Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Winterlude

This past weekend was the new long-weekend holiday called 'Family Day'. It was also my daughter's 11th birthday. To celebrate the ocassion, we headed off to our nation's capital to experience Winterlude for a few days! We stayed with friends and truly had a blast spending time with their family!

We not only got to enjoy the beauty of winter and experience the bitter cold by being outdoors, we also got the opportunity to tour the interior of the Parliament Building as there was an open house --- truly magnificent architecture!

Here are some photos from Winterlude:



And, here are some photos from inside the Parliament Building:




"Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. He changes times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning."
---Daniel 2:20-21 NIV

Monday, February 18, 2008

Pink Yesterdays

Eleven years ago today, after almost 27 hours of labour, hubby and I welcomed our baby girl into this world. I can still remember that day like it was yesterday --- her sweet tiny little face; a full head of ebony black hair; tiny fingers and toes; one eye open, the other eye closed; and, a hungry cry that can be heard down the hospital halls!

Where did the time go? My baby girl is now eleven! She is no longer a baby --- she has grown into a loving, responsible and beautiful young lady who loves the Lord Jesus Christ with all her heart. My prayer continues to be that she will mature into a God-fearing young woman --- "a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendour".

There is a poem entitled 'A Daughter, Pink Yesterdays' written by Alice Collins and I'd like to include a few lines from it on here today...
How can it be that when I bent to kiss you goodnight, my daughter... A beautiful young woman lay where only yesterday a little girl had been?... Was it not only yesterday, crayons of all colors laid upon the table?... How can it be the buggy you filled with so many dolls has been pushed aside?... It seems as though the ink has just dried on the pages of your baby book and here we are laughing over pages in your year book... Such a little while ago you cried, "Mommy, I'm scared" and now you whisper, "Mom, don't worry I'll be fine"... Wasn't it only yesterday ruffles and tea parties colored my world pink and today a goodbye kiss stain my world blue?... How did it happen so quickly... And when I stop to realize that all my golden tomorrows will bask in the memories of pink yesterdays... I thank the Lord for pink yesterdays!
Happy Birthday to my sweet daughter. As the story 'Love You Forever' by Robert Munsch says: "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be." You will always be my baby girl!!!

"I thank my God every time I remember you."
---Philippians 1:3 NIV

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I Will Be Here

Fifteen years ago, on Valentine's Day, hubby and I got engaged! Wow...time sure flies as I can't believe it's been fifteen years already. As I sit here reflecting back on the last fifteen years, I am truly thankful to God for the gift He has given me in my hubby. He is a loving husband and a wonderful dad, hardworking and supportive, but above all, he is a "man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in His commands." Psalm 112:1 (NIV)

We both love the song 'I Will Be Here' by Steven Curtis Chapman and I thought it would be very fitting to post it today. So, here it is...



Tomorrow morning if you wake up
And the sun does not appear
I will be here
If in the dark, we lose sight of love
Hold my hand, and have no fear
'Cause I will be here

I will be here
When you feel like being quiet
When you need to speak your mind
I will listen
And I will be here
When the laughter turns to crying
Through the winning, losing and trying
We'll be together
'Cause I will be here

Tomorrow morning, if you wake up
And the future is unclear
I will be here
As sure as seasons are made for change
Our lifetimes are made for these years
So I will be here

I will be here
And you can cry on my shoulder
When the mirror tells us we're older
I will hold you
And I will be here
To watch you grow in beauty
And tell you all the things you are to me
I will be here

I will be true to the promise I have made
To you and to the One who gave you to me

I will be here
And just as sure as seasons are made for change
Our lifetimes are made for these years
So I will be here
We'll be together
I will be here

Happy Valentine's Day to my wonderful hubby! May God grant us many, many more to celebrate together!

"Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God."
---Ephesians 5:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Living Beyond Myself

This morning we woke up to another dumping of snow! So far, they are reporting that we've had almost 160cm of snow this winter. The snow pile on either side of our driveway is getting soooo high I don't know where we will put the snow if more come down in the next few days!

Anyway, I was walking home after bringing the kids to school this morning and alongside me was another mom, also walking home. She was lamenting on and on --- about the snow, about garbage day, about a sick child at home and about missing work today. I was feeling a little overwhelmed myself, but out of nowhere, I found myself responding this way: "Let's look at the bright side, winter will be over soon!". She looked at me quite strangely and said: "Wow, it'd be great to be as optimistic as you are!".

Frankly, I was surprised that I came across optimistic because I truly wasn't that when I woke up this morning. But, I did make a choice --- I chose JOY! With my Bible study lesson 'Living Beyond Yourself' still very fresh on my mind from Monday night, I determined when I woke up to choose to live abundantly in the Spirit, to claim God's promise of abundant life in Christ Jesus.

So, it slowly dawned on me that JOY was evident in me this morning as that other mom pointed out. Wow, I couldn't have exude that in my own strength. This morning was definitely a good reminder to me that I need God's help each and every day for the fruit of the Spirit to be evident in my life.

I do have one regret from this morning. After the whole thought process filtered through my brain (you see, my morning coffee was still making its way to the brain...), it was time for the other mom and me to walk our separate directions. What I really wanted to say in response to her was: "You know, it's not me. It's because the joy of the Lord is my strength!". By the time the words travelled from my brain to my mouth, and by the time I decided it was the right thing to say, it was too late. I had missed a God-moment. I told myself not to be so wishy-washy next time. My prayer is that God will allow me a next time --- another opportunity!

