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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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.

 

 

 

 

A Red Ribbon Rising Up and Wrapping ‘Round the Penitent Man – The Robe

I don’t know the exact moment, when the revelation occurred, but to be aware of this truth everyday is life changing.

You could say I am a visual person. When I heard the song “The Robe” sung by Wes King, years ago, I was given a visual, and a new understanding of what Christ did for me on the cross.

If you are an unbeliever, and aren’t sure you want to read this, hang in there, it’s very cool. And for believers, it is an awesome truth to celebrate.

When Christ died he shed his blood, he died in our place. Often times you might hear expressions like “we’re covered in his blood”, “we’re clothed in His righteousness”.

Isaiah 61:10 tells us “I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

Before Christ we were separated from God because of sin. When Christ died on the cross, his act of sacrifice, his blood, covered those who chose to believe.

When God looks at someone who has accepted Christ as their Savior, he sees someone who is righteous, someone covered in the robe of righteousness, someone he is no longer separated from. We can approach God and talk to him anytime, because of what Christ did. We are his children, we are his bride. We belong to him, and He is our Bridegroom and King.

When I heard the lyrics below I could see Christ’s precious blood flowing from his hands and side, forming a red ribbon, rising up and weaving, and wrapping ’round the penitent man.

The Robe

Anyone whose heart is cold and lonely
Anyone who can’t believe
Anyone whose hands are worn and empty
Come as you are

Anyone whose feet are tired of walking
And even lost their will to run
There is a place of rest for your aching soul
Come as you are

For the robe is of God
That will clothe your nakedness
And the robe is His grace
It’s all you need
Come as you are

Anyone who feels that they’re unworthy
Anyone whose just afraid
Come sinner, come and receive His mercy
Come as you are

©Wes King

The Robe music video

As Wes puts it, the robe will “clothe our nakedness.” This gives me a picture of my loneliness, my emptiness and shame before I chose to believe, before I was clothed in his righteousness.

Wes continues, “the robe is His grace, and it’s all you need, come as you are.” He fashioned this robe for us not because of anything we did, but because of his love for us. We don’t deserve it, but he extends this robe to us anyway. Once we choose to accept it, reach out and take it and put him on, we are forgiven. We are at peace, we hear our purpose and meaning whispered on the wind of the Holy Spirit. There is joy!

How many believers today truly grasp that Christ is all we need?

I love how Paul tells us in Romans 13:14, that we are to “clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.”

Believer, when you wake up today, put on that robe. When you fall or stumble, remember you are covered. Repent and press on, in your royal robe of righteousness.

And those of you who are choosing to believe just now – He is all you will ever need from here on. Find a fellow believer who can read and study the Bible with you.

When We Choose Love (in memory of Kayla and….)

W020080520589007879218I was in an uber taxi in Washington D.C. when I heard of Kayla’s death.  I did my best to find a news clip or paper to read about who she was, and how and why she died.

When I got home from our trip of visiting our son, I stayed in my pyjamas all day long and wrote and recorded this song in memory of Kayla (whom I don’t know personally), and all the others who readily give their lives on the battle front, for the innocent.

 

 

When We Choose Love – by Cindy Palin ©February 15th, 2015

Everyone has heard your name, your cruel claims to fame

Can’t hold a candle to, the lights who dare defy you

Headlines used to fuel your fear, intimidation’s here

But when the body dies, love cannot help to shine brighter

I am unafraid to leave this place, at the hands of those who choose to hate

The blood of innocents has seen enough – to know that life is lived when we choose Love.

Underneath the battle cries, something louder comes to life

The power of a prayer, the victory is here

You can draw the border lines, emancipation’s mine

‘Cause when the body dies, love cannot help but shine brighter

I am unafraid to leave this place, at the hands of those who choose to hate

The blood of innocents has seen enough – to know that life is lived when we choose love.

 

 

A Mystery Miracle of Love – the soldier, the preacher, the prayer.

Last night I had to sleep on the couch propped up with pillows, because I am getting a bad cold.  I fell asleep rather quickly only to wake up in the middle of the night to a song lyric running through my heart “Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world”, which is actually from 1 John 4:4. I took that as a signal from the Lord, to pray for my children.

