.

Where do you need to trust Him today? What mountain is standing in your way? The words "impossible" and "can't" are not part of God's vocabulary. My God is ABLE. My God sees endless possibilities. There is nothing too hard for God. He sees the unseen. Nothing catches Him by surprise. Luke 18:27 puts it this way, "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God."

Don't question His ability today. Where we are weak, He is strong. Where we doubt, He gives direction. Where we fear, He offers faith. Where we are empty, He longs to supply. He is fully aware of our situation and the answer is on the way. Although we may not see it, it's there - trust God!

"They say that the condition for a great miracle is an impossibility." (Faith Like Potatoes)

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009


“Father, thank you for hearing me.” John 11:41

Before Christ raised Lazarus from the dead, he prayed. Before the answer came, He gave thanks. This morning, on my knees, I was thanking the Lord for hearing me. I was thanking Him for what was yet to be and claiming His Word.

Today dad had surgery. It was a repeat of the operation that started the unexpected chain of events and journey our family has been travelling for the past 7 ½ months. We returned to the hospital where errors had been made and where many tears had been shed. Today we met again those same nurses and the surgical administrator who had been remiss in their care and had dismissed my dad as an elderly man. Today they witnessed a coherent, intelligent gentleman who is a walking miracle and testimony to answered prayer.

My heart is overflowing with praise.

Father, thank You for hearing me.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Reflections from a Prodigal

"He was lost, but now he is found!" Luke 15:32

I wrote the following almost ten years ago. Part of me wants to change some of the things a little clearer, change grammar, but the other part of me treasures this just the way it was written. Thoughts of a wilderness wanderer.

Where and how do I begin to pen the thoughts that not even my heart can tell
A story so real that it pierces to my deepest soul
A Friendship more cherished than all my dreams could fathom
After seemingly endless years of being adrift on a raging sea
With deafening loneliness surrounding all my days
An emptiness much blacker than the darkest night consumed me
As I struggled to be everything to everyone - but me
Smiling through countless days while screaming from within
A struggle to keep up the charade or end this constant 'perfect' life
Oh, the mask I wore - and how easily all were fooled, until...
You with Your hope, forgiveness and love
You with Your eyes that penetrated my soul
Eyes that looked past the surface and into the depth of my being
Oh, how You frightened me at first
How I wanted to run and hide - to shut You out
Should my fortress crumble and walls fall - what then?
I wasn't worthy of anyone's friendship or love
Your closeness scared me, unnerved me, but softened me
Could someone actually know me and love me?
Was there worth in me, a value that I never saw?
Emotions came close to destroying, but You wouldn't let go
Not having any strength myself to begin, You carried me to Your throne of grace
A place where mercy and peace flowed freely
You refused to stop believing when all my hope was gone
You picked me up, held tight and wouldn't let me drown
Together, I discovered life - a life brand new
A life where I am treasured, valued
A life where my opinions can be voiced and not ridiculed
A life, though sometimes still filled with hurt, can be surrendered to a Father who sees my need and loves me
And now my heart cries to know You deeper
I experienced the healing love of Jesus
You are everything I'd always wanted
All I'd longed for, hoped for inside,
Oh, the beauty of Christ,
I want to mirror Your life in every way
You embraced me with Your acceptance
You found worth in my life
Smiles, sunshine and laughter began to fill my days and soon became natural
The unshared thoughts that burdened me didn't make me evil
The rejection I'd felt for disappointing others - not being the person they wanted to fit their mold
Lost its powerful grasp
I began, for the first time, to have confidence
Confidence in You who created me
Created me to be all I can be for You
You gave me a life-changing gift
It sometimes frightens me to think where I'd be - or even if I'd be
If You hadn't reached out to find me
You gave me life, saved me, rescued me from myself
You've turned sorrow into dancing, so let the music play
There's been a break through - a new beginning
Changes which will last a life long have taken hold of me
I see myself from a new point of view
I'm free to be me, to dance, to sing
I'm aware of me, the way I am - and it's all because of You
And now our lives have bonded
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that You will always be there
I don't need to hold on tight - I will not lose You
Our love affair will only grow deeper
We listen and laugh
We share and encourage
We talk to each other in prayer
Our intimacy is so beautiful, it's breathtaking
All works of true art are miracles
You add colour to my life
May I remain in the Hand of the Master Painter
Allowing You do add only what You desire
Thank You for making my life richer
You are my Friend, my Father, my Lord, and my King.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Drinking From My Saucer

