Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus

This morning upon waking the a few lines of this hymn popped into my mind.
I have included those and a few more. If you want to read the whole hymn check it out in a hymn book or some other source.

"Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take him at this word,
Just to rest upon his promise,
Just to trust his cleansing blood,
Just from Jesus simply taking,
Life and rest and joy and peace.
And I know that he is with me,
Will be with me to the end.
O for grace to trust him more!"

It is my prayer that I will learn to trust God more. But what does it really mean? That reminds me of a blog from the Girlfriends in God that I read recently.

“Just trust me.” Those are the words we hear in movies just before something bad is about to happen. And yet, we are told to trust God. In a culture where we’re taught to take control of our own lives, trusting God has become a religious platitude rather than a life-changing attitude. We say it, but do we really mean it? And what does trusting God really look like?

That is something to ponder as we go into this Christmas season and a new year.

Friday, December 16, 2011

I read this and found it so good. Just wanted to share it with anybody that might come across my blog.

December 16, 2011
Held by Hope
Gwen Smith
Today’s TruthBut Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19, NIV)
Friend to FriendHave you ever wanted to travel back in time to be an eyewitness of the celestial celebration that took place in Bethlehem the night that Jesus was born? Now, I’m a bit fussy about fashion, but I’d even consider donning shepherd garb and hanging out with a few sheep for that opportunity! To see angels fill the sky, to hear the voice of God through the cries of a baby. To catch a glimpse of the brilliant Star of David, and to satisfy my curiosity as to what exactly a host of heavenly angels sounds like.
Oh, and to talk to Mary! Wouldn’t that be amazing to hear what she was thinking as she witnessed, and took part in the greatest miracle ever known to man? This baby she gave birth to was God-in-flesh, a true bundle of love. What do you think she treasured in her heart as she took it all in? I’m struck by this thought: As she held the Hope of the world, the Hope of the world was also holding her. Ponder that!
The baby born in a barn that holy night long ago is the Hope of the world - the Grace that saves us - the Love that heals us. Jesus is Hope that changes our worthless into precious, our guilty to forgiven, our hungry into satisfied, and our empty into full. His presence is inescapable. We cannot flee from His stubborn grip. The psalmist, David said: “If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139:8-10).
The Bible tells us in the New Testament that Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of God, the Father in heaven and that He “holds us fast.” Relish that thought. The Hope that holds us is Jesus Christ. You and I are held by Hope.
In the Old Testament, God told Joshua that He would “never leave or forsake” him (Joshua 1:5). God says the same to us. He will never leave us or forsake us; no matter the circumstances, not matter the diagnoses, no matter the financial struggle. Our faithful LORD is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We can rest assured that in everything, we are held by Hope.
After His resurrection and before His ascension into heaven, Jesus said, “Surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20). My girlfriend Mary Southerland often reminds people that the word “always” actually means … drum roll please … "always!" He is always with us. Always loving us. Always wanting us to find comfort, refuge, joy and satisfaction in Him.
As a Christmas approaches and New Year dawns, let’s be mindful of God’s promise that we are never alone. Just like the shepherds received the headline news of Jesus’ birth from singing angels so long ago, receive this glad tiding of great joy today: If you are in Christ, then you are held by Hope.
Let’s PrayHoly Father, You are more wonderful. Thank You for sending Jesus, my Hope, to forgive me, to love me, and to restore me to Your heart. I join the psalmist today in praying, “Sustain me according to Your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed. Uphold me, and I will be delivered” (Psalm 119:116-117a). I’m leaning into Your heavenly hug today.In Jesus’ name,Amen.
Now It’s Your TurnAre you held by Hope? Have you received the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ? Are you seeking God? He’s waiting with His arms open wide. CLICK HEREto find out more about how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ask the Saviour to Help You

I had been thinking about writing some more blogs , but was putting it off. Having someone comment on my blog gave me the encouragement to continue.

There are many stories I could share, but the one I am thinking of right now came to my mind as we were discussing the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives at the care group meeting we were attending last week.

This situation took place shortly after Renee died. By shortly, I mean less than a year, maybe four months or six months. Something like that. I can't remember. It is now three years and nine months ago.

I was feeling very overwhelmed with the grief that day, which is quite normal. I was in a certain spot passing from one room into another and all of a sudden the words of a hymn came to my mind, but just as suddenly as I was crossing into the next room it was gone.

(Apparently leaving one room, to go to another does that to our brains. I recently read an article about somebody that studied this effect.)

