Monday, 31 December 2007

The Seasons Of My Life

It is interesting, looking back on this past year and looking ahead to 2008. I know that God uses all that we experience to work out His plan for our lives. I have had one set of chemo, which is destroying the cancer cells. In the new year I will have surgery to remove any remaing cancer and the affected organ, as well as related ones - I am having a complete hysterectomy. Then I will have some more chemo to erradicate any remaining cancer cells.

It is intersting how these procedures have been divided, not only by year, but by season. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and began treatment in autumn, which is a season where plants wither up and die. My CA125 levels went from 4095 to 58 after three rounds of chemo. The cancer, like the plants, was withering up and dying. Winter is the season that I have my surgery and remaining chemo. It is as if the soil of my life is being prepared for the new life of spring. The tumor, ovaries and nearby organs are being removed. I don't need those anymore. I am thankful for the three beautiful children that my ovaries produced and my uterus nurtured. I will be fruitful in other ways and give birth to other things in the spiritual realm. That has not ended, nor can that be taken away from me. I will be totally done chemo and able to move on by the end of spring. I am looking forward to the new life that God has for me. There have been things planted that have either weathered the harsh storms or that have lain dormant and are awaiting the spring and summer time of my life.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: ... a time to plant and a time to uproot." Ecclesiastes 3:1,2b (NIV)

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Gratefulness or Self-Pity

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:15-17 (NIV)

I resented the fact that I needed to have surgery. I was regaining strength and health; I didn't want to be cut open and have to recover from surgery. I was struggling to have the right attitude toward surgery. I knew that I needed to be positive and to go into it with a positive attitude rather than a negative one.

As I was praying and thinking about my upcoming surgery, the thought came to me that I had a choice. I could wallow in self-pity or I could choose to be grateful. I have much to be grateful for:

  • I live in Canada, where the medical tests and procedures are readily available and paid for in Ontario by OHIP
  • When I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, treatment began immediately
  • I have access to specialists and hospitals where I can receive treatment and have necessary surgery
  • All my medication is covered by my husband's health insurance plan
  • I have home care nurses who are paid for by CCAC
  • I have a wonderful family who is supportive of me in every way
  • I have been regaining strength and some of the weight that I had lost; I will be better equipped physically to undergo surgery
  • I have a caring church family, who pray and offer practical help as well
  • God has given me strength and His grace to cope; I know that He will be with me through the surgery and recovery

  • "Praise the Lord, I tell myself; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases." Psalm 103: 1-3 (NLT)

    Tuesday, 18 December 2007

    Giving Hope To Others

    I have recently had two conversations with friends about this topic "Giving Hope To Others". God has given me hope in the midst of this difficult time of dealing with ovarian cancer. I have been encouraged by my nuclear family, my extended family and my church family giving me emotional, physical and spiritual support. Several friends have also provided encouragement. I have drawn much strength and encouragement from God's Word, either through my own reading or from others' teaching. It is as if I am "gathering" encouragement and hope in a big bag like Santa's sack. I feel that I am storing up these things for future ministry. I am looking forward to the opportunities that God will provide for me to share with others.

    "All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us". 2 Corinthians 1:3,4 (MSG)

    Wednesday, 12 December 2007

    My Times Are In God's Hands

    I am longing for this time to be over. God has sustained me through this time. I have experienced His peace in hard times. I am not looking forward to my upcoming surgery. Yet I know that it is necessary. I have finished one leg of this journey, and the next one awaits me. I am having surgery on January 8. I am glad that I am able to enjoy the Christmas season with our families. After surgery I am to have more chemotherapy. I hope it is not many rounds. I want to move on and begin to heal from the effects of chemo and surgery.

    Father, I again commit "my times" into Your hands. You already have a time for me to heal. May I continue to rest in knowing that You are in control.

    "My times are in your hands" Psalm 31: 15a(NIV)

    "There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven...a time to heal..." Ecclesiastes 3:1,3 (NIV)

    Friday, 7 December 2007

    Light-hearted Moments

    In the midst of this season of my life I am able to have moments of fun with my family and others. I thought I would share a couple of recent examples.

    Because my head is mostly bald I usually wear something to cover my head to help keep it warm. I was recently given two scarf-hats. They are made by a lady at the local seniors' centre for those undergoing chemotherapy and experience hair loss. One of the scarves is a denim blue colour with little off-white flowers. I wore my blue dangly earrings, that my sister made me, with it when I was wearing blue. At the dinner table my youngest son said"Say 'ARRGH!' Mom". He thought that I looked like a pirate! We felt that it would be more authentic if I wore only one of my earrings! My daughter stated that she felt that I looked more like "a biker chick"! The shape and style, but not the colour, is similar to the type of scarf that Paul Sr. wears on Orange County Choppers !

    When I was last at the hospital for my chemo I was able to pick out a few hats that had been donated. Yesterday I wore a crocheted hat that is almost florescent pink in colour. My daughter said that she wants to "punk" my hat sometime and wear it. I was wearing a pink top, not nearly as bright as the hat, and a pair of dangly pink earrings. I decided to keep the funky look going by wearing my psychedelic pink fuzzy slippers that my sister had given me in my Sunshine Basket. When my home nurse came for my bi-weekly checkup, she exclaimed that she liked my outfit! She said that the hat's colour was Barbie pink!

    Tuesday, 27 November 2007

    Being "Normal"

    When life is going as planned and we are healthy and "living our life", we can take normal everyday tasks for granted, and even resent having to do them. I was so weak and unable to perform even the simplest task. I needed assistance even to get dressed when I was experiencing the side-effects of Stemetil, the anti-nausea drug. Once it was discovered that I was extremely allergic to that particular drug and no longer taking it, I suddenly had the ability to dress myself. I began to start doing some everyday tasks such as setting the table and loading the dishwasher. Later, in the evening my arms and hands would ache because I hadn't used those muscles in over two months!

    My husband and I went for a walk in the countryside one Saturday afternoon. It was so enjoyable to walk in the woods and to smell the autumn scents of decaying leaves. I had missed being outside and enjoying nature. It was so good to see where my husband and sons had gone for walks and taken pictures. It was a cool day, but I was bundled up. I hadn't pushed myself; we were taking it slowly and I was able to sit and rest before we headed back to our van. Later that evening my legs were sore. I hadn't used those muscles for over two months either. When I was taking Stemetil I could only shuffle or walk with assistance.

