Walking Dead – the New Little House on the Prairie?

I remember reading “Night” by Elie Wiesel around the same time our eldest daughter was expecting their first child. If you haven’t read it, you should.

Had I known how disturbing the book was I probably would have set it aside for another season. The reason being, there is a chapter that describes Jewish babies being murdered. That being said the Holocaust happened, and I wanted to remember for those who lost their lives. I wanted to read it, so I could be a better person. I whispered a prayer of gratitude, that the world in which I lived was not in the grips of evil as it was then, or is it?

When we brought our babies home from the hospital I was in awe, at the overwhelming privilege of nurturing a new life, but mostly I was in awe with God, and why he would entrust us to such a sacred opportunity.

As our vehicle got closer and closer to our children’s home, I tried to imagine what it was going to be like when I looked into my grand-daughter’s eyes for the first time, and when she looked back at me. Nothing can prepare you for what takes place. It’s like the beginning of time starting all over again inside of you, and it swells, and swells until you think you might explode into a new universe. And in some ways that is exactly what happens. Not even the stars look the same.

Today I wonder why we’re doing all we can to snuff life out? Have we progressed since the holocaust, or are we getting better at justifying death?

We weep with families who have lost loved ones in shooting rampages across America. A few days go by, and we go to the movies and watch our heroes shoot up the screen, and tell ourselves we are in no way applauding violence.

We weep, on a cold Monday morning, driving to work as we hear the news about those who have lost loved ones in wars outside our borders. After work we tromp down to the television, and tune into more war, only in the form of a cop show, or a navy seal drama, and our sensitive souls are fed what exactly?

We’ve gotten so use to justifying the story, and the spilled blood that we don’t see the person anymore. Reality and pretend are no longer blurred, they share the same time slot. “Walking Dead” in the near future will be the new “Little House on the Prairie” -guaranteed.

At some point in time something has got to change, and we can start by talking about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We Are Almost Home

We didn’t meet by chance. I was in the middle of middle age, hosting a dinner for single parents, and he was in the middle of raising two kids on his own, in search of a break. Through a period of time, of questions and prayers, he chose to believe in Christ.

I always want to do more, but there is a distance between us which prevents a closer relationship. We live in different cities. His children are younger, our children are older. We do get together once and awhile, but once and a while is not enough.

More often than not God brings us together at just the right time, and I am so thankful for that.

We’ve had our talks about church and the importance of surrounding yourself in God’s family for growth and support. It has been painful watching many of my new believer friends struggle to find a place where they feel they belong.

Meanwhile there are those friends who have believed for a long time, and don’t anymore. I guess it is the way I’m wired, but it hurts every time I see someone just give up, or walk away. I’m not angry, but I wonder all the time, pray and ponder about why some dig deeper, and others just quit. Cause it’s not about just quitting on a club, or the gym, it is about quitting on “the friend that sticks closer than a brother” (Prov. 18:24). It is about breaking promises. It is about “forgetting our first love” (Rev. 2:4). It’s about missing out on giving your children the best you can give (Deut. 11:19-21).

I’ve long since stopped accepting excuses. My friend’s life has been very difficult, but life is hard. And no one knows that better than Jesus.

God knows we need each other to run the race of faith together. We can’t do it it without Him, and we can’t do it without one another. Somehow we have got to come together, and isn’t that what church is all about?

 

 

Our friend came to visit this week, and we were delighted to have lunch together. It didn’t take long for me to hear that compromise had come to call. I appreciated his honesty, that way I know how to pray, but I felt a sadness creep over me. I went home and prayed at the piano –

“We Are Almost Home”

It’s not as if we met by accident, God knows when – a heart is ready. I wonder just how many times He’s prayed, hey – to get us where we are today?

I’de be the last one to ridicule your life, but I’ll be the first to sound alarmed. If you forget what He said, and tell Him it’s too hard.

He said, I’ll never leave you or forsake you. No child of mine is left alone. Don’t let the voices confuse you. We are almost home.

