Equality

“It is idle to say that men are of equal value. If value is taken in a worldly sense—if we mean that all men are equally useful or beautiful or good or entertaining—then it is nonsense. If it means that all are of equal value as immortal souls, then I think it conceals a dangerous error. The infinite value of each human soul is not a Christian doctrine. God did not die for man because of some value He perceived in him. The value of each human soul considered simply in itself, out of relation to God, is zero. As St. Paul writes, to have died for valuable men would have been not divine but merely heroic; but God died for sinners. He loved us not because we were lovable, but because He is Love. It may be that He loves all equally—He certainly loved all to the death—and I am not certain what the expression means. If there is equality, it is in His love, not in us.   

—from “Membership” (The Weight of Glory) by C.S Lewis
Remember, your value is not in what you wear or what your job is or what you’ve done or what you will do or whether you’re single or married–it is in who God is and what He has done for you.  And THAT will never change.  Isn’t it refreshing to realize that you don’t have to keep up with the Jones’?
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Dear Mandie

Dear Mandie,

I know both you and I have been going through the “valley of the shadow of death” lately and I know that you have many things that are weighing on your heart.

I have been praying for you, for your family, for your husband and his family.  If there were anything else I could do, you know that I would be right there ready to go.

I know God has given me your friendship as a very special gift and that this friendship has helped me to make it through hard times, times when I felt alone, tired, lacking in faith. My prayer is that I could be able to help you like God, through you, has helped me.

This song says it all.  This is for you.

Francesca Battistelli, Angel by Your Side

Are You Down for a Moment?

So for the last 8 months I have had my hands full with a significant amount of circumstance related stress/spiritual warfare.  It has been a really interesting time for me.  I’ve had to think and reassess and ponder and try to come to terms with how things were in my life.

I was in a bad place at one point and at the right time my friend, Mandie, sent me a video.  I had heard Mandisa’s song, Overcomer, but I had never seen the video.  I was “overcome” by the video.

The video includes former U.S. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Captain Mark Kelly, Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton, and Good Morning America host Robin Roberts.

According to the Christian Post (online, Justin Sarachik, 07 Oct 2013), in a press release Mandisa said the following about the people highlighted in the video.  “We chose each of them because when we thought of who has been an example of an overcomer in a very public battle, it is hard to imagine anyone more appropriate than the amazing people in my video. They have all fought, and continue to fight victoriously. I pray that sharing their inspirational stories throughout the video will leave people saying, ‘If they can do it, so can I!'”

The same article quoted Gabby Giffords as saying, “I was really inspired by Mandisa’s song ‘Overcomer’ because its message is one of hope, perseverance and faith.  We can’t always control what happens to us in life, but we can control how we respond. Like the song says, if we keep positive and ‘stay in the fight till the final round,’ we can overcome more than we ever dreamed possible.”

Please watch this video. I’ll warn you, it makes me tear up every time I watch it.  I hope and pray that someone out there may find hope and strength in their time of need through seeing others that have overcome and by hearing the Good News that with God you are never alone!

Mandisa, Overcomer

You are not alone! (aka the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics)

You know, I am an Olympi-holic.  All Olympics, all the time!  Specially the Winter Olympics.  And oh, have I had a lot of fun watching all of the events this time around!

COC Photo by Jason Ransom

COC Photo by Jason Ransom

Unlike the Summer Olympics, the Winter Olympics are smaller, easier to keep on top of, easier to watch all of the events and cheer on all of our #TeamCanada Olympians (insert your own team name in at this point 😉 ).

Something struck me the other day as I was watching the free-style ski jumping.  I was thinking about the pressure these athletes are under during their event–all these years of training and focussing and preparing and now it is all on them.  No one can help them now.  They are on their own…

Then, as I was contemplating this, my interest was drawn to the replay of the jump of one of the skiers.  As they showed the jump from a different angle, I could see the athlete’s coach standing off to the side but under the jumper screaming encouragement and advice!  During the entire complicated, crazy flipping, twisting, upside-down time the athlete can hear his coach guiding and encouraging him/her!

