25 Encouraging Bible Verses for the Loss of a Pet

dd59d3213afcf9b8e07d6d136d39b55bThere is great debate amongst Bible scholars whether or not animals will go to heaven.  Questions arise whether or not animals and pets have a “spirit”, and whether or not animals have a “soul”.  The main question I was recently asked is whether or not we will be reunited with our beloved pets in heaven.  To that last question I say, “YES!”

I have lost several of my fur- babies over my lifetime.  I miss each and every one of them.  They were part of my family and I mourned their loss when they died.  In Genesis 1:2 the Spirit of God is “hovering over the waters” (Ruach Elohim – Greek)  This Greek word: Ruach is translated “breath of life” and Genesis 8:1 uses ruach to describe the “wind” God sent over the earth to recede the flood waters.  Altogether the word ruach is used almost 400 times in the Old Testament.  All living creatures owe the “breath of life” to God.  (Job 27:3).

There is no doubt in my mind that God breathed life into my precious pets, as He has breathed life into me and into all living creatures.  There are also several scripture passages that make me believe that ALL creatures are loved by God and He has plans for His children and the lesser creatures to enjoy His eternal Kingdom together.  Psalm 145: 9-10; 13; 15-21.

Still the question remains whether or not animals have souls.  In order to answer that question we must understand that animals were put under the dominion of man and did not have that free choice to repent of sin and be “saved” as we humans understand  salvation.  The Christian concept of heaven is inextricably linked with the concepts of salvation, redemption, and resurrection.  The Bible is clear that redemption is necessary for human beings because we are “fallen” beings.  Humans have free will and thus have the ability to sin or not to sin.  Humans may choose salvation (to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour) or reject Him.  Animals, however, have never “fallen”, therefore redemption is not necessary for animals.  Animals cannot choose between good and evil (to sin or not to sin).  When animals behave badly, it is generally because of a conflict between their God-given natures and our human requirements.  If there is no justification, sanctification or redemption for animals does that mean there is no glorification?  I believe there is if I read Romans 8:19 -21 correctly. “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God”.

I also believe because animals do not “choose” to sin that ALL animals will go to heaven, even the naughty ones who by their very nature may misbehave badly – at least according to our human standards of what constitutes poor pet behaviour.  Animals act instinctively and cannot be faulted if they bite, scratch or even kill because of their nature to survive.  As pet owners, we must be responsible to raise our pets “in the way they should go”, by providing for their needs and giving them the love and care, so they are never abused or neglected.  WE will be judged by our treatment of them, not vice versa!

So, I suppose the ultimate question is not whether or not your pet goes to heaven, but whether or not YOU DO!  This whole debate is moot otherwise.  If you are doubtful about YOUR eternal life read: The Gospel Message: Get it? Got it? Good!!

I am praying that I will be welcomed into the presence of my Saviour at the end of my lifetime, and that He will say, “Well done, good and faithful Servant…come into your reward…” (Matthew 25:23)  Then I hope to see running to greet me all my loved ones including my purring and barking fur-babies, all clambering to give me hugs and kisses…each in their own way!

Here are more encouraging scriptures for those who love, have loved and lost a precious pet:

Psalm 36:6  “Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord.”

Genesis 1:30  “And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.”

Genesis 6:19-22  “You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept live. You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”  Noah did everything just as God commanded him.”

Revelation 4:11  “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

Job 12:7-10  “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you.  Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”

Genesis 9:8-17  “Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”  And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”  So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

Revelation 5: 13  “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”

Matthew 10:29  “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.

Ecclesiastes 3:18-21  “I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?”

Psalms 50:10-11  “for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.  I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine.”

Hosea 2:18-20  “In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground.  Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety.  I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.”

Psalm 36:6  “Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep.  You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.”

2 Samuel 12: 1-6  “The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.  “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”  David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

Proverbs 12:10  “The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.”

Proverbs 27:23  “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds.”

Isaiah 11:6-9  “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.  The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.  The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.  They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

Revelation 21: 4-5   ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Isaiah 65:17  “See, I will create new heavens and a new earth.  The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.”      

Isaiah 65:25  “The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food.  They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the Lord.”

2 Peter 3:13  “But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.”

Psalm 104:26-35  “There the ships go to and fro, and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.  All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time.  When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.  When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.  When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.  May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works—he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke.  I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.  May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.  But may sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more.  Praise the Lord, my soul.  Praise the Lord.”