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

Abundant living. Present in great quantity. Fully sufficient. Plentiful. Richly supplied. More than adequate. Amply. Overflowing fullness. Superfluity. More than enough.

Does that describe your life? Seems like I walk around in my less and not my more. So much is available. Unlimited resources from the Hand of my King, yet I’m living like what children’s author Robert Munsch would describe, as a “Paper Bag Princess”.

Christ came that we might have life and that we might have it more abundantly.


John 3:36 tells us that anyone who believes in Jesus has eternal life, but living abundantly is optional. The word “might” implies a choice. It’s possible that we’re not living in our more because we are not embracing all that is available to us. We’re making choices that walk a lesser road.

There’s a little saying that goes, “I’m drinking from my saucer ‘cause my cup has overflowed.” Are you living in the overflow?

Do you remember this childhood chorus:

“Running over, running over
My cup’s full and running over
Since the Lord saved me
I’m as happy as can be
My cup’s full and running over.”

There is no reason for our cup to ever be empty. The Lord desires to pour a fountain of Living Water continually into our life. His supply is endless. It can never run dry. He is more than enough.

Are you drinking from your saucer today?

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

As we...

"As Jesus was walking along..." John 9:1

Jesus ministry was an overflow of who He was. A way of life. His ministry wasn't separated or defined as something He did, but the way He lived.

As He walked along He noticed others. Life wasn't ritual and routine. His eyes saw and He intentionally shared His life with them. He didn't become so accustomed to His path and daily living that He didn't see the needs, physical and spiritual, all around Him.

Luann Prater wrote on her blog yesterday:

"Our world is sliding into darkness quicker than I've ever witnessed and the scariest thing about it is, our eyes have gotten adjusted to it!

When you wake up in a dark room it is a heavy feeling. But if you grope around and stare into it you will soon distinguish the outline of images. Before you know it you settle in and find that you don't mind the gray areas.

We've settled into the gray and dark areas around us. We've become accustom to being tolerant, not willing to rock the boat. Clueless and cunning people have taken over and we need to be willing to take a stand. We are called to be witnesses. Not judges, not prosecutors, not defense attorneys. Witnesses to what Jesus Christ has done in our lives.

Do you say, I will live the lifestyle that will show Jesus? Be brave enough to take leap out of the boat! Say, 'I was once hopeless then I found the author of hope.'

So the question at the end of this day asks,
'What can one woman do?'

Maybe today, if you step out of your comfort zone, God will show you."

Friends, today as we work outside in the yard, grocery shop, run errands, speak to neighbours, go for a run, drive around town, prepare dinner, finish laundry, speak to our children, make requests of our husband etc... may His life in us overflow to bless, encourage and heal the hearts of those who need a touch of Jesus today.

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Friday, October 16, 2009


"...the crowd pressed in on Jesus..." Luke 11:29

Today, again, I'm pressing in. Elbowing through the crowd. Needing to lean all my wait, all my worry, and all my questioning and wondering. Pressing issues are pushing me to press in. Pressing past satan's echoing words to His whispers. Past my doubts to His certain. Past my insecurities to His acceptance. Past the gathering of mockers and naysayers to His cloud of witnesses. Past lies to His truth. Past my unknowns to His sure. Past my now and my sight to His not yet and His unseen.

Pressing into the throne room.

Pressing into Jesus presence.

Pressing into His heart.

Pressing deeper.

Pressing further.

Pressing longer.


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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

"So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free." John 8:36

"Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades". One is luck, the other deadly.