The secret’s not about what we can do, that’s the truth – grace is hard to handle. Patience has to be His middle name, hey – He believes that we can change.

You’d be the last to adjudicate my life, but please be the first to take my arm, if I forget what He did, and tell Him it’s too hard.

He said, I’ll never leave you or forsake you. No child of mine is left alone. Don’t let the voices confuse you, we are almost home.

©December 31st, 2015

DON’T GIVE UP – WE ARE ALMOST HOME

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sacrificial Offerings

Usually every church you go to has a certain way of doing things, a structure to the service. Our church always has someone present special music while the offering plate is passed, but there are many sacrificial offerings going on in a service simultaneously. You need only be still and sensitive to the Spirit to see them.

This past Sunday a lovely woman got up to sing “Breath of Heaven”, which tells the story of the mother of Jesus. Even when the Christmas story gets clouded, most people know Mary was a young person with a scandal to deal with. She accepted her sacrificial call stoically, only to lose her son years later at the hands of an angry mob. She gave birth never really knowing the full extent of what her sacrifice would be.

I closed my eyes and and prayed for our friend who was singing, and the tears began to roll down my cheeks when the lyrics came “breath of heaven hold me together”, because I remembered how the vocalist lost her son years ago. Jesse would have been in his early twenties today.

Once the service concluded I found my eyes drift over to the far left of the church, to the front pew. There I saw another woman sit down to ready herself for prayer in case anyone needed to come to the front and pray. She too had lost a son years ago. Shane was a father at the time of his death, leaving a wife and three children behind.

I marveled at these women, and their sacrificial offerings, pressing on in faith despite their broken hearts, and the fact there will be missing family members at their Christmas table.

Thank you for being real, courageous and faithful, Bonnie and Val. Please know that there are people watching and learning from your example, and people praying for your strength as you continue the journey of faith God has called you to finish.

May the family of God hold one another together in Christ’s sacrificial offering of love, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, as we look forward to a family reunion one day in heaven.

Merry Christmas!

Cindy

 

 

God is Near

Merry Christmas to our friends, and our family. The video below is to remind us all of how Immanuel came to be with us. The message also helps us to strive to be instruments of Christ’s love, to think of others before our own needs.baby jesus

Our economy, new government, and tragic world news threaten our hearts with fear, but remember God never changes, and HE IS NEAR. He is no stranger to what is happening around us, and He is still in control.

Matthew 1:23

From Lloyd and Cindy Palin and family

God is Near Lullaby

images are from http://www.heritagemakers.com

Mercy and the Magi

If you are use to hearing history presented the same way year after year, it is very plausible you may miss the mystery, and the wonder, and the MERCY.

The account of the wisemen for example:

While discussing the Magi with my small children one Christmas, I was astounded to hear our middle child question whether there were just three of them. How did we know for sure? If such an amazing King had just been born, perhaps there were many more wisemen, too many to find enough camels to ride?

“Maybe they had to take a bus?” he suggested.

As I was reading in Matthew, and my corresponding class notes for 103 Gospels with Briercrest Seminary and College, I was struck by something I have been taking for granted for years, since Sunday School even.

We are so use to hearing about the wisemen seeing the star, that we forget to realize what an act of mercy it was, that God would get the attention of foreigners about the birth of his son – amazing!

We learn in the Bible that Jesus came for the Jews first. Yet, his own people were not excited about his birth, or what his Kingship meant.

We also learn that  his plan of salvation includes the Gentiles. Right from the beginning of Christ’s life God was inviting other nations to be part of his merciful plan. Even before Christ was born God was setting the stage, as he merciful made room for Gentile believers within Christ’s lineage.

The wisemen knew Jesus was a King, and they travelled far to worship him.

I can see now God was calling me as well, the night the Magi saw the star. This Christmas season as well as all year round, I want to run to him each morning, and marvel at him and acknowledge him as King, as exemplified by the three wisemen.

Thank you Jesus for including this Gentile in your merciful plan.