Psalm 148:5-14  “Let them praise the name of the Lordfor at his command they were created, and he established them for ever and ever—he issued a decree that will never pass away.  Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and women, old men and children.  Let them praise the name of the Lordfor his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
And he has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his faithful servants, of Israel, the people close to his heart.  Praise the Lord.”

Romans 8:18-22  “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

Philippians 3:20-21  “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”

Psalm 145:21  “My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.  Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in 25 Encouraging Bible Verses - Topical, Inspiration & Devotion, Proverbs 16:9 - Journey Thoughts, Scripture Study | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

How Do I Love Thee?

how-do-i-love-theeHow Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43) by: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1806 – 1861

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends of being and ideal grace.

I love thee to the level of every day’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

I love thee freely, as men strive for right.

I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use

In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

Perhaps one of the most “lovely” – pardon the pun, poems of all time.  Every Valentine’s Day, it seems to be the one that is quoted most by lovers all over the world, well, at least the first two lines:  “How Do I Love Thee?  Let Me Count the Ways…”

The beautiful sentiment and meaning of the sonnet all but lost in comedic sketches and cheesy Hallmark cards we laugh at while shopping at the dollar store.  You know what I’m talking about.  Often times the husband or wife depicted in the sketch or card will actually count the ways:

How do I love you, let me count the ways”:

ONE.  I love you when you take the garbage out… (open the card) and I’ll love you even more if I don’t have to nag you to do it every time!

TWO.  I love you when you cook me dinner…(open the card) and I’ll love you even if it results in a trip to the hospital for food poisoning.

THREE.  I love you when I ask if I look fat in that dress, when I know I do but you say that I don’t…

We have all but ruined Browning’s poem!

Like the sweet words of sentiment my son wrote to me one Valentine’s Day when he was five:

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

Sugar is sweet,

And I am too.

(He didn’t quite understand the concept…)

Or how about this one, written by a close friend of mine?:

Roses are red,

Violets are great,

Just remember girdles

Cost two-ninety-eight.

I know it’s often said, “It’s the thought that counts.”  Not in this case.

But let’s get back to Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  Born in 1806, in Durham, England, she was the oldest of twelve children.  For centuries, the Barrett family lived in Jamaica, where they owned sugar plantations and relied on slave labour. Elizabeth’s father, Edward chose to raise his family in England, while his fortune grew in Jamaica.  Elizabeth was well-educated at home and by the time she was twelve was already writing poetry inspired by John Milton’s epic poem, “Paradise Lost” and her love of Shakespeare.  Elizabeth was always battling poor health but that did not detour her from teaching herself Hebrew in her teen years so she could read the Old Testament; and later her interests turned to Greek studies.  Along with her appetite for classic literature, was a passionate enthusiasm for her Christian faith.  She became active in the Bible and Missionary Societies of her church.

A series of misfortunes hit the Barrett family in the 1830’s, where they all but lost their fortune due to the growing abolitionist movement which Elizabeth endorsed, much to her father’s dismay.  Her father sent his other children to work on the plantation but Elizabeth, due to poor health, stayed home with her father and continued to write a collection of poems which eventually garnered attention in 1844 from the poet, Robert Browning.  Elizabeth had praised him in one of her poems, and he in response wrote her a letter.  Elizabeth and Robert (6 years her junior) exchanged 574 letters over the next twenty months, but their romance was bitterly opposed by her father, who did not want any of his children to marry.  In 1846, the couple eloped and settled in Florence, Italy.  Her father never spoke to her again.  Elizabeth regained her health and had a son and she published a collection of sonnets in 1850 that she had written in secret before her marriage, including “How Do I Love Thee” that was dedicated to her husband.

Why am I sharing this?

Elizabeth Barrett Browning could not have penned a more perfect love letter to her husband.  It has been analyzed and re-analyzed by English Literature scholars who have tried, and in my opinion, failed to adequately define and interpret the amazing love she was purposefully trying to express to her husband through this one poem.

I think, and this is just my own opinion, of course, most of the scholars just don’t “get” the poem, because they do not fully grasp the Christian concept of love she has woven intricately throughout her poem.

Indulge me for a moment:

How do I love thee, let me count the ways.”

There are actually 6 ways in the Bible to count the ways of love.  Being a Hebrew and Greek scholar, Barrett would have known that.