    This last Thursday my good friend Anita took me to Soeby's, a local grocery store, and to Healthy By Choice, a new health food store and bakery where my daughter was now working. I hadn't been in Soeby's since it had changed over from being an IGA. Also I had been unable to attend the grand opening of Healthy By Choice since it occurred during the time I was in my "danger zone" when I am more susceptible to colds etc. It was so good to do something "normal" such as buying bananas in the grocery store and a specialty tea in the health food store.

    Yesterday I had my second lunch with a couple of close friends from my past. It was so good to enjoy one another's company; talk about our lives and our shared faith. We did talk about me having cancer, but it was not the main focus of our time together. It was good to explore possible solutions to different situations; to laugh at ourselves; and just be "normal".

    Friday, 23 November 2007


    I have been blessed with many friends. Friends are the "hands of Jesus" in my life. I sense God's love for me through the various acts of kindness that my friends do for me and my family. I want to share some examples of the ways that people have reached out to me and blessed me.

    We have in our church a missionary couple from Brazil, whose first language is Portuguese. One day recently the wife appeared on my doorstep. She wanted to share a scripture and pray for me. As she sought to find the "right" English word to express her heart for me I was blessed by her loving care for me. That same day a friend from my past, who I have recently been more in contact with, blessed our family with dinner. What makes that a special action is that she lives over 45 minutes away from me.

    A lady in my church blessed our family with a full course meal that was "fit for company". I was overwhelmed by the thought and work involved. Later, when my husband returned all her dishes, she and her husband prayed for each member of my family. My husband and I felt loved and cared for.

    My pastor and his wife visited me when I was in Emergency. They had come because of an urgent prayer request that was called in to the church. I asked if they were in the neighbourhood or visiting others in the hospital and they said no they came just to see me. They prayed for me and I again felt loved and cared for.

    There have been many others too numerous to mention who have called; sent cards;made soup; brought meals; and prayed. This season of my life has been marked by God loving me through His people.

    Monday, 19 November 2007

    Hair Loss

    The most obvious place that I have lost hair is my head. My head is basically bald but I have "fuzz" that is sprinkled all over my head that is about 1/2 inch in length. My eyelashes have become sparse. I used to have full dark eyelashes. My eyebrows keep thinning, but I still have some. I no longer have nose hairs, which means that I need to keep a tissue on hand to catch any drips!

    I usually wear a pink sleep hat during the day if I am at home. I sometimes go bareheaded. I am told that I have "a nice shaped head". I think that I look almost avante-guarde when I go bareheaded and wear elaborate earings! I have a pretty purple hat with sequins that I sometimes wear. I bought a scarf that matches.

    I have worn my wig out in public and I am getting more used to it. I recently wore it to a friend's home, where I had been invited to lunch. I was sitting in her living room and another friend walked in and exclaimed "I like your hair!". I then told her that it was a wig and she said that it looks so much like my natural hair that she wouldn't have known. That made my day!

    I am glad that hair loss is only temporary. As my hair was thinning I had my daughter buzz it to 1/2 inch length all over. Before she did she cut a lock of my hair to save. It will be interesting to see if the colour or texture changes. I didn't have many grey hairs so I am curious to see if I develop more on account of all that I am going through.

    "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Luke 12: 6,7 (NIV)

    Saturday, 17 November 2007

    God's Faithfulness To Me

    I want to share the good things that God has done for me.

    When I went for my pre-chemo checkup, I mentioned to the doctor all the strange symptoms I had been experiencing. She said that it is the Stemetil, the anti-nausea drug they routinely prescribe. I happen to be one of the few people that violently react to it. There are other drugs that I can take in its place. This time round the side-effects are rather minimal in comparison.

    Also, I had another CA125 blood test that showed a significant decrease in the levels after two rounds of chemo. The numbers went from 4095 down to 278; the normal range is 0-35. I know that the cancer is not spreading, but is being destroyed!

    "I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself." Psalm 89: 1,2 (NIV)

    "The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever" Psalm 138:8a (NIV)

    Saturday, 3 November 2007

    Coping In Hard Times

    I am going for my third round of chemotherapy on Thursday. I want to get the most out of the time before I do. It is as if I enter a place of not being myself. It is as if the chemo takes over my body and directs or inhibits its movements. I am stiff and restless at the same time. It is hard for those who live with me. They long for the days when I "am back"; when I have freedom of movement, stability and ease. I too covet those days and I don't look forward to experiencing the side-effects of chemo that threaten to wreck havoc in my life. I know that the chemo is working to shrink the tumour and rid my body of cancerous cells. I have to keep that in mind when I start to feel pressed down by the weight of the effects.

    I have had a good week. The Lord has brought encouragement to me through various people. I know that I will again have good weeks after my hard weeks. That is what also gives me hope and helps me cope with the tough times. Even in the hard times I know that God is with me, helping me through them.

    "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1 (NIV)

    Tuesday, 30 October 2007

    Restoring What Was Hidden

    My children had decided to replenish my "Sunshine Basket". One morning when I awoke I found a framed photograph sitting on a chair in my living room. It is a photograph of me as a 16 year old performing a liturgical dance with two other dancers.

    Last night I was thinking about the photograph. That picture was "hidden away" in an old photo album for over thirty years. My ability to dance and my love of dance was also "hidden away" for thirty years, but God restored it. Just as the photograph is now beautifully displayed in a lovely frame, so too I have been on display using the gift and ability that God has given me. God was able to restore that dream and desire and ability to dance after thirty years, so I know that He is able to restore it anew after my cancer. God is a God of restoration. He takes what is hidden and makes it known.

    Friday, 26 October 2007

    My Psalm of Praise

    "Praise the Lord, I tell myself; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name."
    I do praise You Lord, with my whole heart; with my very being I praise You.
    "Praise the Lord, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me."
    I will never forget all that You have done for me; help me to remember whenever I forget.
    "He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases."
    Thank you Lord for forgiving all my sins. Thank you Lord that You are healing me from cancer.
    "He ransoms me from death and surrounds me with love and tender mercies."
    Thank you for the times You have rescued me from death and for preserving my life. Thank you that I am surrounded by Your love towards me.
    "He fills my life with good things; My youth is renewed like the eagles!" Psalm 103:1-5 (NLT)
    Thank you Lord for all the good things, including people that You fill my life with. I am truly being renewed in my mind and spirit.

