Will March Come In Like a Lion or a Lamb?

Here in Alberta, we’re carefully watching for the first signs of Spring.  Gophers peeking out of their holes, with hawks and eagles circling overhead just in case those gophers decide to stray too far out from the safety of their burrows ;)  We’re also measuring how far the snow drifts are melting with every passing Chinook, but we also know that winter is not over…it’s just in a lull.

March has two major weather patterns here in Alberta: snow and wind, or wind and snow.  You say that’s not much difference…au contraire!  Snow and wind means that March has likely come in like a lion.  Roaring in with blizzard conditions that has us slip-sliding our way into the middle of the month and begging for warmth!  Wind and snow means that we’ve got “lamb-like” conditions, a little blustery perhaps but likely the warm west winds will melt rather than add onto the snow accumulation.  The thing is, it’s not the beginning of the month I look towards most years, it’s the last week of March that often has me curled up in a fetal position wondering why I still live in this frozen wasteland.  It’s just hinting of Spring but those depressing April Showers bring in freezing white hail storms that stomp and wreck havoc all over any unlucky sprouts in my garden that are just peeking up through the dirt.

So will March come in like a lion or a lamb?  That’s not the question.  It’s whether or not March will romp merrily out of the way to give us a sweet reprieve before April careens in with the last vestiges of the white stuff?

Oh, until May…

Chuck Norris was here

Persistence Pays Off !

prayer_poster_350Think about a request you would like to make of God, but before you do, decide how this request will benefit God.  Will this request build up the Kingdom, will it have eternal consequences?  Those are questions I have been pondering upon for some time now, and has challenged me to think about what I ask of God.

Am I engaged in persistent, persevering and powerful prayer?  Praying so that I continually come before the Lord in earnest, humble prayer, and then expecting that God will hear and answer according to His perfect will.

Am I bold in prayer?  Do I keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking (Luke 11: 9), never give up (Luke 18: 4-5), keep pleading (Genesis 18: 16-33)?  The thing about praying is that we live in a world that is all about immediate gratification.  We can microwave something to eat in two minutes, we can email, text, and surf the web in a millisecond.  If it doesn’t happen immediately, we become frustrated and if it doesn’t happen according to our fast-paced timetable we give up and move on to something else that will gratify us quicker.  Prayer is not like that.

Remember that request I asked you to think about?  If you are requesting something of God and you are expecting Him to answer immediately, chances are you’re going to be disappointed.  Certainly God has answered prayers instantaneously, sometimes even before they were asked, but more often than not, God takes His time; He works on a different timetable than ours.  His timing is perfect so it may take years and years and years for Him to answer your prayer.  If that is the case, and you’ve been waiting a long time, have you given up?  Have you stopped praying?

I am guilty of giving up when God has taken too much time to answer my prayer.  Another thing I’m guilty of is not praying big enough.  I limit God by the way I pray.  It shows my unbelief that He can’t or won’t answer my prayers.  If you don’t pray big, you can’t expect God to answer big!

It is important, too that when we pray that our joy and thankfulness to God not fluctuate with our circumstances, our needs or our feelings.  We are to rejoice, give thanks and continue to persevere in prayer.  Although we may not always understand it, perseverance may bring about unexpected blessings.

“”Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”  Romans 5:3-4

God hears us when we pray: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask- we know that we have what we asked of Him.”  (1 John 5:14-15)  It is important to note that we must ask in line with His will.   People often pray for things that they want instead of what God desires for us.  He wants only what is best for us so check that you are praying according to His will not your will.

It gives me great encouragement when I look to John Wesley as an example.