In the Old Testament there are two Hebrew words that are translated into English as “love”:

Ahab” – is human love for another, including family, friends, spouses and God.  Ahab – is the “love” expressed in the great commandment in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

And in Leviticus 19:18, “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

The second Hebrew word, “hesed” is the unbreakable bond that God initiates with Abraham and Sarah and their descendants:  “Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you, I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-3

It is not conditional love, “If you do this, then I will do that.” There are no “ifs” in these promises of God. There are no time limits; no cancellation clauses. This is a covenant bond between God and Abraham and their descendants defined in the story of Moses, the escape from slavery in Egypt and the giving of the Ten Commandments. And so, while hesed has the feelings of love, kindness, mercy, and affection it is defined primarily by the unconditional, steadfast, loyal, faithfulness, and trustworthiness of God.  Hesed continues even when feelings change. God’s anger and punishment is ALWAYS expressed within the constraint of this unbreakable covenant bond, and is ALWAYS for the purpose of restoring the mutuality of that bond.

Further qualities that are also embedded in hesed are righteousness and justice; harmony and well-being. Notice that in the verse quoted, in Genesis 12, God says, “I will bless you so that you will be a blessing.” So, while God’s covenant bond is unbreakable and unconditional, it is not an “anything goes” relationship. It is a bond that has a purpose: so that you will be a blessing. And the nature of this blessing is justice: right relationships with family, foreigners, slaves, the land, animals, etc., etc.; and harmony and well-being for all.

In the New Testament there are four Greek words that are translated into English as “love”:

The word, charitas, is often translated as “charity,” and it connotes feelings of generosity, gratitude, favour, pleasing others, and finding beauty and delight in service to others. It is selfless love. 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13 speaks about this kind of love. You may note too, it is the scripture most often quoted at weddings, when the Pastor is trying to tell young newlyweds, from this day forward, it’s NOT all about you as individuals anymore. It’s that balanced partnership of constantly striving to love your spouse more than yourself! (Am I right, or am I right? 🙂 )

The Greek word, eros, is named after the Greek god of love. His Roman counterpart was Cupid (meaning desire). This “love” is associated with sexual desire, romance and what we most often equate with Valentine’s Day. Solomon’s Song of Songs is a good example of this kind of love.

Phileo, is commonly associated with “brotherly love,” and is most often exhibited in a close friendship. Best friends will display this generous and affectionate love for each other as each seeks to make the other happy. Since phileo love involves feelings of warmth and affection toward another person, we do not have phileo love toward our enemies. However, God commands us to have love toward everyone. This includes those whose personalities clash with ours, those who hurt us and treat us badly, and even those who are hostile toward our faith.

Luke 6:28 “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

Matthew 5:44 “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

That type of love is Agape love.  It is God’s unconditional, unbreakable bond of love; kindness, and mercy so that we might live together with righteousness, justice, harmony and well-being. When Jesus quotes the Great Commandment from Deuteronomy and Leviticus, it is Agape love He is referring to. It is the most powerful, noblest type of love.  It is sacrificial love.  Agape love is more than a feeling – it is an act of the will.  This is the love that God has for His people and prompted the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus, for our sins.  Jesus was Agape love personified.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

Agape is used to describe the love that is of and from God, Whose very Nature is love itself: “God is love” (1 John 4:8)  God does not merely love; HE IS LOVE itself.  Everything God does flows from His love.

Understanding that, let’s read Elizabeth Browning’s second line of her poem again:

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height”  – Stop there.

Have you heard of that kind of love?

Ephesians 3:14-19,  Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians: “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Immediately a Worship song comes to mind: “How deep the Father’s Love for us, How vast beyond all measure, that He should give His only Son to make a wretch his treasure.”

We cannot fathom that kind of love, can we?

That is Agape love and although we’re called as Christians to have that kind of love for our spouses, friends, family and enemies, Agape love does not come naturally to us.  Because of our fallen nature, we are incapable of producing such a love.  If we are to love as God loves – with agape love – we can only do so if we tap into its very Source.  This is the love that “has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” when we became His children (Romans 5:5). “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16).  It is because of God’s love toward us, we are able to love one another.

In Elizabeth’s love poem to her husband, she endeavors to list the many ways in which she loves Robert.  She loves him to the length and breadth and height her soul can reach and also on the level of every day’s quiet need.  She loves him purely and passionately.  She loves him as she once did her saints, and with the smiles and tears of her whole life.  And if God lets her, she will love him more after death than she does while she is living.

“I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.”

God’s power over the body and soul in death seems to be the only thing that Browning acknowledges is stronger than the love she has for her husband.

Such beautiful sentiments to ponder upon for Valentine’s Day, but even Browning’s sonnets fall short of expressing the kind of love we can only experience by being in a personal, intimate relationship with God the Father.

