Transforming Water to Wine? Or to Tea?

I was just reading Billy Graham’s Decision magazine for July – August 2014, leaving my favourite part until the end, the very last page called “Ruth’s Attic.”

Ruth and Billy Graham

Ruth, of course, was Mr. Graham’s late wife and she had a collection of some of the most interesting and moving stories from average every day people.

The one that I read today is of particular interest to those who may not have exactly what they want in life, or who feel that they’re lacking in something. Please ponder the following story.

In one of F.W. Boreham’s books, he tells of an old Scottish woman living alone and very poor.

But she carefully tithed what little she had and gave to the church. When unable to attend service, she expected a deacon to drop by and collect her offering. The deacon knew well she could not afford it, but knowing also that she would be deeply offended if he did not collect it, he was careful to stop by.

It was late afternoon one day when he made his visit.

Old Mary was sitting near a window having tea.

“The tithe is on the mantel,” she said, greetings over. “Won’t ye sit and have a cup of tea?”

The deacon sat, and when Mary passed him his cup, he looked down in surprise and exclaimed:

“Why, Mary! It’s only water ye have!”

“Aye!” said old Mary. “But He makes it taste like tea!”

“Tea Time,” Taken from “Legacy of a Pack Rat,” By Ruth Bell Graham. ©1989, The Ruth Bell Graham Literary Trust.  I found this article on http://www.billygraham.org (http://billygraham.org/decision-magazine/july-august-2014/tea-time/)

Oh, that we might have the faith of that old woman!  To be content regardless of our situation!

Keep up the good fight!

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

The Boston Marathon

Hi, crew!  I have been helping out with a Silent Auction to raise funds for an orphanage in Kenya so I have been away from my blog for a good reason.  While I’ve been away a few things have happened in the world at large and I do think I should comment on at least one.

As a runner I feel that I must make some comment about the events that occurred around the Boston marathon a few weeks ago.  I have no words to express what I feel.  All I can say is how I am again overwhelmed by the capacity of people to hurt other people.

I have heard so many stories from my friends and colleagues about family or friends that were in Boston at that time.  One of my colleagues had 2 of his friends running in the race. My friend’s daughter lives just blocks from the finish line.  They were all OK but I think we all knew how worried they were until they found out.

I heard some amazing stories about how people chipped in and likely saved lives.  The military “ruckers”, bystanders, runners, police, firefighters, medical personnel.  It’s unfortunate that something this bad has to happen for us to see the truly exceptional that is hiding in our fellow human beings.

As I’ve said before we need to be on our knees in prayer for all those involved:  those who are injured, the families of those killed or injured, those who were witnesses, those who helped the injured and scared.

There is a bigger picture here, though.  What we are feeling now in the aftermath of this disaster in Boston is what some people around the world feel every day.

I was deeply saddened when I saw the following picture on twitter just after the Boston events.

I think while we are on our knees for our neighbours in Boston, we need to pray for those who live daily in a place where peace is not the norm, where heartbreaking violence and loss of life are a part of life, where events like the ones in Boston are common everyday experiences.  Let us not forget that, while we North Americans live in a basically peaceful place, most of the world does not have that reality.

This world needs the peace that only Christ can truly give.

John 16:33 I  have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you  will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the  world.”

Discontentment Can Be…Good?

Contentment makes poor men rich; discontent makes rich men poor.
Benjamin  Franklin

I could talk on forever about contentment.  It really is so important for each and every soul, not just for singles.  The beauty of contentment lies in it’s peace, it’s lack of fear, it’s lack of striving after the newest thing, it’s confidence, it’s selfLESSness.  The eyes of the contented look to God with a knowledge of His goodness and a trust in His grace.

But there are some situations in which it would be bad to be content.

Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking–make up your mind!

Well, there are certain things that we should never be satisfied with–our knowledge of God, our gratitude to Him, our love of His will and His people, our sharing of our experience of Him with others. These are all things that we should only wish have more of, to do more.

Religion promotes the divine discontent within oneself, so that one tries to make oneself a better person and draw oneself closer to God.   Cyril  Cusack

So to continue to build our faith in God requires both contentment AND discontent–contentment with His leading and discontent with our knowledge of Him.

Wow…now that’s something to think about…

God is looking for imperfect men and women who have learned to walk in moment-by-moment dependence on the Holy Spirit. Christians who have come to terms with their inadequacies, fears, and failures. Believers who have become discontent with ‘surviving’ and have taken the time to investigate everything God has to offer in this life.
Charles Stanley

Dear You

One of my friends from church, Dorothy B., wrote this beautiful letter and read it in church Sunday.  I immediately asked for a copy for this blog and she concurred.

Dear you: 
Written by Jesus to You

I love you!

I shed my own blood for you, to take away your sin and make you clean.  You can be new if you believe in me and ask me to be a part of your life.  I will make you new and lovely in my eyes, because I created you to be just as you are.

Do not criticize yourself or get down for not being perfect in your own eyes, for my blood covers all of your sin, if you have asked me into your heart.  I want you to trust me one day at a time.

Dwell in my power and love and be free.  Be yourself.  Don’t allow other people to run you.  I will guide you, if you will let me.  Be aware of my presence in everything.

I give you patience, joy, love and peace.  Look to me for answers.  I am your shepherd and will lead you, if you will let me.   I love you.

I will change you without you hardly knowing it.  You are to love yourself and to love others simply because I love you.  Take your eyes off yourself and look only to me.  Let me have the joy of making you like me.  I paid the price for your sin with my blood and I can remove your sin and give you wonderful peace.  Don’t struggle, relax in my love and let me change you.  My will is perfect, my love is sufficient, open your heart to me and I will come in and make a difference in your life.

I love you.

Jesus