John Wesley, the great Methodist preacher, encountered many times of refusal, and denial, during his early years in the ministry.  He logged a few of these instances in his diary:

Sunday, A.M., May 5    Preached in St. Anne’s. Was asked not to come back anymore.
Sunday, P.M., May 5     Preached in St. John’s. Deacons said “Get out and stay out.”
Sunday, A.M., May 12    Preached in St. Jude’s. Can’t go back there, either.
Sunday, A.M., May 19    Preached in St. Somebody Else’s. Deacons called special meeting and said I couldn’t return.
Sunday, P.M., May 19    Preached on street. Kicked off street.
Sunday, A.M., May 26    Preached in meadow. Chased out of meadow as bull was turned loose during service.
Sunday, A.M., June 2    Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway.
Sunday, P.M., June 2    Afternoon, preached in a pasture. Ten thousand people came out to hear me.

Persistence pays off !

Do You Love Me?

HeartOur Pastor posed a question a while back to our congregation: “Do you love God more today than yesterday?”  It’s a question that made me squirm uncomfortably in my seat.  I must have felt exactly as Peter felt when Jesus posed the same question to him after Peter had denied Christ three times.

“Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”

(“Lynn, do you truly love Me more than these?”)

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

(“Yes, Lord,” I said, “You know that I love You.”)

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?”

(Again Jesus said, “Lynn, do you truly love Me?”)

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

(I answered, “Yes Lord, You know that I love You.”)

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

(The third time He said to me, “Lynn do you love Me?”)

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me?”  He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

(Lynn was hurt because Jesus asked her a third time, “Do you love Me?”  She said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love You.”)

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

There is no question that I love Jesus.  How can You ask me that question Lord?  Of course I love You

but…….

Oh no!  There it is….there it is!  There’s that wicked three letter word!  Peter doesn’t voice it, I don’t voice it but our actions speak it loud and clear.

but……

Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them.  “Lord, what about him?”

(Lynn turned and saw the others whom Jesus loved, “Lord, what about them?”)

The heart gives us both away.

Jesus answered, “….what is that to you?  You must follow me.”  (John 21:15-23)

“If anyone wishes to come after me”, he said, “he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Lk. 9:23).

What Does the Fox Say?

holding-ears-300x195Since the early fifties when Rock and Roll gyrations from Elvis caused parents and judgemental clergy to make bonfires of the “satanic” records that were corrupting the youth of the nation, the beat (or should I say debate) goes on!

I will admit I have a very eclectic taste in music.  I have everything on my iPod from classical Mozart to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”.  Yes, I even have Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” (although I still can’t get the mental image of her licking a sledgehammer from my mind).  Be careful little eyes what you see!

And that’s the debate.  Should we be supporting those artists in the industry by buying their CD’s and listening to their music when they have clearly stepped over the boundaries of good taste and moral ineptitude?  Should we be encouraging artists to continue to create music, those who use such explicit language on records (or in their videos and film) that would make even the most worldly truck driver cringe?…(my apologies to all Truck Drivers for overgeneralizing here.)  Should we allow our children to listen to music that seeks to exploit sex, women and promotes violence.  Hey, don’t get me started on video games either!

The fact is, the secular music industry is catering to the worldly audience and we, as Christians, should not be surprised by that.  It’s a huge multi-billion dollar industry and if there is a demand for their product, they will continue to sign less-than-talented singers with filthy mouths and filthy minds to record labels.

It would be easy to say by those in the industry: “Well if you don’t like hearing what we’re playing then just turn the radio or T.V. off.”  I would respond that the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality does not work.  Radio stations are notorious for censoring out offensive language by cleaning it up on air, luring kids into buying the product only to have their ears assaulted as soon as the music is downloaded.  Commercials on T.V. use popular music and artists to sell their brand.  Walking through a mall, pop and rap music is blaring through speakers in every store.  Just like your nose may be assaulted by walking by the makeup counter at the Bay, the ears are equally assaulted by the music booming overhead when you’re trying on a pair of jeans in a change room.

I took an informal poll of some of my younger friends who admitted they don’t always understand the lyrics in a song but they buy the music because it has a “good beat”.

I totally get that.  I’ve done that myself.  I get sucked into the musicality of the song and ignore the lyrics until I download the song and realize I’ve just become victimized by a subliminal message that was hidden under the guise of a “good beat”.  Be careful little ears what you hear!