There may be many ways of conveying Love, but Jesus, WHO is LOVE embodied, is the ONLY PERFECT, manifested expression of Love to us,…

And it is In His Word, He writes the perfect Love Letter to us:

 

http://www.fathersloveletter.com/

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From the Heart

259x400x3369782d_gif_pagespeed_ic_mr6gw0xg0dI have a little red autograph book that I have had since I was a kid.  Throughout school and into my college years I collected signatures and autographs from family, friends and sports heroes.  The first entry in my book are these words my mother wrote to me the Christmas of 1967:

“Dear Lynn!

When you were born, you cried, and people around you smiled.  May your life be such that when you leave you smile, and people around you are crying!”

Certainly when I read those words I thought that my little book would be filled with poignant blessings and sentimental poetry that would inspire and uplift me.  She adds this little ditty two pages later:

“Dear Lynn!

When you get tired of T.V. shows, climb up a tree and talk to the crows!”

That sort of set the tone for the rest of the book:

My brother Jack wrote:

“If I had a rifle, this is what I’d do, I’d tranquilize an old bear and take it to the zoo.”

Another “friend” wrote in June 1968:

“When you are tired and out of shape, remember girdles are $2.98.”

Dianne

Or how about this one my friend Tanya wrote to me in grade nine?  We were in the middle of watching the Stanley Cup playoffs and my favorite team at the time were the Montreal Canadiens:

“Just think, that if you were –

As good as Guy Lafleur

I’d never see you at all

‘Cause you’d be in Montreal!

….even the traditional “Roses are red” sentiment was distorted by another “friend”:

“Roses are red,

Violets are green,

You have a figure like a

Washing machine!”

*sigh*

You would think that based on those little rhymes I would have given up on finding that perfect heart-felt wording from someone that is usually found on the inside of a Hallmark card.  No such luck.  If I thought that I would have romantic poetry spewed in my direction I was sadly disappointed.  I had my eye on a certain handsome naval lieutenant in  the summer of 1977 and I thought surely this man might have some romantic poetic potential:

“To my dearest Lynn,”  (Certainly this started off as promising…)

When I return next year,  I hope you’re still free;

If not I’ll go as high as $1.49.”

Steve.

Word of advice guys…those words will NEVER win over a girl’s heart!

Flash forward to February 1978.  A new school term had just started at the University of Victoria where I was studying education.  I was busily scouring the book shelves at the bookstore, looking for the text books I needed for my courses.  Charles and I had only been dating for a very short time…enough time to know that there was a spark between us, but still not enough time to commit to saying we were in a “relationship”.  (This was waaaaaay before Facebook don’t you know.)  My “boyfriend” looked politely bored as he watched me go up and down the aisles.  He had a physics paper to write later for his class, and he seemed more interested in the Hot Rod magazines on the rack at the front desk than anything else.  I took idle note of the Valentine hearts dangling from strings around the store.  Valentine’s Day had never been one of my most favorite days of the year.  I had a small collection of silly cards that potential suitors thought would win my heart…they were wrong.  I hadn’t known Charles that long and so far, Charles’ only written communication to me was a hastily written note left on the windshield of my car.  “I’ll meet you later at the Student’s Union Building for coffee.  ‘C’ ”  Based on that I wasn’t holding out much hope that he would be that poetry-writing Romeo I was hoping for.  After all one of our first dates was me passing him wrenches while he put a new transmission into his hopped up muscle car.

I glared at him as he pulled a car magazine from the rack and I harumphed at him and batted a floating heart with irritation as I went in search of yet another textbook at the back of the store.

Five minutes later, I had my books in my hand and we walked towards the door.

“Here.” he said.

I thought he was offering to take my heavy bag of books but instead he handed me a little plastic pin.  It still had it’s tiny little price tag on it: 39 cents.Valentine's Pin

LOVE

That’s all.  He looked at me and smiled shyly.  His eyes spoke volumes.  LOVE.

For well over thirty-five years I have worn that little plastic LOVE pin.  All my life I had been looking for romantic poetry with  flowery sentiment but every Valentine’s Day since 1978 I’m reminded that only one word really matters when it comes from the heart: LOVE.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Complete-a-Series Disorder

complete-a-series-disorderI have been doing some early spring cleaning this past week…even though this past week we had yet another Alberta blizzard hit us, making it obvious that Winter is still upon us.

But I digress….

I decided to clean out my book shelves in the middle of this cleaning frenzy. With thousands of books downloaded on my Kindle, I realized that some of my books appear so redundant (and lonely) to be sitting on my bookshelves collecting dust, so I decided to sell some great book series I have accumulated, and donate the rest of my books to charity.