    Tuesday, 16 October 2007

    Living in Hope

    I am living in hope. I am not living in despair. I have not even entertained the question "Why me, God?"

    On to God
    Expecting answers

    "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Heb. 11:1 (NIV)

    "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." Heb. 10:23 (NIV)

    Sunday, 14 October 2007

    Sunday Morning

    "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord." Psalm 122:1 (KJV)

    This morning I went to church for the first time since Labour Day Weekend. I was greeted warmly by everyone. It was so good to worship corporately with the rest of the body of Christ. I sat for most of the worship time as I got tired when standing. There were a couple of times that my spirit was dancing within me. After the announcements, Carol said "I see Debbie is here today" and many in the congregation responded by clapping. It is so good to belong to a body of believers who love and care for each other. After the service several of the women gathered around me. Each one hugged me and assured me of their prayers.

    I will only be able to attend corporate worship about once every three weeks. I have my next chemo treatment this week and so I will not feel up to attending church the following Sunday. The next Sunday will be in the time period that I will have very little immunity and cannot be around crowds or anyone with colds. I am looking forward to the third Sunday after chemo when I again will be able to worship corporately with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

    "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron's beard, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore." Psalm 133:1-3 (NIV)

    Monday, 8 October 2007

    Sunshine Basket

    "Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of all he created." James 1: 16 -18 (NIV)

    "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven, give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" Luke 11:9-13 (NIV)

    My two sisters have given me a "Sunshine Basket". It is a large white wicker basket that is decorated with paper flowers and tropical fruit. There is even a colourful lei on the handle of the basket. Inside the basket are gifts of all different sizes and shapes; each one is wrapped in colourful tissue paper in warm hues. It looks very tropical and fun.

    On the first day I opened up the tissue paper and found a candle in the shape of a cupcake. It looks just like a chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing, my favorite.

    On the second day I felt some of the packages and I was intrigued by the bumps on this package. When I opened the tissue paper I found a package of 12 scented lip balms - Icebreakers Sours. These will help keep my lips moist as chemo has a drying effect.

    On the third day I decided to open a package that was large and soft. I was thinking it might be a top or a blanket. When I opened the tissue paper I found a pair of black fleece lounge pants. They had an elastic waist, as well as a drawstring. The word "me" was printed in a pattern on one of the legs. At times it is easy to forget about "me". I enjoy doing things for others; these pants are a reminder to also make time for "me".

    Today is the fourth day and I again decided to open a package, whose shape intrigued me. Inside I discovered a box that contains "Pink Grapefruit Moisturizing Soap". This is part of the description on the box - "Slip away into a tropical paradise! We use only the finest ingredients in our products, and to ensure quality we mix them in small quantities. The addition of super rich Shea Butter seals the deal! Your skin will thank you and so will your senses!"

    I look forward each day to opening up a new gift. I can have confidence that my sisters will give me only things that are good because I know that they love me. That is the same with God. I know that God loves me and He will only give me gifts that are good for me. God can be trusted. I have come to know Him more intimately in the last several years. I know that I can trust my heavenly Father. Aside from salvation, God's greatest gift, I have been given God's Holy Spirit to live in me. He empowers me; guides me; and encourages me. I am so thankful for all of God's gifts.

    Saturday, 6 October 2007

    Anxious Thoughts

    Last night I couldn't sleep. This is what I wrote in my journal at 3:30 am:

    I cannot sleep. I am thinking about losing my hair. I know that it will be rather traumatic when it all falls out and I am bald. I will not only lose my hair from my head, but probably every other strand of hair that is on any part of my body, from the top of my head to my feet. The one benefit is that I won't need to shave my legs; armpits; or pluck my eyebrows; or any lone hair that seems to suddenly appear on my chin.

    I will be very much like I was when I was born. I was a bald baby and didn't get hair for several months. My children, on the other hand, were all born with hair, some more than others.

    What brought on this recent anxiety is that I tried on some wigs yesterday. I wanted to pick out a wig before I lost my hair. Most of the wigs were "pouffy" and I don't wear my natural hair like that. I was getting a bit discouraged, then the salesperson said that there is a wig that is very similar to my hair texture and not "pouffy". It is a "bob" that is parted on the side and the hair is layered. We needed to order this wig and it won't be in until next week. The name of the style is "Peace".

    "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for you Father knows what you need before you ask him". Mtt. 6:5-8 (NIV)

    Thursday, 4 October 2007

    When God Seems Silent

    I had been wanting to know what my passion or purpose was. I was wanting to have a specific focus or area that I would be burdened and passionate about. There were areas that I could serve. I could possibly volunteer at Mercy House, but every time I went to fill out the form I couldn't get anywhere; my heart wasn't in it and I didn't feel that this was "it". The Bible Studies were starting up at the Hub and I was going to be able to attend one during the day. There was the opportunity to be a discussion leader for the study. I started to make inquiries, but I was not excited about it.

    I found this all strange, here were two opportunities I could use my gifts, talents, abilities and passions and yet I didn't sense a "go forward" from God. It seemed as if God was silent.

    I received the answer to the reason for God's silence on these cries of my heart. They were not the things He wanted to answer right now. I needed to focus my attention on healing, health and wholeness and not doing anything ministry wise.

    When I received my diagnosis of ovarian cancer I was thankful that God had not answered those cries for a passion and purpose for ministry. I was in no state to even consider such ministry as my time would be focused on undergoing treatment and coming through this time victoriously.

    God's word to me during this whole time has been "Wait and Trust". I know that God has good plans plans for my life. I have been encouraged through His word and other people.

    "I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done". Psalm 118: 17 (NIV)

    Sunday, 9 September 2007

    The Lord Will Watch

    The phrase the Lord "will watch over your life" from Psalm 121 stood out to me. What God was impressing on me was that this is not just in the literal sense of keeping me alive.

    God will watch over my life - the time I am alive on earth; what I shall do and who I will be; where I shall go and what I shall become; where I have been and how I have been transformed; how I have been a captive and how God has released me from bondage into the glorious freedom He has prepared for me.