I have often said I am not in favour of censorship.  I believe that telling people what they can and cannot do is just inviting people to be rebellious.  It’s in our fallen nature to succumb to worldly pursuits.  Paul said it: ” I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15)  That said, we can’t allow our fallen nature to give us the excuse to sin.  So I’m asking the question: is it sinful to listen to worldly music?

Hmmmmmmm.

Should I be erasing my iPod before it “wre…e…e…cks me”?

 

 

 

Valentine’s Prayers for My Children

True LoveI believe in the power of what I call “Valentine’s Prayers” for each of my children.  Praying they would one day find their lifetime Valentine just like I found mine thirty-five years ago!

From the day my children were born, I began praying for their future spouses.  Some may call it odd to be praying for two boys and one girl, whom I had never met, nor would likely meet until my two daughters and my son introduced the “love of their life” to me for the first time.  The thing is, if I believe that God has mapped out a plan for my three children and if it is His purpose to see them married, I believe He has also chosen a perfect spouse for each of them.

I know that we live in a culture where there seems to be a tension between what God’s plan is and our “choices” and I will admit that when my kids started bringing home their friends and I met prospective “dates”, I wasn’t sure if God’s plan and their choice meshed.  Still, I prayed that if God was directing their steps, He would also eventually lead them to the “right” one.

By God’s design, when my oldest daughter was in university, she started dating a six-foot seven young man who had (and still has) the healthiest appetite we had ever seen.  He was not a Christian and that concerned me greatly.  I questioned God’s plan and wondered why my prayer for a Godly spouse for her seemed to go awry.  I needn’t have feared…

My daughter knew she could not continue a relationship with a non-Christian and urged him to attend Alpha classes with her and weeks later he accepted the Lord.  In their ten years of marriage, my tall son-in-law has attended seminary and attained a Bachelor of Christian Ministry and is serving the Lord as a Biblical Counsellor.  My daughter and he are Godly parents to my two grandbabies and I praise God for the boy I prayed for when my daughter was only days old.

My son, started attending a Christian school in Grade eight and a few days later I was introduced to his new friend, a sweet girl with a wide smile and a mouth full of braces.  Their friendship grew through high school and into university and we praise God that we will be blessed to welcome a new daughter-in-law into our family on August 10th, 2014.  She is a girl who loves God with all her heart, mind, soul and strength and she loves my son.  She is the answer to my prayers for my son while I rocked him in my arms as a baby.

My youngest daughter has been dating a young man for the past year.  He has a warm smile, a hearty laugh and treats our girl with respect.  He is showing some interest in learning about God, and I pray one day he will place his full trust and faith in Him.   It is, after all, a prayer I have prayed for each of my children from the time they were infants, for all their friends, and for their future spouses.  I have no doubt if my daughter is allowing God to direct her steps (Proverbs 16:9), my Valentine’s Prayers for her will also be answered!

I’m Offended by the Rainbow Flag

I am offended.  Yes I amStraight Flag.  Ever since the Sochi Olympics started and the whole debate of supporting LGTBQ athletes there, Canadian City Halls, Universities, Colleges and other recognized Government agencies are flying Rainbow flags.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I don’t have a problem with the pretty flags, I have a problem with the fact that a minority of people in Canada get their own flag, but there’s no flag of support or formal recognition for those of us who aspire to “straightness”…and we’re in the majority!

Don’t we deserve a flag?  Don’t we deserve recognition for the way we love?  Shouldn’t we celebrate our uniqueness too? Shouldn’t we stand up for the fact that we are proud of being straight, raising our family in a one mommy, one daddy home and we live quite happily that way.  We don’t even have a parade!  Yep, I think it’s unfair AND I’m offended that we heterosexual people don’t have the same rights and freedoms as our LGTBQ brothers and sisters.

We want a flag!