It is painful for me to let go of those dusty books because I still remember the pure joy and pleasure I had when I read each story. I remember times and places I read each book, some read while sitting on a beach, or house boating, or camping, or just curled up in my favorite chair on those long winter nights. Some were given to me as gifts when I was in the hospital battling breast cancer and I found reading to be a great distraction and comfort to me while awaiting and undergoing treatments.

I have an eclectic taste in books so I have Christian, Historical Romance, Science Fiction, Classics and some Young Adult series. I’ve got devotionals, biographies and autobiographies. Reading has always been my passion ever since I was a little girl. For one glorious summer in Grade Seven I read as many of the Edgar Rice Burrough’s Tarzan books as I could get a hold of. Another summer it was Trixie Belden books, and of course the entire collection of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s “Anne of Green Gables” series. Then I went through my “Bruno and Boots” (Gordon Korman) phase, Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia and when my kids wanted to read some of the popular series of the day, I decided to preview them first so I read the Harry Potter Books, the Twilight series and the Hunger Games.

The thing with any book series is that once I start reading one I need to read every book in the series. It’s a compulsion I have. Even if I don’t really care for some of the books in a series, if I know there’s a couple more to follow, I just have to read the next one. It must be a reading disorder I have…”Complete-a-Series Disorder” I call it.

Which led me to quite a dilemma a few years ago. I found seventeen of a nineteen book series in a used book store: Peter Danielson’s, The Children of the Lion series. Written in the early eighties by several authors, it is a series loosely based on Old Testament stories. I decided to buy the set and read a few of the books and I immediately got “hooked” on the series. Then came the disquieting realization that I was missing #15 and the last book of the series #19. I looked everywhere for the elusive books and finally in desperation emailed the author and he graciously sent me a link to where I could order the books! Yay! He did however, tell me that the series is not complete because the publisher refused to publish more of the series beyond the 19th book.

I have yet to actually sit down and read the last few books of the series fearing I will never get over this feeling of “incompleteness” and disappointment when a series ends without a good conclusion.  Like the way I felt at the end of the T.V. series “Lost”.

Anyway, it did get me thinking if there are other people with the “Complete-a-series Disorder” like me? Leave a comment and tell me what series you got “hooked” on and just had to finish.

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PTL (Praise the Lord)

I was listening to one of my compilation CD’s the other day and the classic country song, “Make the World Go Away” came on.  I am revealing a lot about myself here, but I do occasionally like to listen to a good country classic and this one is particularly poignant.  “Make the world go away, and get if off my shoulders, say the things you used to say, and make the world go away”…whoa!  Sorta gets ya…right here (pointing to my heart).  The rest of the song is cheesy, love- gone-wrong drivel, but it’s the opening lines that got to me and I couldn’t help but think that in essence those lyrics have been the gist of many of my prayers lately.

“Complain, complain, complain…why don’t You talk to me anymore, Lord?…complain, complain, complain.  Amen”.

I must sound just like the Psalmist, “But I cry to you for help, O Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you.  Why, O Lord, do you reject me and hide your face from me?”  (Psalm 88)

I can just hear the response from God: “Because you are constantly whining at Me!  How ’bout sending me up some praises, eh?  Tell me all the good stuff that’s been happening in your life once in a while!  You’re bumming Me out with all your complaining.  I’m sick and tired of listening to it all the time!”

Well, I know the theology is a bit out of whack, but you sort of get my meaning.  It’s important to praise God.  Of course we must bring all our cares and concerns to Him as well, but we must shout out our praises too!  Praise Him in every circumstance.  Praise Him in the morning, praise Him in the evening.  Psalm 113:3 declares, “From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.”

Praising God acknowledges His excellent being.  It’s not necessarily a “thank You” because that describes our attitude thanking Him for what He has done for us, instead praise is offered for who God is.  “I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise…” (Psalm 18:3)

All believers are commanded to praise God! In fact, Isaiah 43:21 explains that praise is one reason we were created, “This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise.” Hebrews 13:15 confirms this: “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess his name.”

Praise originates in a heart full of love toward God. Deuteronomy 6:5 says, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Are you a Christian today? If so, you know that you love God because He first loved you! Without God’s love, any praise you can offer is hollow. Love, born from a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, is an essential part of your praise.

So what does “praising God” mean?  Well, God looks at your heart…if your heart’s not in it, you’re not really praising Him.  “I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart…” (Psalm 86:12)  Before you utter one word, sing one song, pray one prayer or read one Word of Scripture check your heart-health.  Are you ready to praise Him with your whole heart?  “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.” (Psalm 139: 1-4)  Make sure your heart is right with God first, as our Pastor likes to say: “Check yo’self before you wreck yo’self!”