I've been thinking about how often I've told people about the passing of my friend who took her own life a few years ago. I keep telling everyone she was 'so close' to accepting the Lord. 'Close' doesn't count. There is no such thing as being 'almost saved'. If someone hasn't made a decision to follow the Lord they are no closer then the one who has never heard. If they die tomorrow their knowledge without personal acceptance doesn't put them 'close' to heaven - their destination remains hell.

Jesus is the Light. St. Augustine said, "It is of no advantage to be near the light...if the eyes are closed." Satan blinds the minds of those who are perishing (2 Cor.4:3-4). Only God can create the sense of need for Himself in a person and as Oswald Chambers says, "The only thing that can possibly satisfy the need is what created the need." God alone creates and satisfies.

Then, for those of us who claim to know Him - why do we live 'mostly free'? Ann Mainse writes that "Jesus doesn't give us freedom in doses". If the Son has set you free, you are free "through and through" John 8:36 (The Message).

I need to remove words like 'close', 'almost', and 'mostly' from my vocabulary when it comes to talking about salvation issues. We either are perishing or are saved, and we can live completely free.

Don't be playing with horseshoes and hand grenades. We can be free indeed.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Setting Out for Jerusalem

"As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem." Luke 9:51

I read this verse earlier today and my heart was saddened. You see, I know from reading the rest of the story that Jesus made it to His destination. He didn't just 'set out', He arrived. Jerusalem for Jesus meant persecution and death, yet He was determined to go there. He set out resolutely and didn't change course. He didn't give up. He didn't surrender, withdraw or retreat. He had a mission and He fulfilled it.

My heart was saddened because of how often I have 'resolutely set out' on a new task only to find myself abandon the desire along the way. God's call is clear and my resolve is strong, but as I travel to my "Jerusalem" I face roadblocks and detours. Fear. Insecurity. Failure. Disappointment. Judgement. Doubt. Peer pressure. The assurance I knew at the start of the journey has waned and I'm questioning whether I even heard His voice at all.

I look back at others who responded. Fisherman who dropped their nets immediately to follow. A young man named Daniel who 'resolutely' bowed on his knees before an open window unafraid. Three who entered a fiery furnace without turning back. The names recorded in the "Hall of Faith" in Hebrews who didn't waver but stood firm in their following.

I too start out with passion and excitement and then the pain that accompanies "Jerusalem" begins to accuse, ridicule and hurt. Arriving in "Jerusalem" means going the distance. It demands hard work. A "Jerusalem" road always insists upon sacrifice. It means braving the struggles that will appear along the way. It requires committing my heart to the destination and not giving up.

This morning God is inviting me to 'pack my bags' and begin a trek in answer to His call. The road ahead looks long. Rejection is inevitable. Hardship is certain. Yet, for the joy set before me... What joy? The joy of knowing I'm walking in obedience. The joy of shadowing footsteps that are trustworthy to follow. The joy of knowing I don't begin this venture alone.

Lord I'm frightened. Frightened of looking foolish by others. Frightened of starting a journey I feel so inadequate to finish. Afraid that a big 'incomplete' will be stamped across my attempts and I'll fail You again. Father, this time, with Your help, let me reach the "Jerusalem" You have chosen for me.

"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians 1:6

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009


“…they were afraid to ask him…” Luke 9:45

I’ve never been good at asking questions. Hesitant to raise my hand in class, I would hope someone else would inquire about things I still didn’t understand. I was extremely shy and average in my learning abilities. I felt silence kept me from ridicule and being labelled stupid by my peers.

This extended outside the classroom. When I was a little girl, my sister and I had an unique method of approaching our parents with a request. We would write our desire on a piece of paper, then fold it very carefully into the shape of a paper airplane. Locating the whereabouts of mom and dad, we would point our plane towards it’s required destination, and as co-pilots, we would send it airborne, announcing loudly, “Airmail, Airmail”.

The question always comes back to me. Why did we do this? Was it only fun? Were we expressing creativity? Or, did our actions stem from a root of fear? Afraid to ask a question even of our parents. That thought doesn’t settle well with me. Were we afraid of mom and dad?…our question?…or the answer? What prompted such an action?

