Thursday, December 30, 2010

Blessings

As always at this time of year it is the time to remember all that God has done for me (us) by sending his Son Jesus. It is a time to be thankful for the saving grace which God has offered to us by having His Son, Jesus, die for our sins and rise again on the third day. It is the time to look back over the past year and to offer thanks to God for the many blessings which He has provided over the past year.

My Blessings are:

1) God & Jesus

2) My family

3) My church

4) My work

5) My over all health

6) My friends

7) My home

What blessings has God given to you?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Deadline is Looming

Have you ever had a deadline looming before you? One you knew about for quite sometime?

I have discovered that deadlines have a habit of creeping up on you. I tend to think that I have more time than I actually do have. How about you? Have you felt this way about deadlines?

This year we were in our classrooms until December 23. Without the help of my daughter and her boyfriend, as well as my husband, our tree would not have made it up or have been decorated. I was simply too exhausted to do any of it. Most years, we are off the week before Christmas and so I can help get the decorations out but this year it seemed impossible. Keeping it simple was the key for me in handling Christmas this year. We enjoyed a wonderful family time together on Christmas Day and my husband and I felt truly blessed.

As a teacher, I am faced with daily, weekly, monthly and term deadlines. You are also likely faced with them in your career or in your life at home. As a writer and editor, the deadlines are short term and intense.

Within a couple of weeks my husband's thesis is to be completed, including his defense. Two and a half years working on a Masters and his deadline is looming. This is indeed a matter for prayer. We expect that what happens next is for him to be searching for work, however we very much want to follow God's leading in this area.

What's next after the deadline? We shall soon find out. God has given us many examples in our lives of deadlines looming and what's next. The Bible provides us with an unlimited amount as well. As you enjoy your Christmas and New Years with family and friends, pray for God's guidance in your deadlines and what He has in mind for you next, just as we are.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Now is the Time

Now is the time to prepare our hearts for God.
Now is the time to be ready for His plan.
Now is the time to remember the birth of His Son.
Now is the time to let go and let God do His will.


Now is the time to give God complete control of my life.
Now is the time to surrender my will to His.
Now is the time to place complete trust in God's wisdom.
Now is the time to love and forgive.

Now is the time.

With just a couple of weeks remaining in this term my husband has been given permission to complete his thesis. It times well with Christmas approaching but it certainly adds to the busyness.

This year is the first year that we have remained in school until just a couple of days before Christmas. Working until December 23 does make it difficult to get everything done so I will simply do what I can.

Although we do not know yet if there is a job for my husband when his thesis is completed we are committed to keep this as a matter of prayer. We know that God has a plan even though we do not know what the plan is.

Now is the time.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Wisdom

Proverbs 5: 1-2 My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and our lips may preserve knowledge.

This week a couple of friends and I began a study of wisdom, from the book of Proverbs. It involves five days of preparation (devotion) before meeting together to discuss what we have learned, wondered about and perhaps felt some confusion towards.

Our study guide is A Woman of Wisdom, by Dee Brestin, published by David C. Cook. My friends and I are very pleased with this study because we have all been wanting a "dig deep kind of study" and this is proving to be the case. Not only are we delving into scripture but we are taking a look at ourselves. We have learned that wisdom, knowledge and understanding draws us closer in our walk to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The blessings of wisdom not only affect us as believers but also pours out into our everyday lives and our relationships with family, friends and co workers.

Yesterday I read through Proverbs 5 which talks about the adulterous woman and one's wife. On page 17 of A Woman of Wisdom, Dee writes, "The adulteress in Proverbs is often, literally, adulterous. However, we can apply her call to whatever siren voice calls us away from our devotion to Christ and the chain of sin. It may be the lure of laziness, over-eating, materialism, or an obsession with the praise of men."

Proverbs 5; 3-4 For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword.

In my life what could a siren voice be that would draw my attention from Christ?
Immediately I realized that for the past while the siren voice of dissatisfaction has been very evident in my life. I am aware that there are likely more siren voices pulling me away but God revealed to me that this is they key one at the moment so I will be focusing on this one.

As a family we have been experiencing financial and relationship issues. If you have read some of my older blog posts you are aware of some of our struggles. I have been guilty of not seeing beyond the immediate problems to notice the many blessings that God has given to us.

Instead of writing about my dissatisfactions I am going to write about the blessings.

Dear Heavenly Father I ask you for wisdom and discernment so that I may truly draw closer to you and so that I can acknowledge the many blessings that you have given to me and to my family. Lord, you have indeed blessed me and my family with protection. When I think back to January and April, the two times this year in which our daughters were in car accidents I know that you were keeping them in your protection and this is indeed a blessing. Sparing their lives and having them not suffer from any long term injury is another blessing. It is also a blessing that we were able to have the van repaired after both accidents.