    "The Lord will keep you from all harm - he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Psalm 121: 7,8 (NIV)

    Wednesday, 5 September 2007

    A Time of Waiting

    I think that waiting is one of the hardest things to do.




    "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." Psalm 27:14 (NIV)

    "I will wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning." Psalm 130: 5,6 (NIV)

    "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!" Isaiah 30 :18 (NIV)

    Thursday, 9 August 2007

    A Heart of Praise

    My heart is overwhelmed with praise to God.

    I will praise You Lord with my life.
    I will worship You Lord with my mind, body, soul and spirit.
    I will contemplate You Lord through my five senses.
    I will sing and I will be silent.
    I will dance and I will kneel.
    I will lift my eyes to heaven.
    I will close my eyes in prayer.
    I will speak and I will listen.

    "It 's who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That's the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself - Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration." John 4: 23-24 (MSG)

    Friday, 3 August 2007


    On November 5, 1987 I wrote:

    "Father, what are friends?... Are they people that you share a bit of yourself with along life's journey? Someone to keep step with for a part of the way until we take separate paths? Is there such a thing as a forever friend? One who will always be there to offer an encouraging word?

    Lord, please help me to be a true friend to others. What is a true friend? Is it someone who is trustworthy; who will keep a confidence; believe the best and disregard the worst? Is it someone who will love me enough to correct me when I am wrong and then forgive me?

    Lord, I have had so many friends throughout my life. Thank you for those special people whose lives have touched mine. I pray that when others look back on their friendship with me they will have happy memories too."


    Friday, 27 July 2007

    Five Things That I Love About Jesus

    I have been "tagged" by Belinda,, to write about Five Things I Love About Jesus.

    1) I love that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) He has no beginning or ending and He transcends all time and fads. I know that He is constant. He is never behind the times or out of style.

    2) I love that Jesus is a caring High Priest who sympathizes with our weaknesses. ( Hebrews 4: 14 - 16) I have confidence I can approach Him in my times of need. Jesus has faced every type of temptation and struggle that I will ever face, yet He was without sin.

    3) I love that Jesus died so that I could be reconciled to God. (Romans 5: 8- 11) I don't have to depend on my efforts to try to reach God.

    4) I love the diversity and creativity of Jesus; for example His methods of teaching and healing. Jesus identified the heart issues and ministered accordingly. How He ministers to me is unique to my heart issues as well.

    5) I love that Jesus had friends who He loved while He was on earth; for example Mary, Martha, Lazarus and John. It is through Jesus' relationships with His friends and others that I can gain insight on how to treat others.

    Friday, 20 July 2007

    A Choice

    I am continuing to type up my reflections and impressions from my journals. I recently came across this journal entry from September 2002.

    "Something hit me like a ton of bricks. When I was under legalism I obeyed God because I had to. I knew what was expected of me. It wasn’t a choice, but a robotic submission. My emotions were suppressed; my mind was confined. God liberated my mind, will and emotions. I began to feel things that I hadn’t for years. I went through a time of adjustment, from one extreme to another. I have been listening to a teaching series on holiness by Joyce Meyer. She was saying that we shouldn’t be ruled or controlled by our emotions. I asked the Lord if this was the case, why would He restore my emotions to me instead of allowing me to remain in legalism? He spoke to my heart that now I had a choice to obey or not. Now I could fully feel and desire to do things that I was supposed to do and I could also choose to obey and to do what is right even when it would go against my feelings."

    "I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart." Psalm 40:8 (NIV)

    "Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart." Psalm 119:34 (NIV)

    Thursday, 19 July 2007

    An Alphabet of Thanks

    I was thinking that I have a lot to be thankful for. These are just some of the things and people that I am thankful to God for.

    Anita - a true friend
    Brenda - my "baby" sister & Belinda - an encourager re writing
    Chris - my oldest son
    Dan - my husband & Dianne - one of my best friends & Dad
    Encouraging words
    Friends & Freedom in Christ
    Gayle - my middle sister
    Holly - an encourager regarding dance
    Joy - my daughter
    Kelly - an encourager regarding dance
    Linda - an encourager regarding dance
    Mom & Magda - a new friend
    New experiences
    Old memories
    People sharing their spiritual journeys
    Quiet times with God
    Salvation & Sandi - a fellow dancer
    Tim - my youngest son
    Unconditional love
    Venerate - a contemporary worship service
    Wendy - my cousin
    X-rays ( I had to put something that was true, if not high on my list:))
    Young people's passion for God
    Zeal tempered with wisdom

    Wednesday, 18 July 2007

    My Alphabet About God

    God is:

    Quick to forgive
    Xenophile - He loves foreign people
    Your God and mine

    Monday, 16 July 2007

    The Holy Spirit's Empowering

    On Sunday our pastor spoke about the Baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit. One of the evidences of being filled with the Holy Spirit is being empowered to do things that we could not do in our own strength or ability. This past week I have recognized the working of the Holy Spirit in my own life.

    My husband Dan and I were away at a cottage for a few days last week. The lake was calm and Dan wanted to launch his boat to take advantage of the lake conditions, since they are changeable. There is a public access point to the lake just north of the cottage. As he was backing the boat trailer into the water he had to keep going since the water was so shallow. Unfortunately the van got stuck while he was trying to drive out so he decided it would be best to put the boat back on the trailer and call CAA. Dan stayed with the van while I walked back to the cottage to make the phone call. I was informed that we either had to detach the boat and trailer or add "recreational vehicle" to Dan's membership, which we chose to do. Amazingly I was not stressed. I was a lot calmer than I would have been in the past. I recognized this as an evidence of the Holy Spirit's empowering in my life. This was an inward working of the fruit of the Spirit.

    Yesterday I had the opportunity to dance in the church service for one song, Refiners Fire, using a "fire flag". Before the service the other dancers and I discussed how and where we would dance with our flags. Everything started the way it was planned and then one of the dancers decided to dance "as the Spirit led" so I was immediately put into a place of depending on the Holy Spirit to empower me to continue and to not freeze on the spot or panic. I was able to refocus on the Lord and finish the dance. This was an inward working of the Holy Spirit that resulted in outward action.