In our reading today we read that the disciples were afraid to ask Jesus what they didn’t understand. Were they afraid of being seen as unintelligent? Certainly they weren’t nervous of their Friend and Teacher. Maybe they sensed the question, or the answer, would reflect poorly on them and their lack of comprehension.

The Lord desires we come to Him with all that concerns us. He doesn’t want us to be frightened of Him or His responses. No question is ever wrong. He will never label us a dunce because of our lack of understanding. I’m sure it breaks His heart to see anyone afraid of Him.

Have you ever been nervous to approach Him? I’m just wondering why…

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Monday, October 12, 2009

A View From the Top

“‘You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.’” Mark 8:33

A girlfriend and I recently went to see the movie "Love Happens". Without giving the plot away, at one point, self-help, motivational speaker Burke Ryan takes the participants of his workshop out on the street to stand in the middle of a busy intersection. He asks them to share all they see and hear while cars race around, honking and terrifying them. They then enter the building immediately on the corner and climb to the roof. Again, Ryan asks them to describe all they see and hear. How their answers have changed. This time, instead of the noise, chaos, fear and uncertainty, they feel a breeze, hear birds singing and marvel in the beauty they couldn't find below. They are basically in the same location, but hundreds of feet higher. Their point of view changes, because their view has changed. They have a new perspective.

How’s your vision? Human or heavenly? Physical or faith-filled? Limited or limitless?

Seeing beyond the obvious to the supernatural work of God. God is constantly at work in our lives and we need to take notice. We need to learn to recognize Him all around us “by noticing visible prints of His invisible hands.” Beth Moore

Are we caught by what we think is possible or what God says is possible? His view is higher. Asking God to help me see a view from the top today.

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Sunday, October 11, 2009


“Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces.” Matthew 15:36

This weekend we are celebrating Thanksgiving. Today I have reflected on not only the gifts, but the Giver.

If I was computer savvy, I would set the following pictures to Andrae Crouch's masterpiece, "My Tribute". How can I say thanks for the things He has done for me.

Trust you'll share in my thankfulness this day. To God be the glory!

Can you believe it? Dad was able to come up North and visit us for a couple of hours. Doesn't he look great!!! Happy to be with his three daughters.

A precious pause. Mom and Dad with my sister and her husband.

Mom and Dad with two of their grandchildren.

My honey and I.

Number one son!

Just one of many pictures of the fabulous view this weekend...before the snow!

Ready to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving Day dinner.

My heart is overflowing with thankfulness for all the prayers the Lord has answered on behalf of my dad.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Only Believe

“Jesus told them, ‘This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.’” John 6:29

Several years ago I had the privilege of facilitating Beth Moore’s study, “Believing God”. What an eye-opener. It became very clear to me, very quickly, how paralyzed most Christians are by unbelief, myself included.

Before we can believe God, we must make the decision to believe in God. That’s not just saying, “Oh, I believe there’s a God out there somewhere.” Many people claim to believe there is a God, but have no personal relationship with Him at all. We must first receive Him by faith. The “work” Jesus is asking of us is to actively believe in Him.

Work requires action. Our work here is faith. Not a passive noun, but a verb. It’s a walk of faith that assumes a walk with God. Belief in itself is useless. For faith to live it must walk depending on God.

We might say we travel that pathway, but on closer look we may discover that often our belief takes a detour. We believe in ourselves, our husband’s, our possessions, our positions, our church, our friends, our family, our wealth, our health and if any of these are shattered, our belief system fails us. Not so with God.

For our walk of belief to be worthy, it will be challenged to keep us moving with Him. It’s not a one-time, done deal event. It’s a continual, daily, hourly, minute by minute, second by second believing. As we exercise our belief it will grow. Each step of faith makes the next step easier.

