We are on a journey, sojourners on this earth. Let us share with you the highs and lows of our lives. Heaven is a sweeter place now that we have two beautiful granddaughters waiting there for us.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Season of Gratitude

The blessing of having family on both sides of the 49th parallel is that we get to not only celebrate Thanksgiving twice, in October in Canada and then again in November down in Texas, but we have over a month to think about all we are thankful for. It creates in our lives a season of gratitude. This week we are in Texas celebrating with our Texans and so it seemed like the perfect time to share some of the things that I am grateful for in this season of my life.

The first one, as always is our family. As you can see from the pictures our entire family was together in late summer. What an incredible time of making memories which we hold very dear! There is much laughter in the walls of our home!

 Having all of our children and grandchildren home provided us with a unique opportunity to get together with my sister and her entire family, which meant that all 15 of my parents great-grandchildren were together for the first time!! Heather is holding the youngest who was sleeping but I did manage to take this picture to remember the moment.

I'm so thankful that my parents are still both alive, and that we have been able to spend some extended time with them this year, due to a couple of funerals and then a health crisis. I took this picture of my mother with her three remaining brothers at my aunt's funeral in early July and then by September we were headed back to Calgary for my oldest uncle's funeral(to the right of my mother on this picture)

I'm thankful that in spite of my debilitating back issues that I can still have a meaningful ministry with our new staff as well as writing devotionals and mentoring others both in person and online. In a season of much sitting and quiet I am grateful that I am still able to impact the lives of others in this way.

And most of all I realize as I have been reflecting on this during these sunny Texas days, I am thankful for the gift of joy that I can choose every day. What an incredible blessing! Regardless of the pain or the physical restrictions my body places on me, every day is a day to be cherished and enjoyed.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Hope That Does Not Disappoint

 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)

She was only 13 years old the day that she was tragically murdered in the rotunda of her high school on a very ordinary school day. Our church and community were struck with her horrific death and we grieved for the loss of one so young.

In the midst of the grief the community and country watched. How would our church and our youth group of whom she was a vibrant member, deal with her senseless death. They were shocked! Because we did not grieve as those who had no hope, because we knew exactly where she was, with her Heavenly Father that she loved and served.

A year has passed since that tragic day and as we looked back on the past year, we all had to agree that our hope had not disappointed. The journey had been difficult, the loss painful, but we had reminded each other that the last words that she and a friend had been writing out were still true today:
         This is Amazing Grace, this is Amazing Love,
That you would take my place, that you would bear my cross,
You laid down your life that I would be set free
Jesus I sing for all you have done for me.

Maybe your family too has suffered loss and grieves for those gone to soon. I know our family has lost three members that we miss but we celebrate that we have a hope that does not disappoint.

 Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you that this life on earth is only temporary and that we have the hope of spending all of eternity with you. Help me to today to remember to live my life in light of that truth regardless of the circumstances I am facing. Amen

Saturday, November 11, 2017

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

John McCrae, May 1915

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Attend to His Presence

 The Lord your God is in your midst; he is a warrior who can deliver. He takes great delight in you; he renews you by his love;
he shouts for joy over you.
Zephaniah 3:17 NET)

It is easy to remember that God loves us and delights in us when all is well with our world, but when our days are filled with emotional or physical pain, our thoughts often go elsewhere. Have you ever found yourself in that place of wondering where God is in all of this?

Several weeks ago our pastor made a statement that has served as a wake-up call to me…I need to acknowledge that God occupies the space between us and let God speak to me. I need to attend to the presence of God….” As I thought about that statement since that day, he brought the above verse to my mind.

God is in fact in the midst of us! Not only is he right here, with me, all around me, but he ‘takes great delight in’ me and as it says in the NIV version, “He will rejoice over you with singing”(NIV vs 17b) God is delighting in me right at this moment, regardless of the circumstances I find myself in. He has promised to “renew me with his love”.

I need to remember that I am not alone, God hasn’t moved and I just need to be still, attend to his presence and listen for his voice. What is it that he wants to do in my life today? He is rejoicing over me so what is my response to that?

