Friday, November 30, 2007

Advancing From Faith To Faith

This quote is part of my Bible Study homework this week, Week 5: God's Voice Reveals His Plan --- "One of the ways we know His voice is that its content is such that He keeps us at a point of trusting Him for something new - in ourselves, in our loved ones, in our ministry. Trusting Him for deeper levels. For more growth. For wider usage. And always advancing from faith to faith." ---Peter Lord, as printed in 'Discerning the Voice of God' by Priscilla Shirer, page 97.

I was instantly drawn to this quote as I was doing the homework for Day 4 in Week 5. This quote demonstrates to me the fact that when God asks us to step out in faith and step away from our comfort zone, He is indeed asking us to trust Him fully because He is going to use us to achieve His purposes here on earth --- to advance us from faith to faith. Wow, that is a humbling, yet exciting thought!

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."
---Isaiah 55:9 NIV

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Burning Bushes

Last night my Bible study group watched the video for Week 5 of 'Discerning the Voice of God' by Priscilla Shirer. She based her message on the story of Moses and the burning bush from Exodus 3:1-7, 10. This week's video touched me profoundly. It never ceases to amaze me just how precise God's timing is!

This week, I needed to hear that ---
~ Just like in Moses' life, God's plan is often uncovered while we are in the desert seasons of our lives; not while we are living in the palace.
~ While we are in the desert seasons of our lives, God is actually equipping us for His plan. For example, Moses was being equipped with dedication, direction and destination while he was tending sheep in the desert in order to prepare him to lead God's people out of Egypt.
~ Burning bushes (supernatural markers) point us to God's plan.
~ The purpose of God's plan is to achieve intimate fellowship with us.
~ God's plan will change the course of our lives!

In life, when burning bushes come my way, it is often hard for me to step out in faith into the unknown. But I have learned over the years that if I choose not to obey, God's plan will still come to pass, except I have missed out on the blessing of being a part of it.

So, I will be watching and waiting for those burning bushes. I will strive to obey God and step out in faith when those burning bushes do come my way. Will you?

"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."
---Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Christmas Portraits!

This past weekend was Christmas portraits time for us! Over the years, we've always gone to Sears for them but this year, we decided we would be adventurous and do them ourselves at home! The following are among our favourites --- I'd say we did a fabulous job. Better than Sears, I must say! :-)

So, as you can see, it is already Christmas at our house! We start putting up our Christmas decorations the moment we see November on the calendar. Christmas is our most favourite celebration of the year!

Isaiah 9:6 KJV --- "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."

Friday, November 16, 2007

HE Does Not Forget!

My daughter went for a sleepover at a friend's house last night. When I dropped her off, I was busy chit-chatting with my friend (the mom) at the front door. After which, I hastily said goodbye to my daughter. As I was driving away, it occured to me that I did not even hug and kiss my daughter before I left. I left with just a wave and some goodbye words! That is so not me! Well, I guess it is now...

While I am certain that my daughter is secure knowing that I love her, last night I failed to demonstrate that love to her by a simple act of a hug and a kiss. I thought to myself --- I sure am glad that God is not like me! He does not ever forget to demonstrate His love for me, His child, each and every single day.

A loving family, a comfortable home, a friend's listening ear, a peace that transcends understanding, warm sunshine, birds chirping, snow flurries, coffee in the morning, provision of needs --- these are just a few examples of how God has chosen to demonstrate His great love to me lately. Wow, it is utterly awesome to know that the God of the universe whom I love and serve does not and will not ever forget!

Back to my daughter --- she is still at her friend's house and will be home just after lunch today. You can be sure that I will be hugging and kissing her to pieces the moment she steps in the front door!

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! ..... Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure."
---1 John 3:1-3 NIV

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Change is not something I look forward to. I am a creature of habit --- I love routine and I love the familiar! A few weeks ago, the ladies in my Monday night Bible Study were chit-chatting with each other about life in general. We all seem to be coming up to some change --- different circumstances, but still each one is facing a change in some way, shape or form.

As of this point in time, I am unable to share details of my 'change'. But I can tell you that this 'change' came totally out of the blue. It felt to me as if God threw me a curve! I was certainly quite comfortable where I was before all this came to be. Now, I am having to discern what God is trying to tell me through this situation. I am still not quite certain where or what He is leading me towards. One thing I do know is that God is up to something!

In my Bible Study 'Discerning the Voice of God' by Priscilla Shirer, I learned that when God wants to tell me something, He is persistent and His message will always be driven home by Scripture! This week, God clearly turned my attention to Isaiah 55:12 --- "You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace..." and also to Lamentations 3:24-26 --- "I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.' The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord."

These two verses together tell me that God is indeed leading me towards change, but at the same time, I am to wait quietly for His leading. Therefore, I will wait. I will anticipate with eagerness and I will hope in Him.

I will end this blog entry with a quote by Kathy Troccoli. This quote sums up my desire --- I hope to be filled with that supernatural peace in the weeks or months ahead when I finally come to the point where I have to make a decision according to what the Holy Spirit will have instructed me to do.