Currently I am believing God to guide and direct specifically in two areas. Trusting Him to confirm in the hearts of all my family the next step we need to take with dad. (For those of you who don't know, my dad went into the hospital on March 3rd of this year for day surgery, and due to errors made, he still remains in the hospital. The Lord has answered many of our prayers and we are now looking to Him for further direction.) I am also needing to place my faith fully in, and on God, to direct my son to the University of His choosing in the next couple of months. Deadline dates are getting closer, and although my son knows what he'd like to study, he has no idea where that learning will take place. Big decisions, but we have a big God.

Have you made that decision to believe in God? If so, where do you need to believe Him today? Take my hand. We'll walk this road together.

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Friday, October 9, 2009


“‘Come’, he said.” Matthew 14:29

Where Lord?

Out of my “boat”? My place of comfort and security? Out of my fears, doubts, complacency and safety? Out of pride, shame, hypocrisy and judgement?

The Lord has so much for us out on the "open sea" that we'll never experience cowering in our "boat".

A precious old hymn is playing in my head. Before I continue with my ponderings, let the lyrics extend an invitation and minister to your heart. Respond accordingly.

Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy freedom, gladness, and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of my sickness, into Thy health,
Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy blessed will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward for aye on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the joy and light of Thy throne,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

As John Ortberg writes in his book entitled, "If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat", "Getting out of the boat was Peter's gift to Jesus; the experience of walking on the water was Jesus' gift to Peter".

Not everyone responds to Christ's invitation. There were other disciples who remained in the boat. They missed experiencing the power of God. They missed the joy of trusting Jesus like they never had before.

The Lord will enable us. Even if we become hesitant half-way, He is there. Peter at one point was far from shore, out on the water several feet from the boat, but within arms length of Jesus. He is with us.

Where is He asking you to "Come"?

Come back
Come forward
Come into
Come abide
Come rest
Come trust
Come worship
Come listen
Come respond
Come follow
Come surrender
Come delight
Come remove
Come ask
Come testify
Come confess
Come home

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sharing Faith

“Jesus… returned… to Nazareth, his hometown.” Mark 6:1

Witnessing to our family. Why is it so difficult? The ones we love the most are often the hardest with whom to share our beliefs. What encouragement can we take from Christ’s example on how to share our faith?

1. Let them see not only our lives, but let them interact with friends of ours who are also believers. The Christian life isn’t dull and boring. We should be the most joy filled people on the planet. Our unsaved family needs to see us delighting in Christ. Jesus returned home with His disciples. (vs. 1)

2. We need to share God’s truth verbally. Don’t just show…speak. Be cautious not to become obnoxious, but be bold. Jesus taught and everyone was amazed. (vs.2)

3. Expect initial rejection and ridicule. Remember, their hearts haven’t yet been opened to the gospel message. It will take time. The people scoffed at Christ. (vs.3)

4. Don’t quit. Keep serving, praying and loving. Eventually we will see results. In the passage today we see that a few believed. (vs.5)

I know at times it can seem discouraging, but as unsaved family watch our lives being transformed by His presence, they will come to desire what we have and the God we know.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Reaching and Touching

"His only daughter...was dying." Luke 8:42
"A woman...could find no cure." Luke 8:43

Two separate needs. Strangers to one another, but not to pain. They share an invisible bond. Heartache ties them together. Brokenness brought them here. Hope is keeping them here. Desperation pushes us in directions that others might not go. Sometimes it takes desperate moments in our life before we are prepared to fall on our knees and our face before God and seek His help.

Christ always notices a person of faith. Whether a father's frantic request or a nameless woman touching the fringe of a robe, no-one goes unnoticed.

The need of a little girl of twelve years intersects with a woman with a chronic condition for twelve years. A request is interrupted. Sometimes we might perceive that Jesus is on His way to someone else. We have erroneously decided that the other person has the greater need. Our misconception silences are pleas. We feel unworthy. Don’t be afraid to reach out and touch the fringe of His garment. In a crowd of thousands, Jesus was concerned about one person. He is concerned about you. Come out of the shadows and touch Him.

Interesting how she had courage to touch Him, yet came trembling before Him as she admitted what she had done. The faithful come trembling, as reverence is an integral part of their faith.

