Friday, December 4, 2009

Good stuff all over.

God has been so generous with me lately. I have been praying for years for more grace and more gentleness. It doesn't come naturally to me to keep information under my hat just because it may not help the other person. I know that I do this very often and yet I can't seem to stop. When someone is doing something that results in them hurting themselves and/or others I feel a burning need to help them see it. Note the irony.

So God has given me two people (not even real people) that give me a view on how I can take my personality type and serve God and love people. The first is a book by Cathy Marie Hake and it is titled "Last Chance". The heroine is a woman named LoveJoy and she is a bit of a bossyboots (like yours truly) but she keeps everyone's hearts in mind when she serves up the truth. I think it would be great if I could just stop telling people what I feel that they should know until I can tell them in a way that is supportive and kind. So I've started on this journey of kindness. I gotta tell ya it isn't as hard as I thought. I believe God is doing all the heavy lifting. If he can help a vocal woman like me it is indeed proof that to Him all things are possible.

The second character is the main character from The Blind Side (played by Sandra Bullock). She is a bossy boots as well. Watching the movie was a bit like watching myself in action. What occured to me was that I liked the character. So seeing my behaviours in someone else that I considered great, gave me a bit of love of myself.

All this is very closely tied to the fact that in january I decided not to rejoin my bible group. The reason I had done this is because I knew when I do a bible study, I use the material to beat myself up. If the chapter is on greed, I find a hundred sins in my life that show how greedy I am. Ditto every other sin. I decided to lay off any book that had a workbook or questions or apply this to your life type of format. In essence no bible studies. It was AMAZING. All I read was the Christian Romances and the bible reading from mass on Sunday. You know I think I started loving myself about March/April. And that love of myself has allowed me to give the same grace I learned to give myself to others. God has led me down this path that no bible teacher, no mature Christian, no pastor would ever recommend. He knew I needed to lay off on the I oughtas and get to the Thank You Lords.

The second greatest command is to "Love others as yourself", implied in the statement is that you must love yourself.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Non-Consumerism... is it biblical?

I've been reading some blogs about the whole non-consumerism movement. Basically the premise is not to buy things that are not NECESSARY in order to a) be frugal b) save the environment and c) be in the cool crowd (a little tongue in cheek here)

But how does non-consumerism compare to the bible. I found the following references at the bottom of my post. Mainly from this post: I added one, that seemed to clinch it for me. It is the Genesis verse. In essence God gave us this abundant earth to use. It does not belong to the fishes or the plants or the rest of the plant/animal kingdom, it is our's to use. And that point of view is supported by all of the proverbs verses. It is also supported by the verses in Exodus where God sends manna down with strict instructions to let the uneaten manna to be left. Isn't that, like, wasteful.

If we ended it there I think we would be selfish and inconsiderate. There is a theme throughout the bible to protect the children. There is also a theme to be wise and not wasteful. I think it is very unwise, wasteful and hurtful to our children to buy things and not use them.

But here is the biggie. God's number 1 commandment is:

Exodus 20:3 You shall have no other gods before me
If you put your stuff (cars, houses, Kitchen-Aid stand mixer cough cough) before God you are breaking his number one commandment.

So how do you balance those somewhat conflicting ideals. I think it lies in buying what you want and need (that you can afford---different topic but completely true) but not letting the things master you. Interestingly, I think for the non-consumers they have to be careful that the avoidance of things shouldn't master you either. When you live, eat and breathe non-consumer lifestyle (instead of God) then you have just replaced one god with another.

Genesis 1:28-29

God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." 29 Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food." And it was so.

Luke 15:13
And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into
a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.

John 6:12
When they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments so that nothing will be lost.”

Proverbs 10:4
Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

Proverbs 13:4
The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made fat.

Proverbs 21:5
The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,

God Bless,

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Haunted by the devil in my dreams

I've been feverish for the past few days. First night it was peak 103. Next night it was peak 101. But tonight was the worst night and the peak was only 99. I was thrashing and crying. I kept dreaming over and over again that God had a system of picking out who would go to heaven. His system was (if I can remember it), if you got a specific number in bingo (or something) you would go to heaven. Sometimes I would dream I got the right number but was confused at why our family was spared and others weren't. But mostly, I got the wrong number and was forced to make a decision to try and take someone's winning number. Kinda like a version of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery. It was so wrong, it was so scary. I haven't had a nightmare in years and years, and only when I have a fever. In the midst of it, I woke up (still kinda in the dream world) thinking how could anyone follow a god like that. Thankfully reason returned after I got up, God chooses all of us, every last one of us, it's us who reject Him. It still is sad but somehow level, righteous, I don't know.

My stomach is still clenching and unclenching. I'd love to wake hubby up and get his very calm warm reaction. But if you know my hubby, waking him up is not the right thing to do. The only time he shows a temper is when he has been sleeping and you wake him. I don't know if I can go back to the bed, I think I will take a sleeping pill and sleep here on the couch. Of course that will mean no church, but it wasn't really a possibility with how sick I've been anyway.

Thank you God for being the God of Justice.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Please God...grant me strength and health

We go to Joli-B tomorrow. This is not going to be one of those wise or even theological posts. This is one of those "Please God get me through the next week posts". Joli-B is a bible family camp 9 hours drive away. We are taking our 2 plus 2 neighbour boys who are so close to giving their lives to Christ. I think. It is a whole lotta fun. Here is the problem.

