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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shopping with HEART and making SMART choices at Christmas Time.

Shopping with HEART and making SMART choices at CHRISTMAS time.

  1. Make your large purchases with small business, and your small purchases at big box stores. That way you are spreading the love around where it is needed the most.
  2. Buy second hand for yourself when you can, and treat yourself to a brand name product once a year (if you absolutely have to).
  3. Write and wrap gift notes for others, and then buy the actual product after Christmas when it is half the price. The amount saved could be given away to a neighbour, or charity.
  4. Decide to watch programs over the holidays that have zero violence.
  5. Boycott watching anything with guns or shooting.
  6. When you realize that means you can’t watch anything – go outside for a walk or call up a friend, and make a snowman together.
  7. Instead of playing a computer game by yourself, get together with a friend and play a board or dice game.
  8. Shut your phone for off for a whole day, and listen to your family. No cheating.
  9. Instead of giving someone money, give them your time and attention.
  10. Invite someone over for tea and dessert, you don’t always have to cook a fancy menu.
  11. Write a list of people you want to get to know in the New Year, and write an annual intentional date on the calendar.
  12. Support home grown talent by buying their music.
  13. Promote purchases and not pirating.
  14. Smile and make a point of wishing everyone you see a “Merry Christmas” (out loud, and not under your breath).
  15. Make time to look up inspirational vignettes on youtube, like Linus’s recitation about what Christmas is all about.
  16. Set up a nativity scene on Christmas Eve.
  17. Purchase a special Children’s Christmas book each year to read on Christmas Eve, even if all the children are grown up.

Have fun adding to this list. Make it your own. And may we truly strive to uphold what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8 and 9).

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

 

 

The Power of a Decision

Growing up, my mother made sure we got to visit all our relatives on a regular basis. Every once in a while Dad would come too.

I didn’t know it then, but family ties have a great deal to do with how we live our lives, whether it is immediate family or extended. As a youngster I looked up to a lot of cousins, and aunts and uncles, especially those who emulated Christ’s character.

I’ve always wondered what the phrase “family ties” means. At first glance you might visualize all your first and second cousins tied to each other, and to you with one big long invisible thread. Or you may think of the less literal interpretation, the genealogy connection.

Lately I’ve been thinking of “ties” in terms of how our decisions affect the ones we love. Our decisions resemble a rock falling into a pool of water. The circular ripples echo outwardly and touch everyone from our inner circle onward. We forget about how people watch and learn from one another.

I believe that is why Jesus taught us so much about love. If we act out of love for God, for ourselves and others, our ripples are going to create joy, encouragement and generally build one another up (in the faith I hope). If we act out of selfishness our ripples can cause pain, concern and genuine discouragement.

What decisions are you making today that will spur your family on to greatness of character? What choices have you made lately that will strengthen your faith and your family’s?

We cannot hope to be the best we can be for ourselves, and our family without help from God. He gives us grace as we grow, and we must extend that same grace and patience, and prayer generously.

Making sound decisions (based on biblical principles) is a challenge. It is easy to give into status quo.

May I conclude with a sincere warning to those people who are near and dear?

Please watch what you say and do, someone’s future faith depends upon it.

Settling for Shade, When you can Have…

Went for a walk today. I have this favourite trek all mapped out, one that allows me to avoid traffic eighty percent of the time, and disappear into nature while still in town. Thanks to my specific route I can tell you where the deepest purple lilac bush grows, and the bluest blue spruce. I’ve found one of the longest living row of trees that line the north face of a hidden park. Today I needed their shade.

As I made my way home on the last stretch I noticed something different, a piece of nature that wouldn’t have been there a week ago, and won’t be there the next time I round the bend.

One lone pink rose. The unique thing about this rose was how it had its head stuck through a metal fence. It was smiling in full bloom despite its predicament. The metal fence had those plastic inserts which hid the rest of the bush, and the yard in the shade. But this one rose wanted the sun and left everything behind to get it. Everybody else was settling for status quo, but not her.

I think she knows it won’t be long and the wind is going to take a swipe at her petals. Sticking out so far into the unknown is risky, but settling for shade when you can have the Son? There’s nothing like the Son.