It’s not the method of praise that pleases God but the willingness and want to praise Him.  “Praise the Lord.  Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.  Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.  Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals.  Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.  Praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150)

“I will exalt you, my God and King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.  Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.  Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.”    (Psalm 145: 1-3)

Can I get an “Amen”?

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Old Doors

proverbs-24-3-4In 2015, I was convinced that we would be making a major move to the west coast.  The feeling was so overpowering that as I packed away our Christmas decorations at the end of that year, I wept because I thought it would be the last Christmas spent in this house.  I remembered all the memories we had built up over twenty-two years here.  I was overwhelmed by the melancholy, but also wrestled with the feeling of excitement of moving somewhere new.  I’m not a fan of change, but I was so convinced that we were moving soon, I started the process of downsizing and packing some things away.

When we made a trip to the coast in late June of 2016, I fully expected my husband and I would find our new abode and make the big move away from Alberta to Vancouver Island in the early fall.  We prayed for God’s direction as we set out to find a new home and I specifically prayed that God would open and close doors as necessary for us to move or stay.

He answered that prayer: “Stay.”

He didn’t answer audibly, but His answer was still unmistakable by the way He changed our hearts.

I was both relieved and somewhat confused, when we came home from our west coast trip, having found no place comparable to our “old” home.  Although there were countless houses for sale, none seemed to catch or maintain our interest.  In fact, instead of being determined to relocate, we both felt completely cold about the prospect of moving away from our home in Alberta.  God had completely removed the feeling of wanderlust in both of us and replaced it instead with a renewed sense of purpose and belonging to stay put in our “old” home.  Even more astonishing, He restored the passion we once had for our homestead, and to see it in a “new” light, so to speak.

Before Christmas, we welcomed a new grandbaby into the family and as I held that little miracle in my arms, I thought about how wonderful it was to make new memories here once again.  I saw my home with new eyes, appreciating our view even more than I had ever done before.  I was reconnecting with all the familiar sights around me!  Walking through each room with a thankful heart, I was even taking renewed interest in cleaning, dusting and vacuuming them!  Talk about a miraculous change of heart!

Over the past month, my husband and I have “reclaimed” our home again.  We have been redecorating and doing some early spring cleaning so we can thoroughly enjoy our space once more, and embrace the life God has planned for us right here.

It’s a fresh start, in exactly the same place!  I had prayed God would open doors for us but I will admit I had no idea He would open the old, familiar ones and give us a whole new perspective and direction from there.

Isn’t God surprising?

 

 

 

 

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March for Life

I will never forget what it felt like to hold my son for the very first time.  He was born on a Sunday but I didn’t get to hold him until the next day and when he was placed in my arms it was love at first sight!  After two traumatic miscarriages and the doctors telling me I would likely never have another baby after the birth of my first daughter, adoption became our only option to have another child.  By God’s design, our son became our chosen child, born to a young unwed teen mom.  She could have chosen an abortion, but instead she made the tough, courageous decision to give her child up for adoption.  Her selflessness allowed us to parent our precious son to adulthood, and allowed our older daughter, who was eight when he was born, to be a “big sister”.  That God blessed me with a baby girl three years after our son was born, proving the doctors wrong about me carrying another child, was just another example of God’s grace to me.  My three children are my greatest gifts from God and just five weeks ago my son and his wife blessed us with a new grandson!  Our third grandbaby!

When my son was a young child, I became involved with the Crisis Pregnancy Centre in our small town.  They asked if we would open our home up to have an unwed teen mom live with us.  Scared and ostracized by her family, she became one of several young moms whom we cared for through their pregnancies.  Two of the girls elected to parent their babies, another opted for adoption.  In each case, I grew to have compassion and great love for the girls and an even greater appreciation for the young woman who chose life for our son.

In 2010, I published my first book, Shoot the Wounded, and one of the themes focuses on a young, unwed teen mom.  Ronnie’s character is a tapestry of the teen moms we have known and loved through the years.

As I was holding my new grandson, shortly after he was born, I couldn’t help but wonder how he will fit into God’s Great Big Story.  As I posted yesterday, 60 million babies never had the chance to live but neither did the millions of offspring THEY might have had!  Again, I feel an overwhelming sense of loss!

So, this past week I have been trying to raise awareness of those precious babies who cannot speak for themselves.  Abortion ends their hopes and dreams forever; not only theirs but THEIR children!

