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

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Two Little Six-year-old Boys

Caleb and NoahSo, my 6-year-old nephew, Caleb, and his best friend, Noah, were being driven home from school by Noah’s mother, Tamara, when the following conversation occurred.

CALEB:  Why was Jordan taken out of class today?

NOAH:  He used The “S” word.

CALEB (thoughtful):  Which one?

NOAH (whispered):  Stupid!

CALEB:  Oh.

NOAH:  What’s the other “S” word?

(Tamara perked up her ears here to see what the pastor’s son would say).

CALEB:  Sexy!  But I didn’t really get that.  I don’t even know what it means.

NOAH:  Oh, I know what it means…

CALEB:  What?

NOAH (whispered):  Flexible!

Tamara, of course, was trying hard not to laugh herself silly in the front seat of the van!

Some times I wonder if God feels like Tamara when He listens to us.  Granted, He already knows what we are going to say, but sometimes I think He must laugh hysterically at us.  You’ve seen the bumper sticker, WE PLAN, GOD LAUGHS?

There are times in the past that the things that I’ve prayed for were so silly when I compare them to God’s handling of the situation.  I have such a limited view of the power of God at times.  Like my good friend Mandie said to me one day, “Mary, you’ve got to take God out of the box!”

But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”  1 Corinthians 2:9

God has the unlimited ability to bless us.  We are like 6-year-olds in the back of the van talking of things we don’t know about.  We need to pray that he would allow us to trust Him when we don’t understand, the ability to hear Him to seek His will, and the ability to step out in faith, like Peter stepped out of the boat onto the crashing waves (Matthew 14:22 – 33).

13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:13, 14  NIV

We need to work hard towards spiritual maturity!  I’ll keep you up to date!

What To Do When…Your Grandmother asks about your love life…

The question comes, without warning.

“So, Mary, how is your love life?”

This rather personal question comes from my beautiful, resilient 80 year-old grandmother, whom I love dearly, and who is obviously quite concerned about me.

I was much younger when she asked me this.  What does one reply given the circumstances?

Typical Mary answer:  Uhhhhh….great, Grandma!  I mean, well, not great,  uhhhhhh….I’m not, like, dating or anything…no, I like boys, it’s just I haven’t…uhhh…found one that…well…How are your tomato plants doing Grandma?

Smooth answer:  Who needs the love of a mere man when one is loved by you, Grandma?

Risque answer:  Hey, Grandma, why don’t you put on your party clothes and we’ll go out together looking for love (Grandmother is a widow…).

What actually happened:  (staring blankly at grandmother with mouth agape) Uhhhh….

People WILL ask us these questions so we had better be prepared (unlike me, with my Venus flytrap impression).

For a fan of the Royals:  But, Grandma, Prince William is already taken!

Nautical answer:  There are many fish in the sea, Grandma, and I can’t choose until I’ve met them all!

Optimist:  Nothing on that front yet, Grandma, but I’m a glass full kind of girl.

Kind/Desperate:  Any suggestions, Grandma?

Temporizing:  I’m in between boyfriends right now, Grandma.

Starstruck:  Well, Harrison Ford is a bit old for me, Gram.

“I’m single because I was born that way.”–Mae West

Yes, you can have a bit of fun with your friends and family and church family.  I actually think we SHOULD have a little fun (a little mischief is OK!).

The best answer:  Grandma, God loves me and is taking good care of me.  Don’t be afraid for me–He knows what He’s doing!

I think humour and honesty will go a long way in helping us through “awkward” moments.  In the end, as long as we truly trust God we should be able to field any “love life questions” that are thrown at us.

Thank-you, Grandma, for loving me, being concerned about me, supporting me in every situation and walking with me through this life.

For Those Bad Days

Despite all that we’ve talked about there will be days when we feel low.  Even non-singles have days where they feel overwhelmed, distraught and alone.  This is the way of our fallen world…

As I’ve already mentioned, I love music.  Good music with good lyrics just seem to anchor themselves in my heart.  The next time you have one of these days where you feel alienated, despairing…please look back to the words of the song below.  It was written by the amazing Canadian Christian Jazz/Blues musician, Greg Sczebel.

Perhaps  by Greg Sczebel

Seems like I’m the only one who understands
Where I’m coming from. Maybe I’m wrong.
I crawl beneath a moonless sky
Trying to connect the hurt with why
And the tears don’t cease to come
So I give it one more shot, I cast my final lot
God, maybe you can understand
What I’m going through

Have you ever hurt so bad before
You could not feel the floor beneath your feet?
And have you ever cried so long
The tide swept you away like a song that was bittersweet?
Do you understand, do you think you can relate?
Maybe this reminds you of another time or place
Perhaps…Gethsemane

I could have sworn, as I lay warm in my bed
I could hear Your heart break for me
And You did not hesitate to take this pain away
You throw Your arms around me like a robe
Hold me close to let me know I’m not alone anymore
And You tell it like it is, like it was yesterday
And I just can’t believe my ears as I hear You say

Do you think that I’d forget
The kiss of death that was left on my face?
Do you think I did not hear the people mock
The soldiers sneer on that day?
Do you think that I don’t cry
When the very world for which I died
Just tries to wipe my name from history?
Child, it reminds me of Gethsemane

Do you think that I’m immune
To the pain you put me through
When you close your heart and walk away
And disregard the price I paid?
Do you think that I didn’t cry all day?

You see you’re not the only one
Who understands where you’re coming from…
I’ve been there all along…

_____________

2 Corinthians 4:8,9 (NIV)

8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.