I have had such bad diarrhea lately (I have IBS) that I cannot go farther than 30 seconds from a washroom. I tried to go visit my mom and my brother and I had to turn back. I would go 20 minutes and then need to stop for 20 minutes. It took me 5 hours to go a distance that would usually take 3 hours. It kills me not to have the ability to see my mom and my brother when I want. They are not long for this world and I would wish to be close to them. I cried all the way home. Part of the problem was that I needed to eat and drink to stay awake, but the eating and drinking caused me to need to stay near a washroom for the inevitable emergency. I think for the trip to Joli B I will just take a sleeping pill and not eat. I may make it that way. That means that John will be driving for the whole 9 hours. We were going to leave after dinner tomorrow but I think it would be better for Hubby if we leave after lunch so that he can drive in the day...better for him. We will get there in time to go in the pool and have some supper.

I just need not to be sick...please please God. I want to be there for them all.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Amazing Sermon today about sin nature vs. spirit

Okay, if I was 6 I would probably summarize today's sermon as:

"No really, the devil did make me do it" OR rather "I didn't do it, the devil in me did"

But since I am not 6, I got a whole lot more depth out of it than that. The list of the verses referenced was long but here is what I got.

L. started out the sermon comparing our rebirth to our original birth

  • We are innocent in that we haven't sinned yet
  • We are completely dependent on parents (in the rebirth Father)
  • We are immature
  • We have a long way to grow
  • We bear the image of our parents
  • We are a completely new identity
God sees us as perfect. And we are. There are tonnes of verses in the NT about the new creation, new spirit, and in Isaiah a new heart. Now I have a bible teacher that thinks this is THE most important thing to understand and if we understood this, we would be transformed (again). And she is right. God sees us as blameless and holy. This spirit He put in us, is his own, and thus is Godly and righteous and just.

There was much more in the sermon (much more) and L. hit on how we still have to carry around the old sin until we shed these physical bodies. But I want to concentrate on how we are blameless and holy in God's eyes, and different ways this SHOULD revolutionize my life.

  1. Okay, this might come off sounding a little vain, but since it is my blog I am going to indulge myself (for the purposes of growth). I have always wondered how there are good people who are not Christians if God is everything that is good in us. In fact I was a good "egg" before I accepted the Lord as my CEO and liege. I gave to charities, most people thought I was wonderful. I was helpful kind and all-around-nice-girl. But the reason I was good was not pure. I felt like if I was mean or selfish or grumpy or anything then I was a failure in DOD (Dear Old Dad's) eyes. And that failure caused great the scale guilt. Now I realize two things:
    1. I was not quite all that good. First off, I scared some people silly. Still do at times. I think that I should be personally banned from all computer 1-800 helplines. I am a menace. In fact this is the first thing I will do. No computer helplines. I am quite forceful in my opinions, so I need to be more gentle.
    2. My "goodness" was based on fear/guilt and would have eventually turned bitter. Because the fruit eventually shows what was at the root. And my root was all yucky and dying.
  2. It's not me that has to change. Well it is and it isn't (there is dichotomy between the sin nature and the spirit). The sin isn't me, the true me is the spirit of God in me. So instead of forcing change by trying to stick to laws (and we all know how well that works), I am better off by praying for help/guidance/wisdom/hope and GENTLENESS from the Holy Spirit. He can work changes that are impossible for me. And it's good because it seems fairly impossible. Consistent refusing to follow the flesh will make it easier and easier to refuse. But only God can give me the will. And only I have the power to act out the will.
  3. Rest in God. I am not a rester. Not by choice anyway. I am always trying to improve so that I measure up. Who do I think is measuring??? If God already finds me blameless and holy, who am I trying to impress??? The man. The father figure who never approves of anyone man. That man. So again I need to pray that God makes it clear to me that "the man" is completely irrelevant.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I love my husband

I have been puzzling over the Water into Wine miracle in John 2 for a couple of days now. It seems to me all of the parables have a deeper meaning than you can see on the surface. I believe that the water into wine parable is probably the same. So here are the possibilities that I have come up with.

1. Jesus turning the water into wine was symbolic of turning us from water into something more worthwhile wine.
2. Jesus turning water into wine was symbolic of the kick off event of His Journey to Calvary. His blood is the wine and he is getting ready to be sacrificed.
3. It is just a story of the glory of God and how he can change water into wine with just a word.

So I mention the way I am spinning on this and my husband says something along the lines of "Takes quite a bit to make wine" (he used to make his own wine). And part of making wine is removing all the sediment.

AHHHHHH, okay here is my take of how this could be a symbolism. Jesus turned water into wine with just words. Previously, it would take much hard work, much refining to make the wine. What happens if the wine was the process to get to heaven? If before Jesus, there was much work to be done to get to heaven. Following rules. If rules are broken, making amends through slaying animals (which would have cost you a pretty penny if you broke a lot of rules). Now we just (and I say just in only the sense that it is pretty easy to say the words, not so easy to get to the place where you want to say them or feel you can say them) say the words that "I am sorry. Please forgive me. I believe you died on the cross for me." and we are wine...the best wine of the whole night.

God is continually showing me his word in ways that help me to live my life. How does understanding this help me live my life. Well, there was a guest doing a sermon at our church and although I was not there, I understood that he said that all the old testament rules apply to us. I am going to go over to his website and see how he qualifies this because Paul and Peter both say that the Old Testament rules on food are not necessary. And Paul deliberately says that circumcision is a sin, if you do it for the reasons of being Jewish.


Philippians 4:7 Then God will give you peace, a peace which is too wonderful to understand. That peace will keep your hearts and minds safe as you trust in Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Is frugality a command from God?