"I know God is speaking to me when, in spite of my initial struggle, an undeniable release and peace follows when I have obeyed His voice. When I finally do the thing He has been nudging me to do, whether it's letting something or someone go, or taking a step toward the unknown, there is a deep calm in my soul. Where my heart and mind were once filled with terrible angst, I am now filled with a supernatural peace."
---Kathy Troccoli, as printed in 'Discerning the Voice of God' Week 4, Day 3, page 73

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
---Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Shoebox Sunday

Tomorrow is Shoebox Sunday again at our church. Filling and packing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes has become a year-round activity in our home. But it certainly wasn't always that way!

Before we had children, hubby and I packed two shoeboxes each year --- one from each of us. After our daughter was born, we did three. When our son was born, we filled four that year. But as the children grew and as we started to teach them about being selfless, God started to tug at my own heart. I began to see that there is indeed a real need to impact the lives of children in these impoverished countries for God. What better way to do this than at Christmas time with Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. And what better way to teach my own children a lesson in selflessness than to get them involved in this endeavour.

We started with a little chat involving the kids. We brainstormed ideas on how we can 'collect' as many items as possible throughout the year for the shoeboxes without breaking our budget too much. The goal is to fill as many shoeboxes as we can, not just our usual four! The kids came up with ideas such as giving up items they get in party lootbags, giving up toys they get in kids' meals or items they get as presents, making arts and crafts things throughout the year, and, buying stuff when we see them on sale.

We now have a 'shoebox bin' we keep in a closet where we accumulate items all year round. It all culminates around this time each year when we, as a family, go to the store to buy the essentials such as toothbrushes, socks, soaps and etc. and we come home to pack as many shoeboxes as our collected items allow.

For example, this year we were able to pack 20 shoeboxes. One particularly good year, we were able to pack 40! But really the important thing is not how many shoeboxes we end up with, but the heart in which the items came to be accumulated. You see, it wasn't all that easy for the children at first. When we first started this endeavour, more times than not there was reluctance when they were confronted with the choice of whether to keep an item for themselves or to put it in our 'shoebox bin'. This year, I am very proud to say that I did not witness an ounce of reluctance in either child at all. I think they have finally grasp the concept of being selfless --- pertaining to packing shoeboxes, that is!

Becoming selfless is indeed a lifelong lesson. We still have quite far to go! It surely isn't something that is achieved overnight although I would like to think that we are making some progress here, one day at a time! So, as another Shoebox Sunday comes tomorrow, our family start a whole new year of filling our 'shoebox bin' with items for next year's shoeboxes! :-)

"Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' "
---Matthew 22:37-39 NIV

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
---Ephesians 2:10 NIV

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Trust His Heart

Sorting through emotions --- I don't like doing that. As I said in my last blog entry, I don't quite know yet how or what I am feeling with regards to the latest events that unfolded at our church this past Sunday. And, guess what? As of today, I still don't know!

But God knows my heart --- more than I do so myself. On Monday morning, while I was still reeling from the news we heard at church the previous day, He answered a specific prayer of mine (with lightning speed too, I must say!). The answer came in such a way that I knew for sure it could only be Him! It was His way of letting me know that He cares, that I can trust His heart, even in the smallest details of my everyday life!

God also knows my tendency to gravitate towards music because He often ministers to me through the words of worship songs. Last week, I heard the song 'Trust His Heart' by Babbie Mason as I listened to my worship CD while I worked. I quickly emailed the words of this song to a friend as I thought it was perfect for what she's currently going through. Little did I know that those same words would minister to me just a few days after! Here they are:

All things work for our good
Though sometimes we can't see how they could
Struggles that break our hearts in two
Sometimes blind us to the truth

Our Father knows what's best for us
His ways are not our own
So when your pathway grows dim and you just don't see Him
Remember you're never alone

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don't understand, when you don't see His plan
When you can't trace His hand trust His heart

He sees the master plan
And He holds the future in His hand
Don't live as those who have no hope
While our hope is found in Him

We see the present clearly
But He sees the first and the last
And like a tapestry, He's weaving you and me
To someday be just like Him

He alone is faithful and true
He alone knows what is best for you

It is reassuring to know that I can trust His heart!

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."
---Romans 8:28 NIV

Sunday, November 4, 2007

'Not-So-Great' Sunday

We got some 'not-so-great' news at church today. I'm using the phrase 'not-so-great' because I really don't know yet how to describe how I feel right now. Our senior pastor of 18 years resigned from our church today. He broke the news to the congregation after his sermon this morning. It was an emotional day for a lot of people, to say the least.

While I am still numb from the news, I know that some difficult days lie ahead for our church as we search for a new senior pastor. At the same time, I also know that my God is sovereign and He is fully in control. I might not be able to see His master plan, but I know that He holds tomorrow in His hands. That is reassuring!

While digesting this news today, the worship song 'I Will Worship You' kept coming to mind. Here are the words:

My God is faithful, my God is truthful, my God is boundless in all He is.
My God is wisdom, my God is righteous, my God is vision for all who seek.

So I will worship You in the beauty of holiness.
And I will worship You for the things You've done in me.
And when my life's complete I place my crown at Your feet.
And I will worship You on bended knee!

My God is power, my God is glory, my God is ruler over all that is.
My God is timeless, my God is justice, my God is mercy to the oppressed.

His name is love, His force is thunder.
His heart is tender, His hand is strong.

In a situation like today's, it is very reassuring to be reminded that my God is all that and more!

"It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes."
---Psalm 118:8-9 NIV