Anyway, I was very upset that it had left my memory as soon as it had come. If this was a message from God, why did it escape me so soon. Wasn't it a message that I needed?

The very next day, at the very same spot and maybe even the very same time of day, the message came again.

It was the lines from a hymn that go like this:

"Ask the Saviour to help you,

Comfort, strengthen and keep you,

He is willing to aid you,

He will carry you through."

So many times when I feel that I can't go on, that life is too hard, I have to remind myself again that I need to keep focusing on God, and believe that he will do that if I ask, to believe that he wants to help me, carry me, comfort me, strengthen me.

Last week Friday was a hard day as we finally got the gravestone done. The awful, gut wrenching reality hit me again. That morning the Girlfriends in God devotional was based on Zeph.3:17

“The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV)

This morning in church a soloist sang a song she wrote based on that verse.

Often when God needs to reinforce a truth, it comes in packages of two or three.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Light of the World is Jesus

I have been thinking about writing a series of blogs on how hymns have impacted me in my life. Not that I'm a good writer or anything.

I am feeling pretty down today. I miss my children in heaven so terribly much and can't wait to see them again. Oh, I hate the separation called death......hate it to much, but being angry doesn't change anything and crying gives me headaches....

The first memory I have of a song that has stayed with me all these years, was at Christmas when I was in grade one. I started my elementary education at the Blumenhof School near Steinbach, Manitoba. What I remember is that all the students filed into the church for the program carrying candles and singing, "The Light of the World is Jesus."

"Come to the Light, tis shining for thee, Sweetly the Light has dawned upon me, Once I was blind, but now I can see, the Light of the world is Jesus!"

I don't remember anything else about the program and not too much about those first few months of being in the first grade in Blumenhof. I do remember having a friend by the name of Dianna. I think we got along pretty good until she stayed over one night at our house. We slept together in my brother's bed. I don't know where he slept that night, but my friendship with Dianna was over after that night. I don't know why or what happened.

But we moved away shortly after that. We moved to a small pioneering community and finished the rest of elementary school there in Mennville. The first year it was still a one room school. I remember the grade eight boys being such extremely huge giants. They were all exceptionally tall fellows. I was paralysed with fear.

I was still not very fluent in English. We had only spoken low German at home and we were not allowed to use that language at school. The other two girls in the first grade were good friends and I was the extremely sly, new girl and I didn't feel like I fit in.

Well, I guess this doesn't really have anything to do with my theme. But to bring it back to that vein of thought, I would just like to add that in the third grade is when one of the girls in my grade came to me at recess and told me that she had asked Jesus into her heart at the meetings we were having at church that week. So after the meeting that night in my bedroom, kneeling by my bed I prayed to accept Jesus as my Saviour, Jesus the light of the world. I remember a sensation of light streaming in from the window and I felt so joyful and peaceful. I went to tell my mom what I had done.

I got my first Bible for Christmas that year and I loved reading it. I kept it close to my pillow at night, so I could read it at the first crack of dawn or when my two older sisters turned on the light for their own devotions, as we called it. There were five of us all sharing a room including two younger sisters as well! Very crowded quarters!

I remember praying for some older fellows in the community who were not Christians and some time after that at least one of them and I think eventually both of them decided to follow Jesus.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jesus Calling

I want you to experience the riches of your salvation: the Joy of being loved constantly and perfectly. You make a practice of judging yourself, based on how you look or behave or feel. When you feel discouraged, you tend to look inward so you can correct whatever is wrong.

Instead of trying to "fix" yourself, fix your gaze on Me, the lover of your soul. Rather than using your energy to judge yourself, redirect it to praising Me. Remember that I see you clothed in My rigtheousness, radiant in My perfect Love.

Ephesians 2:7-8; Hebrews 3:1; Psalm 34:5

- excerpt from the devotion for July 13th from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young

Friday, July 08, 2011

this got the tears going

So many questions and so many tears.

It’s Not What You Think

icca Monda Campbell

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.’” Isaiah 55:8 (NIV)

When the phone rang in the middle of the night, I couldn’t help but wonder if one of my greatest fears had become a reality. It was the police. They were calling to tell us my 21-year-old son had fallen asleep at the wheel while driving home from a friend’s house.

Mitch was only four months old when his biological father died. Since then, I’ve have had two fears; that my son’s life would be greatly affected by the loss of his father and that he would die young, too.

When Mitch was four, one of those fears was relieved. God brought Pat into our lives, filling the role of both father and husband.