Today I've been pondering what God wants of us. Specifically, my income is probably going to go down significantly at the end of the year, and I want to know what God wants us to do about it. Does He want us to go into hyper saving mode? Does He want us to cut a few things that are of lower priority and wait for the mess to be sorted out? Does He want us to simply trust Him and do nothing and wait?

I don't know. I used to live by the following words: “Pray as though everything depended on God and act as if everything depended on you.” — St. Augustine (354-430). I don't want to dis a smart guy like St Augustine but there is something wrong with this quote in terms of it jiving with the bible. Again and again the bible reminds us that God is in control and self-reliance is just another word for disbelief. (Eph 2:8-9, Heb 3:12-13, Matt 6:33-34). If we credit the notion that we are to work as if everything depended on us then it follows that we didn't believe that God was omnipotent. If we were to completely believe that God was omnipotent we would do nothing to aid Him (for our efforts would be sorry at best) but through His divine mercy and love He asks us to help Him in fulfilling His will (not because He could not pull them off but because it helps us to worship Him fully). Okay, this is how I understand this concept: dogs kind of view us as their God. We all try to train the dog (even when we have the world's stupidest dogs --- as I do). Really it doesn't matter if Tommy will sit when I give him a has no effect on the kitchen or the house or the world, but it means something to Tommy, it means he must bend His will to mine and that makes him better behaved and thus makes his life easier. He may or may not know that I will not love him less if he doesn't ever sit, but it is nonetheless true. So it is with us, by continually practicing to bend our will to God's we learn to worship Him fully and grow in Him, but this will bending on our behalf does not inspire God to love us makes us love God more.

Okay, I believe that we should work hard to do God's will not because it helps Him but because it helps us. Then what does God want. Our belief, our love, our submission our praise our obedience. How do we do that? Or specifically, how do I do this?

In the bible there is the quote: 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'” Matt 15:8. This verse from Matthew is referring to how the Pharisees had a habit of giving money that should have been going to their parents in their old age, to the temple (and from a book I learned they actually kept the land for themselves and it was only given to the temple on paper). My take on it is that, if a person does not do what is right and then fabricates excuses (the Pharisees went so far as to fabricate a law) to support themselves then it is all in vain. So with this verse (and I have no idea how I picked this one to make my, I think I need to evaluate what is RIGHT. Is it right to seek poverty? I am just speaking from the top of my head here but I think there are certain people who would do well to seek poverty. The man who talked to Jesus about how to follow Him and Jesus told him to give up all material possessions and follow was one (Matt 19:21). But Jesus did not recommend this to everyone. In John 3, he exhorts Nicodemus to believe.

Then I have to factor in that it is not just me affected by this situation. Maybe this is an occasion for someone else in the family to learn something or heck maybe someone not in the family.

So all in all, off I go to bed to pray whether God wants me to learn obedience to take down the high place of money. Or whether God wants me to learn to trust Him completely. Or if I should be on the lookout for God working in this area and follow His lead. As I am writing this I am thinking that maybe if I give up the extras and then give that money away, I will be learning all the possible things...but did you notice what I did. I came up with a solution before I prayed and put it before God. As Smeagol said in the Lord of the Rings "Master is trixsy"

So much to learn...good thing I have an eternity!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

More growth

I guess 2009 is the year for amazing growth for me.

I am learning:

  • Tact (a very little bit at a time)
  • How to avoid situations where I will not use tact
  • How to relate better to my husband
  • This is a big one, I've learned that everyone has irrational preconceptions for something
  • I am learning to give myself grace. I don't feel like I am a failure as much. There are still some times when I do, but they are rare.
  • I am learning to do little things to help my health
On the way back from visiting my mom, who is doing well. I was listening to a pod-cast series. It was from John Piper's podcast. The series was about Pastor as a Scholar. The first segment I listened to was D.A. Carson. I mean WOW!! He is an incredibly intelligent man and he loves God with his whole heart, mind, soul and strength. Mind...yes we must love God with our mind. I need to open this part up. He thought that the Scholar had to ensure that they didn't go so far as to be Pharisee-ish. What I understood that it is important to keep the main thing, the main thing. God died for us and if you don't relate everything back to that it is not good. He also said that the Preacher had to keep going back to the word so that what they were saying was TRUTH. Emotion is good as long as it is directed by truth. I want to take a university course or some higher level bible study.

I then met with my sister to drive from her place to see mom. It was interesting that she was talking about spiritual gifts (charisms she called them). Hers were leadership and wisdom...yep my sister is gifted in both of those things. Then she said that she thought mine might be knowledge, not special knowledge, but knowledge of opening the scripture up to others. Oh how I would love to worship God in that fashion.

On the way home I listened to the second podcast, by John Piper about the Pastor as the Scholar. In the podcast, he talked about the people that have inspired him. I was so excited to read some books by John Piper, DA Carson and a guy named Jonathan ??? I asked hubby to write down the names because I knew I would forget them. I will look for a book by one of these guys in the Church library.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Give me strength

Tonight was youth for the boys. We have quite a crew going every friday. I love that those boys are getting to know Christ. He knows that they have all had rough lives so far and He wants to give them what they need to be strong, caring, loving men. I sometimes wish I could fix it all for them. I cannot. I am so heartbroken that my youngest admitted that he hadn't given his heart to Christ like he had confessed to me a couple years ago. For a couple of days I was so mad. I wanted to yell at him for his lie and for him not being right with God. But I hardly think this would be the way to show him the love of Christ. So I pretended that the reason I was mad was because I was tired.