But, don’t be mistaken. Healing was given, not stolen.

Christ’s power is limitless. Jairus was not forgotten. Jesus didn’t dispense all power on one at the expense of the other. After healing a woman of her bleeding problem, He still had enough power to raise Jairus’s daughter from the dead.

“Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.” (vs.35) Death does not bind Jesus. The messenger is implying that Jesus is only a teacher and can’t overcome death. He has resigned himself to what is seen.

Jesus responds, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.”

Don’t stop believing too soon. His hand is not shortened.

Am I just curious about Christ like the crowds, or will I reach out in faith with longing, knowing His mercy brings healing to body, soul and spirit?

Today I am reaching out. Needing to touch Him. Needing a touch from Him.

Long seasons of illness or hardship call for long seasons of trust. Without God the situation is terminal, but he brings hope and we cling to Him for life.

Lord, tomorrow my dad is scheduled for an invasive physical exam. A biopsy will be taken through his back. Lord, he has already endured so much. He has come so far. The last few weeks he has made such progress. The timing of this procedure seems so unfair. Why must he be subjected to this test at this time?

I am grabbing for Your fringe. Fingertips straining. Reaching. Not for me Lord. On behalf of my dad.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

An Invitation to a Storm

“Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” Mark 4:35

Christ issues an invitational command. In effect, He’s saying, “Let’s get into the boat. It’s test time.”

The journey to “the other side” welcomed winds. Sometimes the will of God includes a storm. When the whirlwind is God’s will, how do we weather it? How we survive will depend on our preparation. Have we practiced the discipline of listening, not just feeling and the dedication of doing, not just knowing? Second-hand faith won’t help us reach our destination. God wants to shake us up a little and stretch our trust in Him.

The disciples, for the most part, were superb navigators on the sea. This was their area of expertise. Yet, even these professionals needed a personal Savoir. A call to “let’s go” ushers in the need of letting go. What needs to be released? Fear.

Jesus questions, “Where’s your faith?” Fear has swallowed it. Fear prevents us from reaching our other shore, yet it’s waves don’t have to keep us standing in the sand. As my Pastor once said, “Feelings are a good caboose, but not a good engine.” Christ wants us to risk, even if it’s a difficult horizon.

A storm often is God’s way to teach us about His authority and His pleasure in our living. If we anchor ourselves in God’s Word we will ride out the storm. God’s love is demonstrated in the midst of storms, for it is there He really shows us that He can, and will, look after us.

What shore is beckoning you to set sail? Don’t let the dark clouds overhead intimidate you. The living Christ is in the boat with you. You’ll reach the other side.

“Great acts of faith are seldom born out of calm calculation.” Max Lucado

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Pals, Ponytails and Praise

“Teacher, we want you to show us a miraculous sign…” Matthew 12:38

Don’t we all.

Yesterday morning my heart was overflowing with compassion as I stood in church to sing. My eyes were drawn to several families. Two little boys, brothers, absolutely adorable, stood in the pew in front of me, with whom I’m presuming is their uncle. You see, their daddy has just recently been diagnosed with leukemia and he is undergoing treatment. These boys were being so considerate of each another, the older continually checking that the younger had a clear path of vision to the lyrics on the screen ahead. At one point, the elder of the two tried lifting his sibling. So cute, when the “elder” appeared to be about eight years old. When this idea failed miserably, he then allowed his little brother to stand on his feet to give him that extra inch or two of height.

From there my eyes fell on a single mom with her three children. This precious young woman, touched by separation, has just recently been left to bring up her children on her own. The youngest daughter was in her arms. As we continued singing, this sweet cherub began styling her mom’s hair. A ponytail was her choice today. With sheer delight she continued to comb her mommy’s hair with her hands, working a creative masterpiece, oblivious to onlookers. The mom sang on.

Not far from this family stood a couple who only recently have returned to the Lord. My eyes tear up every time I see them enter the church. A few months ago their youngest child, still a baby, became critically ill and it was discovered she had diabetes. Heaping this news onto an already physically exhausted mom with three young children has been overwhelming. Yet, here they stood, singing praises.