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the reminder that not only are you right here in the midst of my life, but I need to attend to your presence. I need to listen to what it is that you want to do in my life, even in this place that I would not have chosen for myself. Thank you that you in fact rejoice over me with singing and I can rest in your love. Amen

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

An Obedience of Faith

“Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, but now is manifested…leading to obedience of faith.” Romans 16: 25,26

How often have you prayed the Lord’s prayer and really thought about the words that you are saying? Are you every tempted to skip over certain phrases? ‘thy will be done’….Really Lord?

What does that really look like? In reading through Romans a phrase captured my mind, ‘an obedience of faith’….“Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and discipleship to bring about the obedience of faith…” Romans 1:4b-5  Paul repeats the same phrase again at the end of the book as if to tell us…remember what this is all about?

When we seek to do God’s will or ask for His will to be done in our lives, are we willing to commit to having an obedience of faith? And what does that look like? A pastor defined it as ‘active trust and loyalty to God’. It’s not just about having an intellectual knowledge or assent to what scriptures say, but it’s active and involves a change in our behaviour and thought. 

For myself, it means that I daily choose to believe that God is still God, He hasn’t changed, He is still in control and He still asks me to be thankful and choose joy regardless of the circumstances that I find myself in or that someone near to be is facing.

How about you? What are you facing today that requires you to walk an obedience of faith?

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the reminder that you require more of me than just an intellectual assent to your existence or a weekly appearance in church. Help me to listen to Your still small voice and then to walk in that obedience of faith, whatever that looks like in the situation in which I find myself. May I actively choose to trust You every day and be loyal to You regardless of the cost. Amen

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

A Servant Heart

 “But select from among you, brethren, seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task(serving)…..and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit…” Acts 6:3-5

We had gathered at a Lake House to spend some extended time together as our church’s small group. During the winter season we met weekly, but for these few days, we enjoyed being together 24/7. As the days went on, I was struck by the servant hearts of these men and women, never expecting others to wait on them, but all willing to serve others, go the extra mile and do whatever task needed doing.

As I sat in my chair looking over the lake, I couldn’t help but think of the verses from Acts 6 where the growing group of believers needed to find specific men who could take care of serving others. The criteria? They had to be ‘seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task(serving) Acts 6:3

Really God? In order to serve others in the body of Christ they had to be full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom? How different from what we often think, that being filled with the Spirit isn’t as important in the lives of the servants as it is in the lives of the leaders. But God’s view is the exact opposite.

Stephen was one such man, full of faith and the Holy Spirit, chosen to serve but also known today as the first martyr for the cause of Christ. May we too be like Stephen today!

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you so much for the tangible reminder of what it truly means to be full of faith and the Holy Spirit, always ready to serve others and not expect to be served myself.  May I remember that in the days ahead as I seek to put this into practice in my own life, the life of my family and my church. Amen

Action Step:
Are you quick to serve others or do you expect others to serve you because of your age or position? This week be mindful of what it means to be full of faith and the Holy Spirit and look for ways to serve others in the body of Christ.

Monday, July 10, 2017

His Plans, Not Mine

 “The Lord will work out his plans for my life – for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.” Psalm 138:8 (NLT)

The news from the surgeon had not been good and to complicate an already difficult situation I would have to wait for the surgery required to deal with the daily pain I was experiencing.  In this instant society that we live in there were no instant answers and so I would have to wait. As I shared the news with friends and family the overwhelming response was ‘Oh that’s terrible!’

And for a few moments I agreed! I had put on a brave front all day but now in the quiet moments before I turned off the light for the night, I opened my bible and my eyes fell on the words I had marked up the night before…. The Lord will work out his plans for my life…. Really Lord? Even now? Even with this new news? ….Yes child, even now.

Nothing had changed. He was still the same God, and He was still sovereign and in control. He had made me and there was nothing that was a surprise to Him, therefore I could depend on Him. He wasn’t going to abandon me because after all, He hade made.

As I read on that night, I read Psalm 139 and it was as if I was reading the words for the first time again. You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am.(vs 3). I was stopping and resting a lot these days but God already knew that and I could trust and depend on Him.

Falling asleep that night my heart was singing and remembering, How precious are your thoughts about me, Oh God! (vs 17a) I knew then that I could trust in His plans, not mine!

Dear Heavenly Father,
Help me to depend on You, regardless of the situation I am facing today or the pain that I am in. May I remember that your promises have not changed and that I need to wait on You as You have told me, to be obedient to Your Word, and to remember always that You are still in control and I can depend on You to do exactly what You promised to do. Amen