This past week, I came across a Facebook post that had me weeping with joy as I read it.  I’ve asked Heidi if I might share it:

“So I typically keep things pretty light on Facebook but I have something weighing heavy on my heart:

I have been watching, on all platforms of social media, the #womensmarch that has literally broken records and brought so many together. I have felt proud to be a woman and yet in a way I’ve never felt more disconnected from my fellow womankind.

You see, while I agree that women should have equal rights to vote and live and work and enjoy life, the “right to choose” is one that is tough for me.

The picture on this post is of my grandma and I (just after her 80th birthday). My grandma is a very kind and generous woman who has blessed many lives. My grandma is also a strong woman. My grandma is a fighter. My grandma is a miracle.

My grandma is a failed abortion.

In May 1935 my grandma was aborted at about 26 weeks. When my great-grandmother was induced and birthed my grandma live, the doctors and nurses told her that this fetus would not survive… she did!
My grandma has 2 of her own living children, 6 grandchildren (me included) and 7 great-grandchildren who are alive today because it turns out she was a baby girl who would become a woman; and she had to fight for her right, not just to choose, but her right to live.
I’m so grateful she had the strength to survive and thrive.

(Before you react or comment, please understand I’m only sharing my story. I’m not judging others, nor can I begin to comprehend the vast circumstances and life experiences of the potential readers. I just felt compelled to share my heart.)

I am blessed to have strong women in my life. If you are a woman reading this, thanks for sharing in my journey. Let me know how I can support you in yours.”

To all my Journey Thoughts readers but especially to all women, if you must march for something that will make a real difference in this generation and the next, March for Life on Friday, January 27 in Washington, D.C.  In Canada, the Campaign Life Coalition has information about marches for life that are held throughout the year in each of the different provinces.

March to honour the 60 million babies who were never born, and march for the ones who still have a chance to live and to discover their unique place and purpose in God’s Big Story.

2103marchforlife

 

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Mourning 60 Million Lives

hats-cropped-newOn January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision in the case of Roe v. Wade, which recognized that the constitutional right to privacy extends to a woman’s right to make her own personal medical decisions — including the decision to have an abortion.  Forty-four years and 60 million abortions later, this “landmark” decision continues to divide women, physicians and politicians based on their belief about how old a child needs to be in the womb before it is considered a viable human-being.  In other words, does abortion kill an innocent human being? If not, then there is no moral or ethical problem. If however, abortion represents the killing of an innocent member of the human family, it is immoral, unethical and cannot be justified. There is no such thing as a right to kill innocent people.  So the question is, at what age, or at what point after conception is a baby considered an “innocent member of the human family”?

As a Christian, the answer is an easy one: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”  (Jeremiah 1:5)  The Lord is speaking to Jeremiah in particular here, but the implication is for any and everyone…

The Lord knew us before we were even conceived!

It also alludes to the fact that God had a purpose in mind for all of us before we were even conceived.  Let that sink in.  Every single human being has a purpose that fits into God’s Big Story before we were even conceived.  Our journey after birth is discovering our place in God’s Story!

What an adventure!

And yet…

Since the Roe v. Wade decision, 60 million little ones never even had a chance to discover their purpose and place in God’s Story.

Let me try to paint a picture so you can visualize in your minds what it means to lose 60 million little lives of potential forever.  If you read my post from the other day: “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!” about the Women’s March world-wide, there are estimates that four to five million women protested around the world and in Washington D.C. alone there may have been close to five hundred thousand.  These women, as you know from my post, were marching for pro-choice rights (the right to abort), as well as spewing profanities at the current government(s).  Most of them wore pink-knitted toques (I’m Canadianizing them a bit), but they were supposed to represent women’s genitalia.  I know, pretty disgusting.  So, picture the streets littered with all those toques lying side-by-side had the women chosen to cast them aside like trash.  It would have been quite a sight!

Now picture 60 million little knitted baby caps like they give to all the newborns in the hospitals.  Pink for girls and blue for boys and gender-neutral colours of yellow and green.  Picture them littering the streets cast aside like trash.  60 million little caps, representing 60 million little babies who never got to wear their cap.  60 million little souls who never got to experience life and find their place in God’s big wide world.  60 million children who never got to play, sing, and experience the wonders of Creation around them.  60 million teenagers who never got the chance to work, to love, to grasp the realities of life.  60 million people who never got to discover who they are and who they could be in God’s Big Story.

It is too tragic to comprehend.

 

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I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!

“I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!”  That was the battle-cry of women in the 70’s, a Helen Reddy song released in 1971 and one that I sung with all the gusto a 13 year-old girl could muster that year.  It was all about equal rights for women, equal pay for equal work, believing that girls could do anything just as well and maybe even better than boys!