I have been there where he is. Where your mom is pushing the religion hard. I have to remember that God has his arms around my boy and when the time is right he will show His love and my boy will accept Jesus into his heart. It is so hard not to force his hand. Hubby has a much softer hand in these things. I think John is a little off-kilter knowing this about DS. He actually tried to arguing.

I will pray some more for tact and love and understanding for myself with my son. He is a smart kid and I am not sure if I should reason with him for Christ or what. I am almost thinking that because DS and I are so alike that hubby should take him away for a weekend and talk about what Christ means to him. My sons adore their dad, he is showing them how to grow up to be a real man. How to stand by your wife and deal with all the stuff in life without alcohol or violence or sarcasm (okay maybe a wee bit of sarcasm...but only if it's funny).

God you know my son and you know what he needs to come to you. He will be great in your kingdom. Please give us the wisdom to say what you want us to say and do what you want us to do and to be silent when you want us to shut up.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hearing and Following the will of God

It's funny. The more time I spend around Christians the more I hear the prayer, Lord show me your will. We are all running around with our heads cut off trying to follow a leader that is sometimes less than clear. It's like when you are a kid. When you are really young you get really clear direction from Mom and Dad. Please go get a kleenex. The kleenex box is on the table with your lego pirates and you can bring me the whole box. Which by the time they are teenagers...can you get me a snot rag,!

Maybe the Lord as our heavenly Father, as we are infants in our walk, he gives us pretty clear direction. During the time that Hubby came to the Lord, he would see bumper stickers that would give him the answers to things that were bothering him. Not so much anymore. I think now walking with the Lord requires a great deal of patience and a healthy dose of self-denial.

Just recently we were presented with a deal for investing in a vacation home in Florida. It was a sweet deal. We would be giving money to a charity, and paying for our use of this house with our tax money. Getting CRA to pay for vacations ... SWEET. The problem was that it required 10K up front and an on-going income of 100K. Well, John and I were undecided and so we decided that we would put out a fleece. If God made the 10k come in easily then we would go forward. Well, a wierd thing happened. The friend of ours who was trying to sell us this deal told us that he could get us the money. No prob...what a miracle. We were so thankful. Then the very next day he called and asked when we would be able to come up with the money...huh??? So, someone flipped our fleece on us. I do not blame this friend in the slightest he was very concerned and trying to help. But God made it clear that this investment wasn't his will. One of John's big mortgages was delayed and I was told that my disability was very tenuous. God has another person out there for this investment. He has plans for us that will prosper us:

10This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfil my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.
11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

The beginning of this quote is interesting. He says after I have punished you by sending you to Babylon, I will hug you and kiss you and prosper you. As Christians our time in Babylon was when we weren't saved. Now that we are saved we are regularly Hugged and Kissed and Called George (you have to watch Bugs Bunny to get that one). I can't wait to see what He plans for us. That black old cloud doesn't stand a chance when the Prince of Peace comes to call.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Feelings and God

I just read part of a post by David Pratte. The essence of the sermon was that feelings are mercurial and we are not to trust them. Here is his summary

We have learned in this study that we should avoid the abuse of emotions. At the same time, we should not overreact by concluding that all expression of emotion is bad and should be suppressed. The truth is that emotions can be good, but only when we are in control so that we are doing what is scriptural, understandable, and edifying.

It is only good and natural for Christians to feel and express emotions as they serve God. But we must not let emotions determine for us what we will believe or what we will do in worship, nor may we let them hinder people from understanding the meaning of what is done in worship.

What is the basis for your beliefs and your practices in worship?

I have lots of conflicting thoughts about this one. Oh so many. I am not an emotional person. I have emotions (a plenty) but my main way of thinking and reacting is logical. But, I so admire the person who can love Jesus so much that they actually jump for joy or sing in the rain or something. That is not me. I am the look in the Word and feel awe of it kind of girl. But I secretly want to be given over to

The thing that bothers me about this is that it seems that you are made to either lean one way or the other. I like the idea that thought should lead the way and emotions follow the path the bible has laid out. But God gave us all these beautiful emotions to worship Him with.

Are emotions feminine and is that why they have been given a bad rap? I look at a bible study with Beth Moore. She is such an amazing woman and so beautifully emotional. Through her bible studies she has cried and then praised in the rain, danced and sang around her office and absolutely gushed about how great God is. How can that be wrong. I don't imagine that Beth was in control of her emotions while crying in the rain, she was relating and making a bond with God.

I guess that is it. I am wondering whether the bible has any verses that our relationship with God is a personal one. I haven't found one. I don't know what websters describes as personal, but for me a personal relationship with someone is a relationship where we have met each other and have some sort of bond. I do have a relationship with my husband and my mother and my kids and my friends, I do not have a relationship with the neighbour next store that I see sporadically throughout the year. So from my definition the bond is what defines the relationship for me (it will no doubt be different for others), and Jesus and I we have one heck of a bond. He loves me and He died for me, that would make every other bond I have subordinate.

