The “Bad Guy”

Once upon a time there was a little family. They weren’t sure how to do life, but like all families – tried to do their best. As the family grew up the mom, and dad realized there were a whole lot of things they could be doing better, and they discussed working together towards common goals, so their children could do the same. However, the one parent who always spoke up, was still the same parent that spoke up. The other parent who was always quiet, was still the same parent who was always quiet. This doesn’t seem like such a bad thing, but eventually the outspoken person became the “bad guy”.

The problem with the “bad guy” scenario is that there isn’t one “bad guy”,  there’s two, the one who wears the label, and the other one who lets it happen.

The good news is, this little family didn’t stop talking. This mom, and dad didn’t stop trying to work towards common goals so their children could do the same. Eventually both parents found their “together” voice and decided to wear the “bad guy” label together, and proudly, because suffering for saying the right thing is the best kind of pain there is.

Remember parents, you are your children’s parents, not their buddies. Always speak the truth in love, regardless of the response, and pray more than you eat, drink and sleep.

To God be the glory

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come and Make it Well

In the summer of 2000 I sat down at the piano and penned a plea for God to “Come and Make it Well.” I had questioned my faith and was ashamed. As I wrote I was reminded of a famous hymn “It Is Well With My Soul”, and the writer’s faith amidst the horrific loss of his children. With my lyrical confession complete, my hands began to play the old hymn in response, then back to an ending of my own, where forgiveness embraces the faint of heart.

Make It Well With My Soul

Come O sting of shame for questioning my faith, the penitence has flown.

Tears of salt must pour on the valley floor, for repentance to swell in my soul.

To think you’d ever find me here, sinking in these wounds of fear,

but you know my frame – O God.

Somewhere near my heart, where you won the war a thousand years ago.

False accusers came and built the walls again, but as if you didn’t know,

Come and make it well with my soul.

Make it well with my soul, make it well with my soul.

Make it well, make it well with my soul.

*Insert verse one and chorus of “It Is Well With My Soul”.

Run forgiveness run, down the drawbridge comes,

for your Spirit to dwell in my soul. ©Cindy Palin/2000

You can read about Horatio Spafford’s story, lyricist of “It Is Well With My Soul”, at

www.sharefaith.com

 

 

 

Pet Peeves at Christmas

A few discussions this December has me sharing a list of my pet peeves, they are more ridiculous than they are frustrating, I know our culture leaves much to be desired especially around this time of year.

  1. The Chevrolet commercial where an actress says in a mono-tone,”that’s the dream to have wifi in the car”. Apparently I am not the only one who is peeved, you can’t even find the commercial on youtube anymore, so many people have complained about this so called “dream”. In my search to find the commercial in order to leave you a link I saw one person tweet: “we have to dream bigger”. Amen to that. What made the commercial worth watching was our hysterical attempt to mimic the actress.
  2. Alien vs Predator Ad for the 12 Days of Spacemas, really thought this was funny more than aggravating, especially watching the two arch-enemies seated on civilized couches gawking at the neck ties in their hands, wondering what they were for?  Couldn’t find this link either…hmmmm.
  3. Talking with my wise nephew the other day with regards to how Star Wars has taken over Christmas brought my attention to this next pet peeve…..apparently we are more excited about the “force” than we are about the real power which is found in the most wonderful name “Jesus”. No hand phasers necessary folks, just the name of Jesus (spoken in reverence of course). Now that’s power.
  4. All the sappy Christmas movies, emphasis on ALL……if we were take the money spent on “spinning a love story”, and give it to those in need, we’d see love at work, and change happening before our eyes. That being said there are a few of them that have a good storyline, but very few, and there are millions starving. We should be striving for excellence.
  5. The complaining about refugees…. opening our country to refugees is more than a risk, it is necessary, and mandatory, otherwise we simply are not human. I’d rather die loving than leave someone die.

Merry Christmas everyone, and may the love of Jesus truly change us.

Cindy

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

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Together We Take the High Road

Why are so many believers dropping out of the faith race?

This morning I awoke in my brother-n-law’s house to find the Tour de Spain on television. I’ve never liked watching those races because you cannot simply watch it. You experience it, and it transports you to a very uncomfortable place.

The first few seconds are dedicated to your brain telling you, you are watching a race. Next a light bulb realization – man is one with the machine. Then your legs begin to twitch. You can almost feel the cyclists’ quadriceps screaming. You sit further on the edge of your seat, and your tailbone sympathetically winces. The television camera zooms into the competitor’s faces for a close up, and your lips involuntarily purse and blow, draw in and exhale. The camera spans out to reveal the treacherous mountain road spiraling up ahead. Your eyes celebrate the splendor while your heart plummets over some ravine, because the incline is too steep. They can’t possibly make it. You see a spectator jump in close, and raise his fist to the sky as he cheers the cyclists onward. You instinctively know the crowds’ applause is what the riders need to hear in order to finish. The lap counter continues to test their limits, and yours, with only one point eight kilometers to go. You can’t take it anymore. One rider begins to weave towards the sidelines. You gasp, and close your eyes. Your hand reaches for the remote to change the channel, and find something less intense.

I don’t know how many times I’ve read Paul say “I’ve fought the good fight, I have finished the race” (2 Timothy 4:7), but today, watching the Tour de Spain – I got it. People are dropping out of the faith race because they’ve forgotten how incredibly hard the race is. Don’t misunderstand me please. There is joy in the race, but it certainly is not without sacrifice.

To say we believe is one thing, but to understand we must be one with our master, is another thing entirely. Jesus is our guide (the rider if you will), and we are the instruments in His hands. Together we take the high road.

A Christ follower enters the race with the understanding training is mandatory, training which parallels that of a professional athlete.

Teamwork is essential for success. No one is to go it alone. We are to run the race as one united mass or body. Not only does the team keep each other accountable, we build each other up, and cheer one another across the finish line, whether that line comes before or after death.

The rigorous regiments of professional athletes are difficult to fathom, especially if you are not one of them. The act of believing in and following Jesus Christ is a mystery, which can only be fully realized with the help of the Holy Spirit, and the truth He so wisely opens up to us through God’s Word, and yes, analogies through the Tour de Spain Cycling Race.

If you are a believer – you are in the race. The clock is ticking. The eternal count down has commenced. And although you might be tempted to change the channel – don’t. The reward is great.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1).”