    "But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law." Galatians 5: 22,23 (NLT)

    "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4 : 11b-13 (NIV)

    Sunday, 24 June 2007

    Time to Fly

    I know that I have been created to "fly", if I use the analogy of a bird. I have spent long enough time in the nest. It was quite comfortable in the nest. I knew the routines; what was expected of me; what roles I was to fulfill. I don't like change. I am most comfortable when things are peaceful; others are doing their part and I am doing mine.

    God allowed me to be pushed from the nest, but instead of flying right away, I fell to the ground and my wings were broken. Time has passed and the Lord has healed my broken wings. I have been challenged to discover what God is doing around me. I can only see that when I fly. It is easy to build another nest; there are plenty of materials at my disposal. Yet that is not what God has called me to do. It wasn't a matter of changing nests, but rather that I am to fly.

    My husband Dan wrote a song that ties in with this theme.

    On The Wings Of An Eagle (Dan Antonio - September 20,2005)

    On the wings of an eagle you will fly
    Let the wind of My Spirit lift you high
    Above the storm where the sun always shines
    On the wings of an eagle you will fly

    Cast your cares on Me
    Your pain and sorrows too
    Disappointment and broken dreams
    I've a plan and purpose for you

    I don't see you thru the eyes of sin
    I see you thru a heart of love
    You are beautiful and precious in My sight
    You're My child, My heart's delight

    "Have you never heard or understood? Don't you know that the Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth? He never grows faint or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youths will become exhausted, and young men will give up. But those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. they will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40: 28 - 31 (NLT)

    Thursday, 14 June 2007

    An Evening Boat Ride

    There are benefits to living close to a river. We are a five minute drive from the Holland River, which runs into Lake Simcoe. We recently purchased a used 14 foot Legend aluminium boat. My husband, Dan, and our two sons have gone fishing quite regularly since acquiring this boat. They have found a dynamite fishing spot near the mouth of the river and the lake. They have caught several large pike and even some nice bass; but they had to throw them back since bass weren't in season.

    I had not yet taken a boat ride, but Dan had promised to take me out after work. Tonight was the night. I had only been on the river once before, in the winter when we had walked on the ice. There are so many twists and turns. We saw osprey, blue herons and cormorants. As we headed out from town we passed yachts; sea planes; houseboats; and other types of water craft. There is a little community there.

    As we were going up the river I felt like we were far from civilization. It reminded me of times when we have been at a cottage or camping. There is a sense of freedom on the water. It takes about 20 minutes to get from town to the mouth of the river. We had just enough time to go there and back before the sun was beginning to set.

    As we were boating I had a deep sense of satisfaction. At that moment in time I was completely content. Thankfulness to God welled up in my spirit. I was thankful for the Lord blessing us with this boat; I was thankful for my husband taking me on this boat ride to show me what he and the boys experienced and where they fished.

    We will probably fish there sometime. I have my fishing licence; but I only enjoy fishing when the fish are actually biting! I usually take along a book to occupy me when I get tired of the process and the fish aren't biting. I am looking forward to trying out the dynamite fishing spot; if I go by past results I should be able to catch something worthwhile too!

    Saturday, 9 June 2007

    A Day At The ROM

    My mother and I are members of the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto. As members, we were invited to preview the new addition. I must admit that I went with some scepticism regarding the shape of the new addition. I was pleasantly surprised by the different elements on each level. There was great thought and care in the planning; incorporating the old with the new; the placement of windows; and displays in the stairways.

    When I go to the ROM, or any such institution of man, I know that I need to be discerning and not accept everything as absolute truth. I can appreciate the diversity of our cultures; the wonder in creation; the creativity of man. I view all of life through a Biblical worldview. This was very evident to me during this particular visit.

    After we had toured the main part of the new addition we enquired about any special exhibits. There were three that we viewed; glass paperweights; Japanese painted scrolls; and burial finds from Peru.

    The Japanese painted scrolls were very well done; there was a lot of detail; they often portrayed stories. They focused on the courtesans and their assignations. These were beautiful Japanese women, who were high class prostitutes that lived and worked in a closed community. The men of the upper class would come and the courtesans would parade in their beautiful kimonos; then each man would go to the house of assignation to meet with his chosen courtesan. While we were viewing this display a docent was describing one such scroll to her friend. We asked if we could join in to hear as well and she agreed. The docent said that 60% of the population of Edo were men; they had a country home with their wives and families and they came to the city for business. It all sounded very cultured and proper. Yet when my mom asked if there was any incident of disease since we have STD's and AIDS today, it stripped away the mask to reveal the true nature of these interactions. The docent admitted that the women had a ten year contract, but many often died before they could complete their term. For the most part there was no overt reference to the type of interactions that these scrolls represented. Wealthy men would have these scrolls in their homes and they would bring them out to show their guests. From a cultural point of view this was an excellent exhibit to portray a particular aspect of ancient Japanese culture. Yet, as a Christian, I felt uncomfortable with the interactions they represented.

    When we viewed the archaeological finds from ancient Peru I was saddened and grieved. A burial site of a king had been discovered. Along with the king there were other bodies found. They were a couple of young virgin women and youth who had been sacrificed; ceremonially killed. I know that this was a key archaeological find since many such sites had been vandalised over the years and this one was intact. It was interesting to see the objects, but I could not view this exhibit from a detached perspective.

    "This is what the Lord says: 'Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,' declares the Lord." Jeremiah 9: 23-24 (NIV)

    Thursday, 31 May 2007

    Contemplating the Cross

    I am in the process of typing out my reflections from my journals and assembling them in a binder. My journals contain scriptures, songs, and quotes as well as my reflections. I have wanted to have my reflections accessible so that I could use them as the basis for some of my writings. As I was typing up the following piece I wanted to post it. This is a part of a journal entry from July 2003.

    I have been reading two devotionals on the cross. My thought was “I am more comfortable with looking at scriptures about the cross of Jesus, the Lamb of God, before the crucifixion or well after the fact reflecting back on that act." The reading for today in Contemplating the Cross was so disturbing to me – Jesus is dying and He is taunted by others to prove Himself.

    I think at times we focus so much on the divinity of Jesus that we forget that He is fully man as well. How would He have felt, knowing that He had struggled in prayer to come to the point of accepting and preparing to give Himself up to die for our sins? He knew that He would be beaten and mocked and abandoned. It is almost too much for me to comprehend. Even if I think of it from a human standpoint to be falsely accused; put to death; while a person who is actually guilty of the crimes you have been accused of goes free.