Like any good father, Pat is a wonderful man who supports his family in the good times and bad. This night things were bad. When Pat arrived at the scene, he found our son’s demolished car hugging the mangled 50 foot guardrail that had kept him from crossing the highway into oncoming traffic.

Mitch, however, didn’t suffer a single scratch, bruise, or broken bone — not one. His dad was stunned, but the police officer was astonished even more. In fact, the officer had this to say to our son.

“If I were you, I wouldn’t go home and go to bed. I’d go to the nearest church and thank God for saving your life because He obviously has a purpose for it.” It was as if God was speaking directly through the officer. Pat drove Mitch home in silence. The police officer had said it all. What more could he add?

Sunday afternoon, we drove to the junkyard to retrieve Mitch’s personal belongings from the car. The first thing I noticed about the damaged vehicle was the date, 9-9, painted in large orange numbers across the windshield of the mangled car.

That’s when it hit me. Mitch’s accident occurred on the anniversary of his biological father’s death. Stranger still, they were exactly the same age. As my eyes fixed on the date, I realized it was a message from God — an undeniable clear sign from above. Mitch was in the hands of God.

That truth pierced my mind and Satan’s lie was broken. I was no longer afraid of losing my son to death.

God has a different plan for Mitch than he had for his dad. I always knew that truth intellectually but, that day in the junkyard, it became a reality. How could I doubt God anymore when my son walked away from a near death experience on the anniversary of his father’s death? I couldn’t.

Regardless of my doubts and fears, God has a plan. Usually it doesn’t look like mine. This experience reminded me that my thoughts are not the same as God’s thoughts. He sees the bigger picture. He knows His plans. It also taught me to fall on my knees and relinquish all my fears to God while trusting in His good and perfect will for my children.

You see, the only power and control you and I have over any fearful thought is to place it in the hands of God. Doing so keeps us from being taunted day and night by “what if?” Instead, we can rest in the assurance that God’s thoughts, ways and plans are more marvelous than anything we can imagine ourselves.

Dear Lord, help me to see my circumstances through your eyes and not mine. Teach me that your ways are good and marvelous and they can be trusted. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Fleeing to Him

The Our Daily Bread devotional for today was on Psalm 55:6 "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest." So many times in the last three, four years, actually almost all forty years that we have been married, as we have faced incredible amounts of pain, pressure, hardship, injustice and grief, I have wished I could sprout wings and fly away. But the writer says that Jesus offers a better way. "Rather than fleeing our struggles, he invites us to to flee to Him. He said, 'Come to Me, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me... and you will find rest for your souls.'(Matthew 11:28-29). Rather than wishing we could fly away and escape life's problems, we can bring them to Him."

I need to remind myself of this again and again. It seems like my brain got fried with all the stress and grief and I am so forgetful.

The pain and grief has been so overwhelming. The pain came at us from so many different levels. Why? Why? Why? I need to keep clinging to the promises in God's Word. Some days I feel like I will go crazy. The choice is will I let it break me or make me stronger.

Silent Grief - Child Loss Support:
When our child dies, we no longer know who we are. It's like beginning life all over again....only this time we have to change our identity in a way we never wanted to change. Finding our new self is not easy!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

New Hearts and Bleeding Hearts

"The entry way to your next chapter will not come to you by attempting the impossible of picking up the pieces of your shattered life. Or by looking at what was in the same glance as you look at what will be.

Please let the hope of bringing back what you once had GO...and start by thinking of a new life unlike anything you have ever had before.

Think of your self as having the ability to hold two hearts inside your body.Your new heart beats faster and with more passion, but not until you start stepping into your new self and identity.

The only way you can do that is by doing something that your old heart could have never done.

And that is how you will give birth to the new beat of your life."

Friday, July 01, 2011

Trading Fierce Independence

This blog from Proverbs 31 Ministry was so good that I thought I should post it here. I hope they don't mind.

However, it seems like some problems we have to keep to ourselves and are not free to talk about. But if you feel led to do so, you can pray for our family. Praying for anybody who might read this that we will all be ready to meet the King of Kings, our beautiful Saviour, Prince of Peace and glorious Lord.

Trading Fierce Independence
Glynnis Whitwer

“Elisha said, ‘Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few.’” 2 Kings 4:3 (NIV 2011)

Problems. I prefer to keep them to myself. Being fiercely independent, my instinct is to slam the cellar door shut at the first sign of high winds. In other words, no one’s getting in until the storm is past. I’ll let God in, no problem. But you — I keep out.