Rather than sign up for the girl’s sewing and cooking options in my high school, my three friends and I signed up for shop class and we became the first girls in our school to do something so radical.  We were ridiculed and bullied for that “rebelliousness” not only by the boys who did not like seeing girls in the shop class, but also by the girls who thought us “freaks” and tomboys.  Still, undaunted, we took apart and rebuilt an old Briggs and Stratton lawn mower engine, tried our hands at welding and participated in metal working and at the end of the year felt like we had actually accomplished something huge for the feminist movement.

That was then…

In 1977, I met the love of my life and we married two years later.  He led me to the Lord and together we became a dynamic duo that raised three children to adulthood and we are now involved in the lives of three, wonderful grandbabies.  Over these close to forty years, I have learned the true meaning of being a strong, powerful woman not by the world’s standards but in being “submissive” (1 Peter 3: 1-2) to my Godly husband.  That word has not threatened my femininity one bit because it draws me into rightful obedience to God.  My husband is the Spiritual Leader in my home, and rightly so!  He is the head of our household.  (Ephesians 5:23)  He does not dominate me, he cares and loves me as Christ loves His church.  I am proud that I am striving to become a Proverbs 31: 10-31 woman, because I am more valued and respected now than I ever was during those Feminine Mystique years!

This is now…

This past weekend I witnessed what was touted as “an inclusive event and everyone who supports women’s rights are welcome.”  It could have been an historical event to support women of all races, religions and cultures.  To rally behind the disenfranchised, to show love and unity and let our voices send messages of peace and hope to those who do not have a voice.  However, as I have learned over these few days, what actually transpired was a monumental lie.  It was an inclusive event only if you were pro-choice, and shared the liberal, cultural feminism that pervades our society today.  Women who shared different opinions, who were Pro-life advocates, and held mostly conservative views were not allowed to march.  Instead, they were turned away, ridiculed and even bullied.  In a documented incident here in Alberta, a woman reporter was actually punched by a man as she tried to cover the Edmonton rally.

That absolutely sickens me.

I was appalled by the pictures of women wearing women genitalia masks and the profane-laced vulgarity they displayed on their posters and spewed into microphones to rally those gathered into supporting their hate-filled cause.  That kind of pornographic diatribe was not fit to show, let alone support!

Instead, they ostracized more men and women with their vindictive slogans and venom-filled agenda than they managed to win to their cause.  I, for one, felt violated, horrified and ashamed by what transpired there in Washington and around the world, and I wish the images on T.V. and on social media could be erased from my memory forever.

women-of-god

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Who Reads What and Why? – Fake News

Today is the Inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the U.S. of A.  Media will cover this historic event from every angle (we hope) and will let all bias slide (we hope), but just in case, here’s what you need to know so you can keep informed today and going forward.

This is meant to be a Friday Funny 🙂

1.The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

2.The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.

3.The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country, and who are very good at crossword puzzles.

4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don’t really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.

5.The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn’t mind running the country, if they could find the time — and if they didn’t have to leave Southern California to do it.

6.The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a poor job of it, thank you very much.

7.The New York Daily News is read by people who aren’t too sure who’s running the country and don’t really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.

8.The New York Post is read by people who don’t care who is running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

9.The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country, but need the baseball scores.

10.The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren’t sure if there is a country or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped, minority, feminist, atheist dwarfs who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy, provided of course, that they are not Republicans.

11.The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.

12.The Key West Citizen is read by people who have recently caught a fish and need something to wrap it in.

(I decided to add a few of my own…so that Canadians don’t feel left out.)

13. The Vancouver Sun is read by people who like to keep up with all the tree-hugging protests in Canada and think they run the country.

14. The Calgary Herald is read by people who like to keep up with all the tree-hugging protests in British Columbia that may interfere with the oil sands project and who know they run the country.

15.  The Winnipeg Free Press is read by people who like to keep up with the weather.

16.  The Toronto Globe and Mail is read by people who use the newspaper as a blanket when they can’t get into a homeless shelter at night.

17.  The Ottawa Citizen is read by Ottawa Senator fans only who look up hockey scores only.

18.  The Montreal Gazette is read by Quebecers scouring the “Help Wanted” ads for jobs in Alberta.

19.  People from New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Nova Scotia read any of the newspapers previously listed that were accidently left behind by tourists.

20.  People from Newfoundland get newspaper delivery a half an hour later than any one else in Canada so they could care less what is written because it’s always “old news” when it gets to them anyway.

(I will now be shunned by the entire newspaper industry…I could do worse :))

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