My heart cried out to the Lord for each one of them as my eyes filled with tears.

Lord, I want You to show me a miraculous sign on behalf of these precious ones. I want to see a daddy healed, a family restored and a life renewed. Father, show me a miracle.

Suddenly the scales of darkness were removed. I was looking at three miracles.

The Lord showed me that sometimes the miracle is in the strength to carry on. It’s in the power to get up each morning. It’s in standing and singing a true sacrifice or praise and believing that even though circumstances speak cruelly, God is good…all the time. Sometimes a miracle is following God by faith when we don’t see Him working. As Beth Moore says, when no obvious miracle comes there is good theology in ‘I can’t find Him, but I know He’s there.’ The miracle can be seen in caring pals, ponytails and praise.

Yes Teacher, I have seen miraculous signs. May I continue to look for You and believe when miracles come packaged in unexpected ways.

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Sunday, October 4, 2009


“When Jesus heard this, he was amazed.” Matthew 8:10

Watching “America’s Got Talent” a little girl sings with ability beyond her years. A dance routine is absolutely incredible. An instrumentalist plays a piece so difficult I marvel how his fingers can move so quickly. I am amazed.

Amazing moments. Did you know Jesus only had two of them recorded in Scripture? One was concerning lack of faith (Mark 6:6), and the other reflecting on great faith.

Can you even imagine Jesus being amazed? After all, what would be that marvellous to Him? He’s God! What would be so wonderfully unexpected that He would be amazed? It was a man with great faith.

Makes me stop and ponder. Would He be amazed at my faith?

What would it take to having amazing faith? In looking at this event recorded in Matthew 8:5-13, first we see the centurion’s crisis of faith. A young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain (vs.6). Disease is presenting a difficulty and possibly death. The circumstance appears critical and the Roman officer is at a turning point, and he knows exactly where to turn.

After acknowledging his crisis of faith, we see his confident faith. He believed with just a word, Jesus could heal his servant. With conviction and confession he shares his assurance in the abilities of the Savoir.

We also see a confirmed faith, as verse 13 tells us, “And the young servant was healed that same hour.” God’s word attests to the miracle.

This man who amazed Christ knew that God is a God of distance. Distance never limit’s God. He can just think a thought or breathe a word and something happens. He understands God’s divine authority. He is Sovereign God over nature, disease, demons, death and destiny. Time and space do not constrain the Lord. This Roman officer had a faith that embraced God entirely. We see in verse 6 that this man demonstrated the true characteristics of a disciple by calling Christ, “Lord”. This officer who was accustomed to giving commands, and was no stranger to commitment and courage, was filled with compassion for his servant.

As I read this passage over, not only was the centurion’s faith amazing, his love was amazing, his mercy was amazing, and his humility was amazing.

Wouldn’t you like to be one who amazes Jesus? Lord, only You can give to me that amazing faith, but my heart must be willing. As You spoke in Capernaum you exclaimed, “I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!” As you look over Canada, the United States and other parts of the world, Your eyes go to and fro looking for those who are completely Yours. (2 Chronc.16:9) Would Your eyes rest on me? Would I cause Your heart to be amazed because of my amazing love, amazing mercy, amazing humility and amazing faith? Father, my heart knows the answer. I surrender to Your changing work in me.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Something About Your Name

“Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.” Matthew 6:9

Unloading the last bag of groceries into her car in the parking lot, drenched with rain, in frustration she cursed His name. Something inside me cringed as it does every time I hear the name of Jesus Christ or God spoken in vain.

I have friends that say they have become so accustomed to hearing it spoken thusly that they don’t even notice anymore. To me, that’s just sad. The reverence and power associated with the Lord’s name is gone. The sensitivity is lost.

When I’m invited to go with friends to see a movie, that’s the “biggy” for me. I go to the Plugged In Online site and check how Focus on the Family has rated the language. If God’s name is going to be blasphemed, my decision is made. Personally, I don’t want to pay to hear the name of my Savoir slandered. Do I miss some good movies? Guess it depends on what you label “good”.