"... for the joy of the Lord is your strength."
---Nehemiah 8:10 NIV

"The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving."
---Psalm 28:7 NLT

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Living Beyond Yourself

My Bible study group started a new study last night --- Beth Moore's Living Beyond Yourself. I didn't realize how much I missed doing a Beth Moore study until last night as we started to watch the introductory video. You see, since my friend and I started this Bible study group for our neighbourhood friends almost two years ago, we've been doing 'lighter' studies to introduce the concept of Bible study to our friends, most of whom were babies in the faith at that time, therefore, we've not had the opportunity to delve into a Beth Moore study yet.

But, these 'babies' have grown! They are now ready for more substantial food so we thought it was time to introduce them to a Beth Moore study! Living Beyond Yourself isn't a new study for me as I did this three years ago with another group but I can definitely tell you that God has already shown me that He will be stretching me and opening my eyes to new things as I experience this study one more time. I am beyond excited --- I can't wait to see what God has in store for us through this session.

Here are some points from last night's video:

LIVING ~~~
"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10 NIV
The filling and subsequent fruit of the Spirit won't just change my life. It will change my day.

BEYOND ~~~
"However, as it is written: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him' --- but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God." 1Corinthians 2:9-10 NIV
Through the infiltrating power of the Holy Spirit, I can...
Do things I couldn't.
Feel things I didn't.
Know things I wouldn't.

YOURSELF ~~~
"When He had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come out!' The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, 'Take off the grave clothes and let him go.' " John 11:43-44 NIV
We are often buried in our tomb of 'self'. Jesus commands us to 'come out!' and live life to the fullest.

And, here's The Choice by Max Lucado which ties in very well with last night's video ---

The Choice
By Max Lucado. When God Whispers Your Name. Word Publishing. Chapter 11.

It’s quiet. It’s early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is still asleep. The day is coming.

In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met.

For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day’s demands. It is now that I must make a choice. Because of Calvary, I’m free to choose. And so I choose.

I choose love …
No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.

I choose joy …
I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical … the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, created by God. I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.

I choose peace …
I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.

I choose patience …
I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.

I choose kindness …
I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

I choose goodness …
I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast. I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.

I choose faithfulness …
Today I will keep my promises. My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not question my word. My wife will not question my love. And my children will never fear that their father will not come home.

I choose gentleness …
Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice may it be only in praise. If I clench my fist, may it be only in prayer. If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.

I choose self-control …
I am a spiritual being. After this body is dead, my spirit will soar. I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal. I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy. I will be impassioned only by my faith. I will be influenced only by God. I will be taught only by Christ. I choose self-control.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and
self-control. To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek His grace. And then, when the day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
---Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

White As Snow

This is what our backyard looks like today ... and I can't help but sing this short familiar chorus over and over again:
White as snow, white as snow
Though my sins were as scarlet
Lord I know, Lord I know
That I'm clean and forgiven
Through the power of Your blood

Through the wonder of Your love
Through faith in You I know that I can be
White as snow
As I watch the snow slowly accumulate and blanket everything it touches with pure whiteness, I am awed once again as I am reminded of God's amazing love; how because of Jesus' amazing sacrifice on the cross, my sins have been washed away and I can be white as snow!

Isn't it awesome when God uses the beauty of His creation to speak truth to us?

"Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow."
---Isaiah 1:18 NLT

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I Will Run To You

The song 'I Will Run To You' by Hillsong has been on my mind all day...

Your eye is on the sparrow
And Your hand, it comforts me
From the ends of the Earth to the depth of my heart
Let Your mercy and strength be seen
You call me to Your purpose
As angels understand
For Your glory, may You draw all men
As Your love and grace demand
And I will run to You
To Your words of truth
Not by might, not by power
But by the spirit of God
Yes I will run the race
'Til I see Your face
Oh let me live in the glory of Your grace
I think it's because the lyrics tie in so well with the book I am currently reading --- Jim Cymbala's 'The Life God Blesses'. Here are a couple of paragraphs from the book:
"God is on a search. He is not looking for such things as knowledge or precious stones --- after all, He knows everything and owns the world and everything in it. Although we rarely think about this or hear it preached, the Creator of all things is looking throughout the whole earth for a human heart that will allow Him to show how marvelously He can strengthen, help, and bless someone's life.

But what does it mean to have a special heart, 'a heart after God'? This is a most important subject for us to consider because it speaks to who we really are and to what extent God can use us for His glory. A heart out of tune, out of sync with God's heart, will produce a life of spiritual barrenness and missed opportunities. But as we ask the Lord to bring our hearts into harmony with and submission to His, we will find the secret of His blessings that has remained the same throughout all generations."
"For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His."
---2 Chronicles 16:9 NASB

"The Lord has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him as ruler over His people."
---1 Samuel 13:14 NASB

Monday, February 4, 2008

Show and Share

Tomorrow, it is my son's turn for 'show and share' at school. He decided that he would bring his little teddy bear for this occasion. He made two of the same bear at camp this past Summer, one to keep and one to send away in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox. This bear has the word 'Jesus' and little hearts printed all over its body.
I asked my son what he's planning to say tomorrow. He proceeded to show me that he's tucked a piece of paper in the little pocket that the bear has on its front. On this piece of paper, he's written down the verse from John 3:16! He told me that he's going to tell his teacher and his classmates that Jesus loves everyone, and then he's going to read them the Bible verse!

This is a huge step for my son. This is the very first time that he's initiated on his own to tell someone else about Jesus' love. My heart is beaming --- I am one proud mama tonight! I thank God for continuing to do a good work in my son's heart --- slowly growing him, one step at a time!

My prayer is that this will be a positive experience for him; that this experience will be a good start --- encouraging him to tell others about Jesus again and again!

"For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life."
---John 3:16 NLT

"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."
---Philippians 1:6 NLT