Over the years, God has challenged me on this independent approach, calling it was it is: pride.

It’s not overt arrogance, but by keeping others at a distance, it implies I’m all-sufficient and don’t need your help. Plus, the insecure little girl in me worries that if you see weakness in my life, you’ll question my competency. As so, I’ve kept to myself, creating a prideful fa├žade of control.

That didn’t work very well, however. Repeatedly, God has called me to a place of greater interdependence with others. He’s worked miracles in my life when I’ve humbly asked for prayer. He’s broken down walls of distance when I’ve allowed people to see the real me. I’ve seen His hand move at the request of my godly friends.

It’s now obvious to me God designed us to work together. We are pieces of the same puzzle, and life makes more sense when we are connected.

There’s a story in the Old Testament that shows God’s plan for interdependence. It’s found in the book of 2 Kings and concerns a widow who had a big problem. She needed resources, but the coin jar was empty. Her husband died, leaving her with no means of support, and a pile of debts she couldn’t pay. Creditors demanded restitution. Since there was no money, they planned to take her children as slaves.

Desperate, she sought help from Elisha, a man known to be set apart for God. Elisha asked her to do something unusual: go to all her neighbors and request empty jars … lots of them. Then, she was to return home, take what little oil she had left and pour it into the jars.

The widow did as Elisha instructed. When she returned home, she started pouring. As each jar filled, her sons brought her another. They filled every borrowed jar with oil. Elisha then told her to sell the oil, pay the creditors and live off the rest. She did.

What I love about this story is that the quantity of the miracle oil was in direct proportion to the number of neighbors she asked for help. If she had asked five neighbors, that’s how much oil she would have had. Ten neighbors meant ten jars. And so on. The more people the widow asked for help, the greater God’s provision.

There’s another part of the story not told by the Bible passage, but I can’t help but wonder if it happened. At some point, the widow would have returned the borrowed jars. When she did, I imagine she would have told each neighbor what God had done for her, and how that neighbor played a part in the miracle. What a testimony that must have been!

God could have worked a miracle in any way, but He chose to involve each member of that little neighborhood. I imagine they were never the same after being part of something so amazing.

This story speaks clearly to me. God often plans to meet my needs through others. Yet if I keep my problems to myself, I might hinder His plan to bless my friends and broadcast His faithfulness. I’m learning to deny the lies of a prideful spirit in exchange for a humble plea for help. I’m trading my fierce independence for God’s plan of community.

Dear Lord, forgive me for the times I’ve kept to myself, believing I have everything necessary to solve my problems. In doing so, I may have missed Your plan for meeting my needs through others. Help me to identify pride and submit it to You. Help me to have a humble and teachable spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

In God's Hands

Today is in God's hands and so are you.

His hands are strong and will uphold you;
His hands are great and will enfold you;
His hands are gentle and will embrace you;
His hands are protective and will cover you;
His hands are reassuring and will quiet you;
His hands are powerful and will defend you;
His hands are parental and will train you;
His hands are masterful and will conform you;
His hands are compassionate and will care for you;
His hands are healing and will renew you;
His hands are calming and will comfort you;
His hands are giving and will bless you.

The hands that hold you will never let you down.

-Roy Lessin, DaySpring co-founder and writer

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I came across this really good piece today. It got me thinking, not that I don't do that all the time.
Being forced to go closer to death
than I ever wanted to for the third time, fourth time, fifth time.
My first born son in 1977 at age three, an older sister died by suicide in 1978 at age 29,
second son in 1979 at age 8 months, oldest daughter in 2008 at age 23. My dad at age 70.

Too much death, but we will all die. The death rate remains the same, no matter at what age, but
we were not meant to die. Death came as the result of sin. God has a plan whereby we can be assured that we will live with him, to "dwell in the house of the Lord forever".

That time I thought I could not go any closer to grief without dying
I went closer, and I did not die. Surely God had His hand in this,
as well as friends. Still, I was bent, and my laughter,
as the poet said, was nowhere to be found.
Then said my friend Daniel(brave even among lions),
"It's not the weight you carry but how you carry it -
books, bricks, grief - it's all in the way you embrace it,
balance it, carry it when you cannot, and would not,
put it down."
So I went practicing. Have you noticed? Have you heard
the laughter that comes, now and again, out of my
startled mouth? How I linger to admire, admire,
admire the things of this world that are kind, and maybe
also troubled - roses in the wind,the sea geese on the
steep waves, a love to which there is no reply?

- by Mary Oliver