This might sound harsh to some, but I have to be faithful and true to the conviction that God has placed on my heart. I’m not condemning others who are not held to this personal standard, it’s just the one the Lord has given me.

Yesterday I wrote about how one day God will give us a new name, but did you know He will have a new name too?

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.” Rev.19:11-12

The Lord has a name that no-one knows. It has never been spoken in a slur of expletives. It has not been cursed or profaned. It has never been used as an obscene expression. It hasn’t been spoken carelessly as “filler”, without thought. A name that has been kept holy and sacred.

One day His name will receive the honour due. Philippians 2:9-11 tells us that God exalted Christ “to the highest place and gave him a name that is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Oh Lord, there really is something about Your name.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Name Change

“James and John (the sons of Zebedee, but Jesus nicknamed them ‘Sons of Thunder’)” Mark 3:17

I have some nicknames. My dad alternates between calling me ‘Squeaky’, ‘Peanut’, and ‘Bells’. ‘Squeaky’ because of the tiny baby noises I made when I was little. ‘Peanut’ because of my size at birth, weighing only one pound. ‘Bells’ as an abbreviated form of ‘Joybells’.

Jesus nicknamed James and John, ‘Sons of Thunder’.

‘Sons of Thunder’. Wouldn’t you like to know that significance? Although many commentaries would suggest it was because they were noisy or angry, I struggle to accept that reasoning. Why? Because Jesus nicknamed them. I just can’t imagine Jesus calling anyone anything that would even hint of cruel.

Remember this childhood rhyme? “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” That is so not true! Names do hurt. They inflict a deeper pain. Ugly. Shy. Fearful. Stupid. Dumb. The wounds they inflict often last a lifetime and we are left with a scar over our hearts that refuses to heal. That’s why I believe Jesus' nickname for James and John had to denote something positive. Maybe because they knew God as their Father, they were sons of power, filled with His might.

I read that when Jesus changed a name, it was usually to establish a new identity. It was also possibly because God had them destined for a new mission. “The name was a way to let them in on the divine plan and also to assure them that God’s plan would be fulfilled in them.”

If you have read the book “Hinds Feet on High Places”, you will know that God changed several names in that story. My favourite was little “Much Afraid”. How I identified with her character through each chapter. All my life that name as followed me. She became “Grace and Glory”.

One day the Lord will change all our names.

“…To him who overcomes (conquers)…I will give him a white stone, with a new name engraved on the stone which no-one knows or understands except he who receives it.” (Rev.2:17 Amplified)

Can’t you hardly wait to hear God call you by His new name? I wonder what it will be…

“I will change your name
You shall no longer be called
Wounded, outcast
Lonely or afraid

I will change your name
Your new name shall be
Confidence, joyfulness
Overcoming one
Faithfulness, friend of God
One who seeks my face.”
(D. J. Butler)

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Excited for a Lifetime

“…you were excited for a while about his message.” John 5:35

Have you been there? I have. A new trend appears inviting. A program looks exciting. I start with great vigour and enthusiasm. However, weeks later my elliptical is sitting unused. The Wii hasn’t been turned on in months. The recipes I brought home from the cooking class have not been prepared. My interest waned.

Jesus is speaking to the Jewish leaders here. For a time they received John’s message with excitement. What happened? It takes more than enthusiasm to sustain momentum. It takes commitment. Feeling will only determine “want to”. Something deeper drives “need to”. The seed that falls can too easily be snatched, swept away, snagged or smothered. On our own, we lose our resolve. We need divine power to persevere.

The great news is, God has already provided. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3

Do you see that? Knowing Him intimately and personally is what sustains our passion for His Word. Our relationship with the Lord provides the divine power we need for living a life pleasing to Him. Where we fail and say “I can’t”, God says “I can”.

I’m asking Him again today to fill me with a longing and desire for His Word. I don’t want to be “excited for a while”, I want to be excited for a lifetime.

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