Something else occurs to me, this personal relationship I have with the maker of the universe. I don't expect anything out of it. Not that I am not getting anything out of it. Not that I don't plead for things, but I don't expect anything (beyond Him to fulfill the promises He has made). I love God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and it would seem presumptuous for me to think that God should heal me, because He loves me. I understand that God knows me down to the numbers of hairs on my head, I know that he loves me and wants to prosper me. But I am so okay with letting Him decide when to heal me (here or in heaven). Maybe that some people are trying to make, that God is a personal God in that we have a bond, but the idea that we have an "in" with Him and we can get what we want done if we only believe...not so much.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Whoo Boy lots has happened

Things that have happened:

  1. One of my old Nortel buddies is very sick and is having trouble paying for the meds
  2. Doctor recommended me for gastric bypass
  3. Sunlife LTD coordinator told me that Sunlife is NOT responsible for the LTD if Nortel goes into actual bankruptcy.
  4. The Florida investment with friends of seeming like a trap as opposed to an opportunity. (given #2)
I am still trying to work out my reaction to all this. John and I went out for date night last night. And there are so many decisions to be made that we are stuck in neutral.

The first problem is easily worked on...I am using my investigative talents to see if I can find a way for him to be covered. More than anything the situation makes me sad. He is a good guy and I know he suffers from guilt and fear of failure (much like me) and I ache for his pain (spiritual, mental, and physical). I guess what I have forgotten to do is specifically pray for his plight. Dear God, please grant my friend knowledge of you. Let him come close to You so that You can wipe his tears and hold his hand. Give him relief from his suffering, and grant him peace. Give his family new strength and give them the means to support themselves. In the mighty name of Jesus we pray.

The second problem is kind of a fear thing. I am afraid that I will be ridiculed because of a choice to do the bariatric surgery. I am also a little worried that I might die, actually that does not scare me, what scares me is that my family might think that I risked my life foolishly in order to lose weight. Oh look, it's that old thing...fear of failure and fear of having people think poorly of me. God you are the only one I should be aiming to please. Let me know if you would like me to do this surgery. Let me know that all my fears are for nothing because I am in your hand and you have mapped out my life from before I was a twinkle in my mom's eye. Give me the courage to do what you will set before me and let me have peace over the decision.

Number 3 just makes me shaky. I mean there is nothing I can do if Nortel has made a contract such that when they go under I am without my disability. I just realized that I would lose 75% of my pay but not all of it, because some of it comes from the government. Hmm, see it's better aready. I don't think this one causes worry or for me to be scared. I won't think I've failed if Nortel goes down for the count.

Number 4, is the one that keeps me up nights worrying. This deal is for a mansion in florida. We would be buying the house as a part of a group. We would have access to 4 weeks of the house as would the other 4 couples. The rest of the time the house would be rented out by a professional that already has a contract made up. I think the concept is a sound one. I think the house could be wonderful for our family. The deal is that you give the current owner 10K for lawyer fees and assorted other fees. The house is then transferred to all of our names. Then each of us would get a charitible donation receipt for some amount and then with the tax refund every year we would pay off a 100K note. Should be paid off in 5 years. Then there is another note that we are responsible for but we don't pay the loan payment. This is paid by the proceeds of the vacation rentals. I see how this makes sense if you have the income to support it. But now our income is in question. I do not see going forward with this as very smart. Please Please God give me the trust in you if this is what you want us to do or close the window if it is not what you want us to do...

Walking with God is more like walking the high wire than walking on the beach...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

1Cor10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

You know church people often say there is a quote in the bible that says that God will not give you any more than you can handle. In fact it is not in the bible. God will not give you any more temptation than you can handle (that is the quote above). I believe that it is not there because, God will and does give you more than you can handle, but I've yet to come across a situation where He cannot handle it. The most difficult times in your (and my) life is when we lean on God the hardest. The leaning from what I gather from the scriptures is what God wants. He wants to show us even in the good times he wants us to lean more. He is our DLP (designated leaning post). We used to joke about it in University, the person with the least clout in the group (socially) was the DLP and we would all lean against that person. God is willing to do that for us. Support us.

I don't think He wants to be thought of as the person with the least clout though...but from time to time we put Him in that place. Well if no one else will talk with me about this issue I guess I will have to work it out with God. EEEEEK. Been there done that, hopefully never will do it again.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Oh Lord it's hard to be humble...really

Oh Lord, it's hard to be humble but I'm doin' the best I can

I am a bit of a dichotomy, as I guess most of us are. In some ways I am incredibly vain (computer stuff, stretching the money, reading fast) and in some ways I am incredibly insecure (my looks, being tactful, whether I measure up). But I think the more I think about it, the more I think that insecurity and vanity are the two sides of a coin. They both have no business with God. If I am putting my efforts into overcoming insecurity or putting my efforts into supporting my ego, both ways I am not letting God do the heavy lifting.

Matt 6:19 says "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal."

Let say that you treasured your fleshy abilities. Say maybe computer stuff. You were excellent in computer stuff and you spent your time keeping up with technology (say). Not that you weren't following God but occasionally (for months at a time, He was in the back seat). Like when the router needed a new DD-wrt update or when the iphone needed to be jailbroke...

How would one keep God from being delegated to the back, never mind the fact that He isn't driving? It is all a matter of time, money and thoughts. Hmm, where do your time, money, and thoughts go...? For me, it is mostly about thoughts. I daydream...a lot. I imagine all sorts of things, I imagine winning money (and giving it to God...can't figure out if I started to feel guilty about winning money so I decided to give it to God to assuage my guilt or it was my true intention).

Oh Holy Spirit give me purity of thought, let me believe in your strength so that you flourish in me...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sunflowers and Daisies and Tulips

I'm not much of a gardener, really I was born with a black thumb. People would leave their kids and their pets with me but their prize petunia...never.