There have been nights where I’ve been in a worried state, but last night was different. Very peacefully I whispered each of their names to Jesus, in faith – that He would accomplish, and complete what he began in them.

Then a strange realization came to me, a memory from the past.  There was an elderly man, and his wife that came over from England and moved in across the street from us.  He told me one afternoon over tea that he and his wife prayed for our children regularly. I could see the snow that day, and the window they looked out that framed our front yard, where our children played.   He told me of when he was a soldier.  He took messages to the front lines in World War II.

Suddenly, propped up in the dark, in the middle of the night, in a small humble living room, I felt like royalty.  I felt so loved, that God would choose to put my children’s well-being, on the heart of a soldier and his wife.

Just as soon as I had thanked God for that memory, another couple came to mind. The man had told me of how when he was a teenager, he agreed to take his mother to an evangelical tent meeting, and there he accepted Christ.  He had been part of a gang and was in deep trouble, but once he accepted Christ his life was changed. He grew up to be a preacher and fell in love with a nurse who originally came from Canada.  She was in love with him too, but felt called to Africa. He followed her to Africa, where they married.  Eventually they moved to Canada, near my hometown.  One night they went to a banquet at a country school and saw one of my children’s names on a book mark at their place setting.  From that time on, nearly twelve years ago, they began praying for my son everyday.

There in the dark I saw an ancient yellowed map of England.  My husband’s grandparents came from England, and a red dot appeared.  My mother’s Grandmother came from England, another red dot appeared.  I wasn’t sure of my father’s ancestry, but know that his name, (my maiden name) – is English and means shelter.  I could see red dots all over the map, representing families, strangers unaware of the other, and yet through accepting Christ, over time, across an ocean, through a window, at a table, spirits converged.

“What a heritage we have through you O Lord” I whispered.  “Who am I that You are mindful of me, and my children?” I asked him in the dark.

As I chose to pray for my children in faith, He chose to show me His handiwork, and how He too pursues them, and prays for them.  And it isn’t that he needs to use us to accomplish His will.  He could accomplish what He wants on his own, but he involves us in one big mystery miracle of love. I saw His love in the middle of the night, the soldier, the preacher, the prayer.

The map faded, my breathing became louder, and my eyelids grew heavy again.  Sleep returned, but not before I whispered “You are great indeed O Lord!”

To Bind up the Brokenhearted

This past week while preparing songs for the second Sunday of advent, I couldn’t help but feel inadequate.  Yes, those feelings hound us all from time to time.  My thoughts kept drifting to extended family situations, those which happened long ago, and some more recent, even though I was rehearsing words like….

“Come thou long-expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free”

Sunday came and our worship practice was rushed.  Some of us had arrived late due to freezing rain the night before. Everything had been frozen over with a thick sheet of ice.  My entire vehicle was imprisoned in a hard glossy shell. As I yanked on the handle to try to open the door I heard….

“From our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in Thee”

My husband was away, and I sat alone near the front.  As the church filled for the first service I kept wondering, “why God, would you want to have anything to do with someone as weak as I?

“Israel’s strength and consolation, Hope of all the earth Thou art”

In the middle of a song I looked out and saw a friend, who had just returned to town from her Mother’s passing.  I had wanted to have her over for dinner right after she arrived home, but the time had slipped away. Another song and another face, a man who had  said goodbye to his wife last Christmas, due to a sudden serious illness.  “I need you” my heart cried.  “We need you”.

“Dear Desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart”

In between services I spied a new friend and slid into the pew beside her.  I had remembered she had told me something in passing – months ago, and It kept ringing in my ears.  I sat down and cautiously asked if I could inquire about her health.  She graciously shared about her illness and the necessary medications required. She went on to tell me a bit about her family and where she came from.

“Thank you for coming Jesus” I whispered under my breath, for taking on human form and walking among us to feel our pain”.  For sacrificing your life  in order to release us from the icy grip of despair and death. You alone, are our strength, and hope!  As we celebrate your birth in a manger, and long for your return –  may You be our desire and our joy!

 

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives” (Isaiah 61:1).

Lyrics from “Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus” Text: Charles Wesley, Music: Rowland H. Prchard, Arranged by:  Robert Harkness