I’m wondering if my idea of a “Straight” flag will garner the same negativity and intolerance from some as the Rainbow Flag once did?  Or will it one day be as championed in Parliament and eventually sanctioned by Hollywood North?  Will more and more celebrities and ordinary folk boldly come forward and espouse to being straight without fear of discrimination and tribulation?   Will we be seen as “normal” or will we be judged harshly for our heterosexual views.  Oh, and will it be even worse if we also claim to be Christian?

Are you listening Parliamentarians?  Straight people want a flag flown up on Parliament Hill too!  A parade would be nice too…

“But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female. ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”  (Mark 10:6)

 

 

 

Olympic Fever

hidy-and-howdyI suppose it started for me when Calgary hosted the Winter Olympics in 1988.  There is something about having your home town play host to one of the greatest sporting events in history.  The atmosphere, the camaraderie, the excitement and of course, the national pride surpassed anything we had ever experienced before…and that even includes the Stampeders winning the Grey Cup or the Calgary Flames winning the Stanley Cup…although that 1989 Cup win for the Flames was pretty sweet :)

I was teaching preschool in 1988 and my daughter was only four years old.  The Olympic Flame came through our community and my husband and I got to run with the flame, our four year old holding my hand as we ran.  It is a memory I will always cherish.

My husband had been competing in two-men bobsled leading up to the Olympics.  Although his bobsled career was relatively short-lived, watching him go down the new bobsled track prior to the Olympics made me very proud of my would-be “Olympian”.

We had managed to get a couple of tickets to the Ice Dancing competition and riding the LRT (light rapid transit) into Calgary that day was an experience all in itself.  My daughter was in her stroller and a young man with a wide smile spoke to her while she waved and pointed at his pin-adorned lapel.  His accent was pronounced but I managed to discover from his broken English that he was one of the goalies for the West German hockey team.  He had spent the morning exploring the city and was now on his way back to the Olympic Village.  As we were about to step off the LRT to take the short walk to the Saddledome to cheer on the Canadian duo, Tracy Wilson and RobManley, Elizabeth McCall skate in the preliminary competition en route to their Bronze Medal win, our new German Goalie friend gallantly helped me negotiate the bulky stroller out of the train.  Then he quickly pulled off a pin from his lapel and gave it to me before he jumped back on the train and waved “good-bye”, his wide smile beaming at us as we waved back.  That gift of a lapel pin started my Olympic Pin collection I have to this day!  When Canada played the West Germans later that week in hockey, although my heart was with Team Canada, I cheered loudly whenever the German Goalie made a save.  Canada won 8 – 1, and I couldn’t help feeling a little sad for my goalie friend from Germany.

As I watched the opening ceremonies from Sochi last night, I immediately began reminiscing about our Olympic experiences in 1988.  My daughter hugging on Hidy and Howdy, the Calgary Olympic mascots, as they greeted us at the Saddledome that day.  Cheering on Eddie the Eagle, the British ski jumper who crashed more than sailed through the skies but became a “legend” Eddie the Eaglenonetheless, and the debut of the Jamaican Bobsled team who came in dead last in the four man event but came in first in the hearts of all Calgarians and the rest of the world.  Watching little Elizabeth Manley win silver in Figure Skating and cheering on the “Battle of the Brians” (Brian Boitano and Brian Orser) in the men’s competition made us all proud to witness history in the making.  It was a great time for all Calgarians.  It was a great time for all Canadians!

It was wonderful to see Calgarian, Hayley Wickenheiser be the flag bearer for Team Canada in Sochi yesterday.  She represents the legacy of fine athletes around the world who were inspired by the Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988.  No doubt history will be made in Russia at these 2014 Games and youngsters will be inspired to compete in future Olympics.  It would be nice if everyone could just ignore all the controversies surrounding these games, and stop making threats to national security and just focus on the world’s athletes with their stories of strength and endurance and fair play.  Olympics should be a time of peace and world unity.  Wonder if we, as Nations, can put aside political and social differences just for a couple of weeks?

That’s worth cheering for!