But I appreciate them. Oh how I love flowers. I especially love colourful ones. Sometimes John will bring me home a bouquet of brightly coloured flowers and I am so thrilled about it. I must admit I love them way more than the elegant roses that he sometimes brings. The roses bring the oohs and aahs of other women but the bright coloured flowers raise my spirits and feed my soul. So when I found a picture of a sunflower with scripture on it, I printed it out and put it on a pen/pencil cup. Here is the pic:

I love that we serve the God of Sunflowers and Daisies and Tulips.


I do not need to defend myself!!!

I have been having an amazing time with God lately. He has been my shield and protector (and believe you me, I never thought I needed protection---I can handle myself tyvm!!). But I have learned that I do not need to protect/defend myself.

I have always done a remarkable job of defending myself. No one ever worried about me. I remember when I worked at Nortel, someone said to John, that he couldn't understand how John could be married me. I am fierce protecting my territory. I am not the worrier kind of protector. I am the you mess with my kids and I will mess with you kind of protector. lol. And it has been useful in the past. But God is urging me to put down that particular "skill". He is urging me to let Him protect me. And it is surprizingly easy to stop protecting myself and family. I've had many opportunities to practice in the last little while.

Instance #1: A couple of people challenged me on how I applied the bible to my life. Their point was that God never asked us to seek Knowledge (not even knowledge of Him). I felt that I needed to fight this injustice with reasoned words (which is better than I would have done I wasn't getting through. So when one of the people pushed me on it, from the safety of my email (I think way better in front of a computer) I told her that I felt God was leading me this way and that I would let Him defend me. And then when the other person just left it open to talk about it. I said how about we do what Gamaliel did in Acts, he said that if this is of God it will flourish and if it is not it will wither (my own words). I did not have to have the final word. I did not need to defend me. God did in a very mighty way. One of the people that had challenged my application of the bible, emailed me to tell me that they read the paper that had laid out why I thought what I thought and they said that they were wrong. God showed me so clearly that if I abide in Him I do not need to protect myself. Note: what Gamaliel said is not to be used to either prove or disprove God theories...after all we are still fighting prostitution...but I thought it was appropriate in this place as we would be able to see the fruit of the endeaver after some time...and the fruit would indicate whether I was right with God

Instance #2: I have been worried about the Federal Disability Tax Credit. It is one of those things that always ties me in knots. According to the strictest definition you would have to be dead in order to get the disability credit for a mental problem. I have been trying to find out how to get my wonderful Dr. to fill in the form to get me the tax credit (not lying of case you thought I would do that). But I was talking to my hubby and he said why don't you let her decide. Ever since Stewie lay on that MRI table and I had to fight for him to live (maybe if I had let go, God would have done it with a lot less anguish), I have been in an a mode where I do not trust Dr's to do what is right. This one also falls under the ego problem that I have...if you want it done right do it yourself. So now I am just filling in my portion of the form and sending it to my wonderful Dr. The worst that could happen is that I lose biggie. And the best part is that I am turning more of myself over to Him Who Made Me.

Instance #3: I go to a wonderful frugal board and interact with many amazing people. I am very careful to not push the Christianity thing but always to sign with blessings. I also make it a point to give way more than I take. Well someone started a thread about Friday the 13 that we just had recently. Someone had posted that religion is a lot like superstitions and I said that I made my decision for Christ only once I had made sure it was logical. I made reference to the fact that believers have better sex, are happier, live longer and are nicer. Someone took exception to this list of things. They wrote a fairly typical post about how a certain Christian was not nice at all. I responded well but I could have done better if I had let God defend me. She responded as I was heading back to the thread to edit my response. So I was unable to change my original post. I did apologize for being defensive. And then I built her up. It felt way better.

Instance #4: The little things count too! My kids have had a friend who's family situation is ugly. He is with us as much as he is at home. I have insomnia and all sorts of sleep problems so I was sleeping at 12 noon yesterday and the gaggle of teens woke me up...they were loud!! I came into their room asking if God had smote them as I was considering asking Him to. He looked at me and asked why? I said cuz I hadn't got to sleep until 6. He said it's noon, don't yell at us. I just smiled and walked away.

Now if only I could get over my need to "help" John's business by questioning why pays were taking so long. Again, I have had a lot of success in getting payments earlier than we may have otherwise, but I don't need to. John has done the work, the pay will come in when it is meant to...praying for that Mighty Hand of God to still my concern. This is an ego/fear thing. When I don't know when the money is coming in I cannot plan how we will allocate it. I fear if I don't allocate it early, I will fritter it away on FastFood. Which might be valid but I think God can handle a little problem like Wendy's!!!


Acts 5:35-39 Then he addressed them: "Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."

Friday, March 20, 2009

Why is this named The Pilgrimage Blog??

Well, in Mosaic law (exodus 23:17) God commanded the Israelites (just the men...maybe so the women would have some peace) to journey to the sacred spot where the arc of the covenant was located. I guess according to Indiana Jones they would all be visiting a warehouse somewhere in the States at the next feast. In King David's time this pilgramage was to Jerusalem. The location of the arc was known between 1220 BC (when Moses received the stone tablets) to 586 BC (where it was lost no one is quite sure how or why--possibly the Babylonian raid of the Temple). But during this period in time, the Israelites journeyed to Jerusalem during these 3 feasts. During this time they would sing the songs of ascent (Psalm 120 to 134) on the journey (or pilgrimage). Beth Moore has a bible study on this topic.

As Christians we are not required to pilgram to the ark (if it was found) but we are on a special pilgram to the New Jerusalem (heaven...). This is my pilgrimage to be closer to Christs example so that when Heaven comes I will get the most crowns and live in the biggest mansion and get to eat with Christ everyday... Sounds so silly. I have no idea what I would want for a lifetime spent trying follow God. I think I would be estatic just to dwell in His presence. Maybe it would be great to have energy and be healthy but I doubt I will even notice with the King of Kings in the house.