    Jesus’ credibility was brought into question in the accusations that people threw at Him. If Jesus couldn’t get off the cross and save Himself and prove that He truly was the Son of God, then how could His words be trusted? How could His teachings liberate people from the bondages of sin and legalism? How could the healings be from God if God would not intervene and heal Jesus’ body as it hung, beaten and battered, on a cross? These are the questions that followers of Jesus, those who looked forward to a Messiah, a Savior, would be asking. It is such a puzzling thing.

    Yet that is only midstream. If we stop there what hope do we have? None; Paul says that his preaching and our faith is in vain if there is no resurrection. Yet we know that God did raise Jesus from the dead. It seemed as if all sense of hope had to die in order for God to triumph.

    Monday, 21 May 2007

    Joyful Dancing

    "You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy." Psalm 30: 11 (NLT)

    I want to share about my journey from mourning to joyful dancing. If this situation had not happened I don't know if I would have pursued dance in worship. I have longed to use dance in worship for years. I had taken dance in my youth and had briefly been a part of a dance group in a Christian setting. It was after viewing a worship DVD by Brian Doerksen that featured women dancing in worship that the dream or desire to dance was rekindled. I know that I have been created to dance. It is such a natural expression of worship for me.

    I had emailed a dance teacher, who attends my church, stating my desire to participate in an adult worship dance. She later said that she was a part of an adult Christian dance group and they wanted to teach others how to use dance in worship through workshops. The first workshop was Messianic music and dance. The second workshop featured banners, ribbons & scarves. I felt that using these allowed me to give expression to what I was feeling inside. I was invited to join with a few women to dance a Messianic style dance for the Christmas Eve service at our church. We danced to "The Promise" by Michael Card.

    After the Christmas season I was talking with two of the dancers from our church. One of them mentioned about the possibility of me taking ballet lessons. She said that it is evident that I have a call to dance on my life and that I have a gift to express myself in dance. She said an example was when I would suggest moves during practices. She said that I come alive when I dance or talk about it. I said that dance allows me to express outwardly what I feel inside. She said that taking lessons would be like a sharpening tool. I was given information about a local dance school and I decided to enroll. I had my first dance class and it went well. Someone said that she could tell I must have had previous experience. I have continued with my ballet lessons and I will be attending a worship dance conference in the summer.

    I recently had the opportunity to dance at my church. We had a guest speaker teach about the Passover meal and the Jewish Seder. I joined with three other ladies to dance to a medley of Messianic style songs. We did Messianic style folk dances. I really enjoyed worshipping the Lord this way. Others told me that I looked natural doing it, which blessed me since we had only choreographed it the evening before! I have been invited, with an number of others, to join with the dance group to dance to a worship song at a special 3 hour artistic worship service in the summer.

    "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:... a time to weep and a time to laugh, and a time to mourn and a time to dance." Ecc. 3:1, 4 (NIV)

    Thankfully the time to mourn has now passed and I am in a time to dance.

    Saturday, 19 May 2007

    Beauty For Ashes

    "The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor." Isaiah 61: 1 - 3 (NIV)

    The Lord has given me beauty for the ashes of my past. I previously wrote how the Lord had restored my vineyards while I was in my own "Valley of Achor". I want to share a specific way that God gave me beauty for ashes in this season of my life.

    In the autumn of 2004 I took a Bridging Course for Women sponsored by Women's Studies at York University. I had seen this course advertised a year previously, but it was on an evening that I was actively involved in an intercessory prayer group. When my world fell apart and I was left with ashes I needed something to distract me from the temptation to indulge in self-pity. I again saw an advertisement for the Bridging Program and it was taking place in my hometown on a Tuesday evening. I knew that I didn't have any excuses as to why I could not take part.

    Part of the requirements for this course were written assignments, including an essay. The Lord blessed me and I received favorable marks. I even had the opportunity to share a bit about my faith in Jesus. This was definitely a stretching experience since I had not been in school for many years. I did not pursue a university education, but the experience of taking this course and doing so well gave me confidence to step out into other areas as well.

    In January of 2006 the professor who taught the Bridging Program emailed me with a request for me to submit a personal essay about my experience in the Bridging Program. It was the 25th Anniversary of the Bridging Program for Women at York University and they were publishing a book to commemorate it. I was one of thirty-six Bridging students who were chosen from about 1500 to contribute a personal essay.

    God continued to show His timing and plan for my life when the book launch and the anniversary celebration occurred in May of 2006. I was involved in a Bible Study by Beth Moore called Breaking Free. We studied the chapter that was titled Beauty For Ashes the week immediately after the anniversary celebration at York University, where I had received a copy of the book. I could now say that I was published! I shared this news with some of the women at two Bible studies that I was involved in and they rejoiced with me. I attended my first Christian writers' group, which was in that same week. I shared with those present about me taking the Bridging Course and the study on Beauty for Ashes; I then read my essay to them. After they clapped! I was in awe of God's timing and blessings.

    Friday, 11 May 2007

    Songs From The Heart

    I have updated my profile and added some of my favourite songwriters , including my husband, Dan. The Lord has blessed Dan with the ability to write songs that flow from the heart of God toward His children and from the hearts of His children to God. There were two songs that Dan wrote at the beginning of my season of trouble that have been very instrumental in the healing process. The first song, I Am Your Rock is from God's perspective, while the second song, Your Love Sustains Me is from our hearts toward God. There were times when the pain was so intense that all I could do was lie on the floor or couch and Dan would sing these and other songs over me. Dan was being "God in the flesh" for me. It is our desire that the Lord would minister to others through these songs as well.