As for my husband being in school these past two years, thank you for providing him with some T.A. work to help supplement our income. Lord, you have blessed us. He is moving closer to his goal of completing his thesis within 1-4 months. This too is a blessing.

Bit by bit I am getting my house a little tidier each day and I am glad that I have the summer months off work to be able to do this. VBS begins next week, with the training session tonight. Lord I ask that you speak through me as I train these youth in the roles for VBS. I also ask for wisdom for next week in dealing with any situations that arise. Most importantly, Lord, I ask that you give us the words to lead children, youth and adults to a knowledge of you. It is a blessing to be able to participate in VBS.

What has been pulling you away from Christ? What is the adultress in your life? I pray that you can identify it and ask our Lord for wisdom, knowledge and understanding to discern it and to abandon it at the cross.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Disappointment and A Mother's Prayer

Disappointment, frustration, anger....these emotions and much more. I am so tired of having these feelings towards our teen. So tired of the angst and anguish of the teen years. Lord, please take these emotions and turn them around.

Let me see the good that you would like me to see rather than the anger that I feel towards my teen. Show me how to "bridle" my tongue. Let the memories flood me. The good memories of family times together and joy. Help me to take a good look at where we are now and draw some encouragement towards our teen, something good, anything good. Protect her and keep her safe. Guide her in her choices. Open her heart to you again so that she knows you fully, just as You know her.

Give me the words to pray when I feel as though I have nothing to utter. Bless her as she chooses to follow your leading. Protect her from Satan's deceptions. Let her see the lies as lies and the truth as truth. Help her to discern.

Remove my anger and my pride so that I am more attentive to your leading Lord in the best way to proceed with our rebellious teen.

Lord, you remind us to "Keep on praying," and so I will, even when it may appear hopeless, even when it may appear that no change is happening, even when the situation worsens... I will keep on praying for her, for us, and for her sister.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Write! Canada 2010 Conference

Public Service Announcement for Write! Canada 2010
Word count: 93 words

Write! Canada trains, motivates and nurtures Christian writers
Writers and aspiring writers, come to Canada's largest Christian writers' conference, Write! Canada, June 17-19, Guelph, Ont. Join us for the 26th annual conference as keynote speaker Dr. Joel A. Freeman encourages us to "Ignite the Creative Side of Our Brains." Choose from classes for professional to beginner writers. Meet editors, publishers and agents from Canada and the U.S. Sponsored by The Word Guild, a national association that connects, develops and promotes Canadian writers and editors who are Christian. For more information, go to www.writecanada.org.
Write! Canada

Sunday, March 7, 2010

More Earthquakes...More Prayer

It could have been worse. It could have been better. Two major earthquakes in Haiti and Chile have created devastation and loss of life. We are called to do whatever we can to help those in need. Whether we are able to donate money, our time, our physical abilities, or our knowledge any and all of this will help. Most importantly, we are called to pray.

Pray for comfort for those grieving the loss of a family member or a friend. Pray for as many survivors to be found as possible in the wreckage. Pray for food, water, clothing and shelter for those who no longer have a place to call home. Pray that the police can keep the vandalism and wrong doing to a minimum. Pray for hope.

Colleen Shine Phillips has been blogging about her experiences during the earthquake in Chile. Begin reading at a Shaky Experience and then scroll through the rest of the entries.
Shaky Experience

Thursday, February 11, 2010

God's Will: Hanging in There

So we're coming up to three years since my husband lost his job. He is now in the last stages of his Masters degree, the stage where he is to write his thesis. My observation is that sometimes it's easier to go to work, or to attend a class then it is to stay at home and work on a thesis. He is slowly chipping away at it.

And then what? That is the question on my mind a lot these days. Lord, what is next? Do you have a job in mind for him? More schooling? Mission work? Volunteer work? What is next?

Of course, I'm not getting any answers right now but I know that God has a plan. Unfortunately, being a planner myself does not make it easy to wait for someone else's plan. My favourite choice is for God to have a job for Kevin when his thesis is completed. Of course, that is my choice and my will for us.

That may not be God's will for us. Waiting for God's plan to be revealed can be pretty tough, especially when it is during difficult circumstances. Sure, I am working but my income was never intended to be the main income for our family. Even though it has been for the time that Kevin has been out of work.

As I read through different blog posts on the internet or on facebook, there seem to be so many that are in similar circumstnaces. Many husbands are out of work and their wives have become the main income earners. If neither spouse is working, the families are in pretty dire straights.

No matter how much I would like answers and for everything to work out "My Way," I do not want to step out of God's will because the results will be disasterous. How do I know this? Experience.

People through out history, in our lives today and Bible times have often decided to step outside of God's will. Unfortunately, this only opens the door for Satan to wreck havoc in our lives.