There is a completely different reason that I am calling this a pilgrimage. When I was in High School (Notre Dame College School was my alma mater), every year we would walk a pilgrimage for Jesus and aid of the developing world. It was for me a deeply spiritual time. I was very confused about what I believed (yep it took me until I was 37 before I let God into my life), but during that 20 km I felt something (not talking about the blisters). It always seemed to be the same, I had friends but I would get seperated from them and spend much of the time walking with my own thoughts, pretty uncomfortable for a teenage girl. I remember trying to walk with someone I knew slightly in order not to be alone with my thoughts. Anyway that pilgrimage started me seeking peace. I looked for years before I came upon it. The peace that passes all understanding. Jesus.

There are times that that immense peace is mine, but it seems to fade with time and the wash of the world. How do you hold onto the peace? I think if you hold too tightly to the peace, then it has lost it's significance. If we seek the fruits of the spirit but not Jesus then we will be able to do fruit...not even a shriveled up crab-apple.

John 15:5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
So this pilgrimage is as much about where I come from as where I am going. And on the Journey holding fast to the Prince of Peace.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Beginning the Journey

My mission should I choose to accept it

I'm unsure as how to start. But I know where I want to end up so how about I start with my goals in mind. I want to be God's girl. I want to follow Him where he would have me go. And I want to be alive with the Holy Spirit as I get there. Basically I want to trust Him so implicitly that He is well pleased.

That's the goal, the journey will be fraught with all sorts of difficulties. Most of these difficulties will be my ego and my self interfering with the plan God has laid out for me.

Where I am starting from

I have been a Christian since March 18, 2005. Wow I started this post on my 4th year anniversary of becoming a Christian...God is Good. It's kinda like a sign that this is the right thing to do in this season.

Before I was a New Creation

Before I became a Christian there were lots of things in my life that had got me down. For one, my son had flesh eating disease when he was 3 (April of 98). The doctors had taped his eyes shut for the MRI and I had thought he had died. I do not think I ever recovered from that day. For a couple of years he had severe itching at night and was awake a number of times. That ended when he had his plastic surgery in 2000 (I think it was the 3rd such surgery). When he started sleeping through the night and the throat infections stopped (with tonsillectomy), I finally gave myself permission to crash. It wasn't pretty. I spent 3 months in my bedroom staring at the ceiling. And then I started painting in the middle of the night (I was awake all the time). I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder II. Then at some point I started thinking there were bugs on me. It was like I was having this hallucination but there was a sane part of my brain saying "This is not real, don't panic". There were a few hospitalizations for suicide-ideation. I was a very sick puppy. Then in 2002 we took a Russ Whitney mentoring course with Jean L and he introduced us to the trio (Bob Primeau, Marc Jemus and Frank Roy). They had a building that we could invest in...problem was that the building was only worth 3/4 of what we paid (1.9 Mil). The building was said to be problem free (I guess they meant the roaches weren't complaining). So after 2.5 years we lost our shirts and ended up filing for a proposal. My Dad had alzheimers my brother in law had leukemia and I was searching for meaning. I had been searching for years for God to be real to me. I was raised Catholic and most of my sisters are strong Catholic Believers. I however, seemed to have been made cynical about the religion. I went to bible studies as a non-believer and was able to in my head accept the greatness of God, but I kind of didn't connect it to my heart.

The New Beginning

I took an Alpha course in the winter of 2004/2005 and on the Holy Spirit weekend gave my life to Christ. Two weeks later on April 1, 2005 my amazing hubby gave his life to The Creator of All. At the time I was tormented by horrible mind stuff. God gave me peace. The first peace I had had in years. Even in my depressions (after I gave my life to God) had a curious peace around them. I was joyful in my torment I guess. It was weird and I don't think anyone understood how I could say this. It was like all day long my mind would think every 5 seconds "I should kill myself" and it was agony, but I knew I had God in my corner and I was able to have peace and joy despite the onslaught. God gave me what I needed. I hid the torment from the kids. In fact, my youngest (who just turned 14) told me the other day that he didn't think I was disabled. I guess I hid it well. Thank you God for that, because you must have made both my boys completely

The Early Years of Faith

After I was a Christian for a couple of months, I lamented to my wonderful spiritual mentor that I couldn't stop sinning. I wasn't good enough and I wanted to know how to be better. She laughed and said, "You are only a sprout, you can't expect to have huge fruit yet". It was so true and so wise. Unfortunately, I have never been able to stop condemning myself for not being what God wants. More on this later. Here are some highlights from my bible (I write down when God does amazing stuff in my life)

-January 06. I always hated the singing parts in the Christian church. I love songs that I am familiar with and can sing and know the lyrics to, but there were just too many of them. I would seeth during the worship parts. I knew that it wasn't what God wanted me to do. I asked for His aid many times. And then I decided that if I was going to love God I needed to obey him. Even if I didn't like it. So during the song portions of the service, I would do my best to sing to Him and to raise my hands when I felt inspired. I no longer seeth but I can honestly say it is not my favorite part of the service.