    I Am Your Rock (song by Dan Antonio - September 7,2004)
    I have heard the cry of your heart
    I have felt your pain
    I've not hidden my face from you
    By your side I remain

    When your world comes crashing down
    In the times of brokenness
    Lift up your eyes to Me
    I Am your Rock, I Am your Rest

    Rest in My love, that's what you need
    Take time, and come to me
    My love is enough
    It's your greatest need
    So come rest, come rest, be still

    I Am your Rock, I Am your Rest
    I Am your Peace in the storm
    I Am your Rock

    My love is unfailing toward you
    My love covers you
    I will not abandon you
    My love will see you through

    Your Love Sustains Me ( song by Dan Antonio - September 20, 2004)

    Oh Lord my God
    You are Faithful
    You comfort me
    In all my troubles
    Your love to me
    Sustains me
    I will not forget
    That You are with me

    A broken and contrite heart
    You will not despise
    A heart after your own heart
    Is your desire

    Lord You are strong
    And I am weak
    Let grace pour out
    Like waters upon me
    I need Your touch
    To heal and restore me
    I need you now
    To love and to hold me

    "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)

    "You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance." Psalm 32:7 (NIV)

    Wednesday, 9 May 2007

    Pondering "Philippians" - IV

    Philippians 2: 3-8

    "Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all." Philippians 2:5,6 (MSG)

    The only way that we can even begin to think of ourselves the way Jesus thought of himself is by knowing and believing who we are in Christ. Jesus never put Himself down through disparaging remarks, but instead He was fully confident of His position in being One with the Father. So too we can be confident and have a proper perspective of our position in being united with Christ. We are only able to serve others and consider them better than ourselves when we know and believe all that Jesus has done for us in dying in our place. When we are aware of the depth of our sins and the great sacrifice that it cost Jesus in giving His life in our place we will be in a better position to take on the role of a servant.

    Friday, 4 May 2007

    Grappling With Loss

    I have just returned from a mid-week conference,"Unleashing Creativity", at Singing Waters, a Christian retreat centre near Orangeville . I took a writers' workshop as one of my options. In talking with the facilitator I agreed to revisit Hosea 2:14,15 and attempt to write from my experience. The following is what resulted from that exercise.

    I felt as though God had tricked me. I know that He isn't treacherous and He always does what is good and right. I thought He was going to bless me and bring me to a place of greater blessing. He was speaking words of hope; words of promise. I thought that now would be the time of fulfillment. After all why would God promise such great things to me if He was only going to lead me into a time of hardship? It seemed like a false promise, much like Hollywood or advertising holds out. It was like grasping for something, only to discover that it was a hologram and not the real thing.

    He was so convincing; all signs pointed to the soon fulfillment of the prophetic words. They didn't originate in my heart and mind, but in the heart of God. I was so sure that they were true. But how could I reconcile those words of life with the death that surrounded me? The stench of death was almost unbearable. It seemed as if everything was destroyed. It happened so suddenly, without warning. It was like a fire that quickly starts and suddenly it is raging out of control and it destroys everything in its path. How did this destruction fit in with the plan of a loving God? How could I reconcile this great loss with the past promises?

    Yet when I listened I could hear God speaking to me. He had not changed. His words were still full of love, concern, and compassion. God's love for me never diminished. Instead I was able to hear Him more clearly because there were no distractions. I was still standing because God was with me.As the awareness of God's abiding presence grew more clearly I was able to experience the new things that lay before me. I needed to keep walking; to keep moving forward or else I would be defeated. I had to continue on.

    As I branched out into the new areas that opened up to me I felt at home. It was like riding a bicycle after many years- it comes back to you naturally. It might be a bit awkward at first, but then you settle into a natural rhythm.

    I had been limiting God to my understanding of His words to me. I thought He was going to bring me to a new level of fruitfulness the easy way. I didn't know that the pruning would be so deep and so severe. It is like a bush that is cut back until it almost looks dead; and then in the spring there is new life and the bush is healthier than before. That was what God was intending for my life as well. He knew that I would not be as fruitful or able to be used as powerfully if I wasn't brought to the desert place. It is through the experiences there that I have gotten stronger. It is not my strength, but His strength flowing through me.

    Tuesday, 17 April 2007

    The Door of Hope

    This is a journal entry from February 2, 2007:
    [I awoke this morning with the phrase "The Valley of Achor is a door of hope". It kept repeating in my mind. I looked up the passage in Hosea where it speaks about this.

    "Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her, there I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt." Hosea 2:14, 15 (NIV)

    What stood out to me from reading this passage is that God restores her vineyards while she is in the desert. The word achor means trouble. The Valley of Achor is turned into a place of hope. I was a person without hope. I had lost many vineyards. I was led into a time or season of trouble. Yet in the midst of that trouble God has been speaking tenderly to me. ]

    It is interesting to look back over the past two years of my life in light of this passage in Hosea. I found myself in a Valley of Achor that appeared to be a desert. Many of the activities that I had been involved in on a regular basis were no longer a part of my life. It felt as if all was stripped away and there was no hope to be seen. Yet that is the place that has become the haven of healing and wholeness where God began to restore my vineyards.

    When I came to faith in Jesus as a young teenager I had a life of promise ahead of me. I was in a young peoples' choir that put on Gilbert & Sullivan operettas and I was a cast member in "The Mikado". I had been taking dance lessons and I even took part in a Messianic-style liturgical dance group. I did well in school and I was contemplating going on to university. I had spent a summer in France on an immersion course and I was proficient in French. I took a Creative Writing Course in my last year of high school. I also took an active role in my school's ISCF group. For all intents and purposes my life did look promising. My life plans got derailed and I even began sacrificing my individuality and adopted a life of conformity to an imposed norm of Christian behavior that was legalistic in nature.

    A door is something that one goes through to get from one place to the next. Faith has been described as a quality that goes through something in order to receive the promise on the other side of the trouble. God led me to various doors of opportunity to walk through; and in the process of walking through God has given me back my vineyards. It is never too late to rekindle lost dreams. They may not be revived in their original forms, but the seed is still present. As I have walked through those doors I have flourished and I have been given a hope that will not be deferred.

    Tuesday, 10 April 2007

    A Passionate Love

    God is jealous for my love and He won't tolerate any rivals for my affection, trust or devotion. God is passionate about me. He wants me for Himself. My hope, confidence and trust must be in Him and not in myself; or in any other person. God is the Lover of my soul. He knows me intimately and He loves me ardently. He has been pursuing me; blocking me from finding true satisfaction in others.