What a great example of life as a Christian single and, really, as a married as well.  As we walk through the path that God has laid out for us, as we follow these crazy flipping, twisting, inside-out and upside-down experiences, although it may appear to some that we walk this path alone, the reality is that through every twist and turn our Coach is there with us, encouraging us and providing guidance every crazy step of the way.

What a great lesson to take home from this phenomenal sporting event.  I knew the Olympics couldn’t be just for fun!

Redeemed

Again, I would like to encourage you at the beginning of this great opportunity, this new year, to start anew.  Sometimes we carry around with us the weight of every bad thing from our past, every word unsaid, every selfish thought, every reminder of our unworthiness, every thoughtless thing someone has said or done to us, every lie from satan–“like ghosts that live in our past.”  Remember–there is freedom in Christ!

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9 NIV

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28 – 30 NIV

Redeemed
by Big Daddy Weave

Seems like all I can see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me “son
Stop fighting a fight that’s already been won”

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off theses heavy chains
Wipe away every stain now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”
I remember oh God, You’re not done with me yet

I don’t have to be the old man inside of me
Cause his day is long dead and gone
I’ve got a new name, a new life I’m not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

I am redeemed

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzGAYNKDyIU&noredirect=1

And the story behind this beautiful song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECV7op7Xg8k

Freshly Fallen Snow

Well, I am finally back from my busy Christmas season…finally…  I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, remembering God’s great works in your life in the past and anticipating with wonder His great works in your future!Scrooge

Past and future are both important to us as Christians.  At church on Sunday we talked about “Ebenezers” (and no, not the Scrooge kind!).  An Ebenezer is something that you “put up” to remind you of a difficult time that God helped you through.  Like the stone alters that the Israelites put up in the Old Testement to help them remember God’s grace in bringing them into the promised land.  I think it is important to have something that we can look to when we ‘walk through the valley of the shadow of death’ to remind us of all the times God has helped us before and therefore to give us hope in our present situation.

But we can not dwell in the past.  We are inexorably trapped in the forward passage of time and to walk forward safely we must look ahead.

Looking forward at the beginning of the year is like looking out across a vast expanse of pristine, freshly fallen snow.  It is beautiful.  Untouched.  Full of potential.  Just like this year ahead of us.  An opportunity to be apart of God’s work, spread His love, to love those around us. Let’s make a resolution this year to seek God every day and to follow Him wherever He leads!

We Are by Kari Jobe

Ironmen

One can find inspiration everywhere if you really look for it.  Today I was reading The Magazine for Canadian Subaru Owners, Six Star 2013, when I came across an article about a very unique father and son team, Dick and Rick Hoyt.  They began competing in 1977 and have competed together in more than 1000 endurance events, including 70 marathons and 6 IRONMAN competitions.

The dad, Dick, will be 73 years old this year and the son, Rick, will be 51 years old.  They are planning on competing in between 20 and 25 events this year!

What makes them stand out?  Why are they different from any other athletes?  Rick was born with cerebral palsy and competes in a wheelchair.  Dick carries Rick for the entire race.  According to Six Star, Rick is pulled by his dad in a rubber dingy for the water portions of the triathlon and then rides on the front of a tandem bicycle made especially for them.  For the run portion Rick’s dad pushes Rick in his wheelchair.

Swimming together

Swimming together

Biking together

Biking together

Running together

Running together

Dick carrying Rick

Dick carrying Rick

Again according to Six Star, Rick told his father after their first race together that when they were running, he felt like he wasn’t handicapped.  And they haven’t stopped since.

What a gift for a father to give his child!  The gift of flight, of soaring above the earth, of running over the ground when he could not himself!

Is this not what God does for us?  We are weak, alone, handicapped by our human-ness.  God picks us up and carries us.  He runs with us on His back!  He helps us to fly, “to soar up on wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31), to feel the sun on our face, to feel free!

We are weak but He is strong and through His strength we can fly! But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV  Everyone will look at us and marvel–how can they do it?  How can they stand up with such weak legs?  How can they run?  It can only be through the help of their Father!  And then won’t they all want what our Father gives us?  Strength, power, hope, freedom!  And won’t God by glorified?

With God as our help we can all be Ironmen.