-March 06. I have often been plagued with the notion that I am not sick enough to be on disability. I was put on disability not for the mood issues so much as the sleeping. I sleep regularly 14 hours a day. If I cut that down, I am angry and sarcastic all the time. I have tried to go back to work once with disasterous results. But I always want to become a productive member of society (condemnation I decided to search my bible and find what God wanted me to do with the work thing. The verse I found was 1Cor 12

14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
I was thinking that this verse said to me that God wanted me to be what I was. Apparently I decided that what I was was an engineer and darn it I better get back to it. Hubby asked me if I trusted him. I said "yes of course". He told me I wasn't ready to go back to work. A month or so later I had a huge depressive cycle. I let Hubby make all the major decisions about work and commitments for me. I tend to jump in with both feet and end up driving myself to a crash. Hubby knows me better than I know myself and is able to guide me on what I can handle.

- May 06 - I got baptized. I obeyed his command and I didn't say much of what I had been through but I didn't want to take up peoples time. (condemnation again) The verse that I talked about at my baptism was Phil 4:4-8. This verse means so much to me...the peace that transcends all understanding gets me every time. Hubby got baptized the same day!!

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
-Feb 14, 07 - At the urging of my mentor, I went to see a naturopath, Dr Warren. He gave me a list of foods not to eat: wheat (which I have expanded to any gluten), soy, yeast, dairy, tomatoes and meat, potatoes and meat, spinach, turnip (yay), coffee, tea, chocolate and msg. I went on this diet as of Feb 15th. When July came around, John said that he noticed that I hadn't had a bipolar episode since the new diet. Before this I was having an episode monthly at least. I was amazed. I tapered my drugs down to 0. GOD ROCKS MY SOCKS!!! Again I wanted to go back to work but John again said lets wait and see. The bipolar has not come back but I still have the problems with sleep. I sometimes sleep for 14 hours. I am exhausted all the time.

Feb 08 - I was sleeping in one Sunday in February (it's extremely hard to get up for church sometimes) and John went to church. When he came home he said that the Head Elder was leaving the church and he noticed that my mentor wasn't there along with most of my friends. I was confused. And when it all shook out, I was incredibly hurt. It turns out that they were all unhappy with the church and it's decisions and that they all as a group decided to leave. Because John and I were happy, they didn't tell us. I felt incredibly abandoned and unloved and I condemned myself for failing yet again. I was so miserable that I decided to get away. I would have liked to go to a retreat...pamper myself and surround myself with God. We could not afford that. I left at 11:00 at night and went to a dive of a motel (it was really bad) and read a book by Max Lucado about the 23rd Psalm. As I paid my motel bill I noticed that the owner had a sign up proclaiming himself to be Christian. I came home at 4:00AM so refreshed and in love with God that I was able to move forward, bear no grudges and I changed churches. Not because I had problems with the old church but because I needed my mentors. I am still learning from the fall-out of that day. I'm sure I shall touch on the lessons learned as soon as I learn them.

Sept 08- Left my bible study because I felt the leader had been giving us untruth. Thank goodness I do not have a memory to remember why I felt this but I I'm sure it was a misunderstanding. My leader sends me an email to not bring up my concerns at bible study, John tells me that I am too advanced in my understanding of the bible to talk about openly in a group where there are young Christians. I leave the group. But I am feeling cast out (because of my condemnation thing) and it helps fuel the coming depression.

Sept 08- A new doctor told me that what I needed to do was to change my diet to be vegan and do the yeast elimination diet. He does diagnose me with Chronic Fatigue. 5 days after I started I noticed that I was depressed. It became more and more marked that I called the doctor and visited vegan sites to see why I would be feeling depressed. No one had an answer. I stayed on the diet for 2 months. I go back to the bible study group because I need my friends in this depression. I finally was rid of the depression in December.

Dec 08- I have been avoiding God. I don't read His word. I pray but not a lot. I don't seek Him. I am weary. The condemnation has finally come home to roost. I am feeling the weight of all the ways I am not pleasing God, and it's easier to avoid Him than to face that burden.

Feb 09- I have decided to give myself permission to be free of anything that causes condemnation in my relationship with God. I don't beat myself up if I do not read the bible. I do not get upset with myself if I do not do my bible study. I do not feel guilt at not praying my prayer list. I go to tea with my mentor and she cautions me that this is how people fall away from God. She suggests that I do some bible studies that are made for just this feeling. I tell her that that is the last thing I need. I don't need to prove that I love God, He knows I do. I need to let Him show His love for me so that I can be set free of the condemnation. She is not happy with this. I order a book called Better Off Than You Think: God's Astounding Opinion of You by Ralph Harris. It is outstanding. For me it has given me hope that God does not condemn me the way I condemn me. I read the bible way more. I do my bible studies. I pray more. By giving myself the freedom to not feel condemnation when I don't do what I am supposed to, I am back on the path. I believe that I will still struggle with condemnation and feelings of failure but it will no longer drive me from God. It will drive me to Him. Happy sigh.

Mar 09- My bible study leader asks me if I think seeking knowledge is what Jesus asks us to do. I say of course. We are to seek to understand the ways of God. We are to go deep into the scriptures to get insights into how he loves us and how we are to behave and think and feel. She is so greatly concerned for my ennui (cool word eh...look it up). She tells me that God doesn't give a hoot about what knowledge I have about Him. He is only interested in the heart. She and another lady keep at me hoping I will agree that my gift (knowledge and the ability to interpret scriptures) is not a gift and that it is bringing me to destruction. I think they fear that I am becoming a Knowledge for knowledge sake kind of girl. I tell them that right now I feel that God and I are in sync and that how I am using my "gift" is pleasing Him. John sends my bible leader an email saying that in my best interest he is suggesting I leave this bible study. I have learned so much in this encounter. There will be many revisits to God's wonder in all of this.

And Here We Are...