    The reason I love to worship God is because that is a way I tell God I love Him. As I was singing "I Love You, Lord" the thought came to me that it was like spiritual lovemaking. I am yielding myself to God because I love Him. I will allow God to demonstrate His love for me in whatever way He desires because I can trust that God is not going to harm me. Just as I can give myself to my husband and not be ashamed or worry about the flaws of my physical body, so too I can give myself to God and not be ashamed or worry about the spiritual flaws of my spirit or soul. I am being open and vulnerable just as I am in the conjugal lovemaking. Now I understand why the old High Anglican marriage vows says "with my body I thee worship". I understand now why it is said "that to worship is to kiss". It is the intimacy involved in expressing love for God just as we express intimate love for our mates by kissing them on the lips.

    God spoke to my heart that He loves me and He brought me to that place of brokenness for me to know that I cannot earn God's love. Nothing I can do can make God love me more; nor can it make God love me less. I am secure in God's love for me.

    Saturday, 7 April 2007

    God Wants To Reveal Himself

    I am seeing that God places His servants in situations where only God can save; help; restore; preserve. God wants to show His power; to reveal His glory through His people. God is searching for those whose hearts are fully devoted to Him. He is longing to show His power, strength, and might through their lives. God places people in extraordinary circumstances where their own resources cannot save them in order to show Himself strong on their behalf.

    I had a picture of me in the hot sun in a desert place. I thought I was all alone yet God had sent me to that place so I could know Him as my shelter; my fortress; my refuge; my strength; my comfort; my protector; all the ways that He has revealed Himself to me over these past months. I wouldn't have known God in the same way, or as intimately, had I not been in that place. I then saw a giant hand shelter me from the sun, creating a shadow. I saw the hand shielding me from predators. I also sensed that I laid back into the hand to rest and to sleep.

    "The Lord watches over you- the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm - he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore." Psalm 121: 5- 8 (NIV)

    Tuesday, 3 April 2007

    Pondering "Philippians" - III

    Philippians 2: 1,2

    "If you have any encouragement ..., any comfort ..., any fellowship ..., any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose." Phil. 2: 1,2 (NIV)

    It is easy to gloss over verse one and read it as if we need to have these qualities in ourselves; something that we somehow attain through our own efforts. When we stop and take a closer look at verse one we see the source and means of obtaining these qualities. When we know our position in Christ, that we are united with Him, we can partake of the "comfort from his love ... tenderness and compassion". It is only as we receive God's love for us that we can then share that love with others. When we are secure in our position as a child of God we will be united with others who are also secure in their relationship with God. The Holy Spirit is the uniting force and not our own efforts. It is His mind, love, spirit and purpose that we want to have in common with other believers.

    Friday, 30 March 2007

    Spiritual Makeover

    The following is what I had written in my journal in September of 2005. I am posting it now because it is still true today. As God leads I will post other entries. It is my desire that they will bring hope to others and bring glory to God:

    "What came to me was - I am having a spiritual and emotional makeover. The Holy Spirit is my "life coach". I have had attitudes, actions and thoughts transformed. I have had, and am having, new interests introduced into my life, or former interests restored in a new way. I cannot change myself in my own power, strength and ability. I can only lean on God; submit myself to God; trust in God and obey God. Then God will change me; God has been changing me. This work is in areas that had deep-rooted strongholds; areas that were holdouts - not submitted or surrendered to God, but rather under my control. In reality these areas had control of me or direct influence. The major area that God has been working on is self-reliance. I cannot rely on myself any longer. I am totally dependent upon God. I know that I am also reaping the benefits - a closer walk with God; better relationships with others; a deeper satisfaction in who I am."

    "Some things God impressed upon me:
    • I am not to identify my life by negatives; who I am not, but rather who I am in Christ.
    • I am not to look at external, temporary placements, but rather where I am already eternally - seated with Christ in the heavenlies.
    • I am content because I am found in Jesus, not having my own righteousness, but having the righteousness of Christ.
    • I am not to look to others for their approval, but rather I am to look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith."

    Tuesday, 20 March 2007

    Pondering "Philippians" - II

    Philippians 1: 7-11

    "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God."(Phil. 1: 9-11 NIV)

    Agape love is not something we can work up. It is not a "feel good" type of love that is dependent on the one receiving the love, or the one expressing the love. Agape love is a fruit of the Spirit, which can only be expressed when we are abiding in Jesus. When we spend time with God in prayer - both speaking and listening - we are able to tap into the source of this love. We gain insight and understanding in how to better serve one another. We desire to serve others for God's glory and not our own. This agape love is overflowing and we need to share it with others. We cannot contain it, we want to give it away. When we are secure in Christ we don't need to worry about others' reactions, for God is the One who will reward us.

    Monday, 19 March 2007

    Pondering "Philippians" - I

    Philippians 1: 1-6

    "And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again." (Phil. 1:6 NLT)

    Sometimes it is easy to become discouraged and think that nothing is happening; that God has given up on us. Not that He would forsake us, but that we have blown it and now He will no longer use us. Philippians 1:6 gives us the assurance that God will continue the work that He has begun in us. The fact that we cry out to Him and seek to obey Him is evidence of His work. The ability to continue on, doing the things that God has called us to do - reading His Word; praying; fellowshipping with other believers; dying to self; loving others- are a result of God's Spirit working in us. God gives us the desire to obey Him in these areas and He gives us the ability to follow through.

    "For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey him and the power to do what pleases him." (Phil. 2: 13 NLT)

    Thank you that You do not give up on me. Thank you for Your Word which gives me confidence to continue.
    In Jesus' name.

    Thursday, 22 February 2007

    Every Idle Word

    argos - inactive, ie. unemployed; (by implication) lazy, useless: - barren, idle, slow
    (Abingdon's Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of The Bible)

    Everyday we use words. There is not a day that goes by that we don't utter at least one or two words; even if it is only to say,"I'm sick". We have a storehouse of words from which we draw upon. Sometimes we are lazy and grab the first word that comes to mind without considering the ramifications; we want to get our point across. There might be a time pressure in that we have to respond quickly. Sometimes we don't really care about the matter before us so we answer in a way that doesn't bring life to the hearer. In doing this we have robbed not only our hearers, but ourselves of a blessing. When we choose our words with care they will not be "barren".

    "From the fruit of his lips a man enjoys good things, but the unfaithful have a craving for violence. He who guards his lips guards his life; but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin."(Proverbs 13: 2, 3 NIV)

    "From the fruit of his mouth a man's stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." (Proverbs 18: 20, 21 NIV)
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