As much as I appreciate David's nature, his character, and the patience that he showed while he waited for God's appointed time for him to be king, he chose to step outside of God's will. He did this when he had an affair with another man's wife and she became pregnant. He also planned to have her husband killed so that he could marry her. (2 Samuel 11) David was already married when he had this affair.

What was God's response? Disaster! Calamity! Samuel, the prophet told David that God knew what he had done and that he would be punished. The child that had been coneived, died. (2 Samuel 12: 11-24)

Keep in God's will, keep hanging in there, ride out the storm with Jesus by your side and eventually you may learn God's plan. Even if God never reveals His plan to you during your lifetime, you will become stronger, and more capable of seeing that His grace has been with you every step of the way.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Haiti: The Devastation

On January 12, 2010, an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale struck Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince as well as about a 13 km radius. The lives of Haitians world wide were transformed that day as were the lives of many others who had relatives in Haiti.

This poverty stricken country was already suffering and in great need. Now more so than ever. Then, just eight days later, on January 20, 2010, an after shock measuring 6 on the same scale hit the same affected area.

Donna Carter, a Canadian, arrived in Haiti with a team from Compassion Canada at the time that the earthquake struck. In her blog, A Memorable Journey to Haiti and Back, she describes first hand what occurred.

http://canadianchristianwriters.com/2010/01/a-memorable-journey-to-haiti-and-back/

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Could Things Get Any Worse? You Bet!

When things are going wrong and you think that they couldn't get any worse something else happens and you know that they've just gotten worse.

You know that you can no longer work out a solution on your own. You need God's help to get out of it. Not only do you need His help, but you have to rely on Him completly because there is nothing else that you can do. Absolutely nothing.

When satan has caused havoc it causes us to pour our hearts out to God. It drives us to our knees. We are helpless but we are not hopeless.

Perhaps you are someone to rage at God for the mess that has surrounded you. Even so, God hears you. Are you listening to Him?

When our car and van were both out of commission, we were helpless because we had no way to go and collect our daughters from the accident. We live out of the city, and the only buses that travel past our house are school buses. We were left with no choice but to ask our neighbour to drive my husband to the scene of the accident. Fortunately, we've been neighbours for eighteen and half years so we weren't asking a complete stranger.

I remained home, praying and thanking the Lord that our girls were safe and to answer the phone if the girls called again. I also needed to begin making arrangements to get myself to work. It meant asking a couple of other teachers for drives out to our school. More favours to be asked but thankfully they were willing to help me out.

At the scene of the accident, a gracious women offered the warmth of her van to our girls while they waited for the police, ambulance and tow truck to arrive. I am very grateful to this kind hearted stranger who acted like a good Samaritan.

When my husband and neighbour arrived at the scene our girls were gone. The police mentioned that due to our youngest's sore neck and shoulder they were both taken by ambulance to the Children's hospital. A phone call home from my eldest daughter confirmed this. ...So, our kind neighbour drove my husband to the hospital and waited with our daughters.

While they waited, my husband called and asked if I would take some food over to our neighbour's wife, as she is now incapable of cooking for herself and others. I was just beginning to make a stir fry, so I told him it wasn't a problem. Sometimes, cooking brings me comfort and I knew that everyone would be hungry by the time they finished at the hospital. I walked next door and invited our neighbour's wife to join me for supper. Then I walked her back home and continued praying for my family.

A few hours later, they arrived home, hungry, and shook up over the experience. We also invited our neighbour to stay for supper. I told him how thankful I was that he was able to drive my family back home.

An interesting thing. My husband had told me that he had been praying for us to evangelize to our neighbours, through friendship or whatever means God provided.

I believe God answered his prayer, through these events.

After a few days we were able to rent a vehicle and our car's fuel pump was repaired so we were back to two vehciles again. By early Feburary our van should be repaired and road worthy once again.

Living life with hope and holding onto God!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Could Things Really Get Any Worse?

Could things really get any worse? How many of us have asked ourselves this question. I know that I have, a few times in my life. Sometimes it may seem as though Murphy's Law Rules our lives. Everything that could go wrong does go wrong and then we wonder....if things could get worse.

Well...yes, they could and sometimes they do get worse than our existing circumstances. Job must have asked himself this after being told his children had been killed. David must have had similar thoughts when Saul continually attempted to murder him. Adam and Eve must have felt this when Cain murdered Abel. Naomi must have experienced this anguish when her husband and sons died.

God doesn't promise us an easy, carefree life but He does promise to be with us through the good times and the difficult times. Satan is doing his best to turn our hearts away from God and he will do anything to win us over. Satan will use our best of times, to make us feel as though we don't need God. He'll use our worst of times to reject and deny God's existence.

The stronger our faith, the more we love the Lord, the harder he will try.

What have been some of the worst times in my life? We are currently struggling with my spouse out of work and just one income. There are many others in the same situation. Having two vehicles stop working simultaneously is a problem. One of them being due to an accident. We didn't need this added financial stress at this time.