Bugged!

Several years ago, my daughter, Laurelle was discovering the joys and challenges of living in a much warmer climate than she had ever been used to here in sunny Alberta, Canada.  She and her husband moved to go to seminary in Kentucky, and she was faced with stifling heat of 42 degrees celcius – in comparison to a warm day in Alberta of 32 degrees celcius.  Alberta can get above 40 degrees but it’s certainly not the norm for this northern climate.  Along with the temperature and humidity, Laurelle was also dealing with a variety of creepy crawlies and I’m not talking about my grandbaby, Jaxon 🙂 .

Laurelle has never been a fan of bugs in general.  Alberta knows how to grow moths and mosquitoes!  We get the occasional spider crawl up our walls here.  Beetles and ants and grasshoppers abound, but the cold climate manages to decimate them pretty quickly once the first frost hits in late September.  Still, I’ve known my girl to run screaming from a room if she discovered a moth flitting about.  I think she exaggerates when she says they are as “big as bats”!

In Kentucky, I assume the climate brings out the bug beasts in a variety of shapes and sizes that Laurelle had never encountered before.  I was on Facetime with her one day and had to laugh when in mid sentence she was suddenly screaming and running around the house having just seen a “spider-cricket” the size of a “horse” on a basement wall.  Her gallant husband captured the bug in a plastic cup and then with an evil glint in his eye, crossed the street to his neighbours’ (the Whitford family who traveled from Cochrane to Kentucky to attend seminary there as well); then smirking with delight, my son-in-law unceremoniously placed the cup in their mailbox!  It was the start of a host of practical jokes played out on each other that year!

When my daughter discovered another Kentucky bug in her basement she threatened to forsake ever going into the basement again to avoid dealing with those bugs there in her new home.  Since the laundry machines were also in the basement, I think it was just another excuse to avoid doing the wash! 🙂

It got me thinking though about all the things that “bug” me (and I don’t mean the creepy crawlies either).  Things that “bug” me enough so I don’t want to “stay the course” or I run screaming from the room so I don’t have to face it anymore.  I have a long list of things that stress me out, that bug me so much I don’t function well while I’m having to deal with those “bugs”.  Here are just a few:

1.  People – yes, sometimes people bug me.  What’s that saying? – “Hurt people hurt people!”  It is hard to deal with unpleasant, hurt people.  Anyone who has ever been in ministry is shouting giving me a “thumbs up” sign!  But scripture is clear:  “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  Do to others as you would have them do to you.”  Luke 6:27-31

2.  Circumstances – whether you are healthy or not, financially stable or not, happy or not…sometimes circumstances will “bug” you to a point where you feel overwhelmed and depressed.  Just ask any young Mom of a toddler, or parents of a rebellious teen, or a man who has lost his job, or a woman struggling with breast cancer.  If you allow your circumstances to rob you of joy, you are allowing the enemy to gain a foothold in your life that may cause you to one day run screaming from the room trying to escape your circumstances.  “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

3.  Unfulfilled Expectations – we all have them, I call them the “what ifs” in life.  You’re bugged because life just didn’t turn out the way you thought it would.  You’re either constantly looking back, wishing the past had been different, or you are looking forward, hoping the future will be better.  You’re not living in the NOW and therefore not enjoying the blessings of each given day!  “The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong, and you shall be like a  watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.”  Isaiah 58:11

4.  The Reflection in the Mirror – this is the toughest “bug” to let go of – dissatisfaction with oneself; not liking the person in the mirror.  I am constantly shocked, when working with youth especially, how so many of them feel unworthy, unloved, ugly, and stupid.  Certainly there are those that may be egotistical to a fault too, but the majority of people I know, (young and old) are dealing with bitterness, abandonment, unresolved hurt and conflict, sin and guilt that hampers them from becoming the beautifully created men and women that God intended them to be.  Whenever I find myself being dissatisfied with my reflection in the mirror, I like to read Psalm 139 to remind myself how much God loves me “bugs” and all!  “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139:14

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Posted in Inspiration & Devotion, Proverbs 16:9 - Journey Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Worst Author Ever!

darkstormynight-696x436While I was busily writing my third and final book of my “Wounded Trilogy” – Love the Wounded.  It was a bit of a struggle to write, not necessarily because I was experiencing “writer’s block”, back in 2011, but the fact that I could not put a concerted amount of time into writing it.  I was enjoying being a new Grandma and spending as much time as I could with my new Grandbaby, Jaxon.  It was a tough year of distractions, and writing.  I would find myself many times staring at a blank page struggling with choosing the right words.

In high school, my biology teacher, Mr. Slater, called me the “only literary biologist I know”.  I tended to use a lot of unnecessary verbiage to write out my scientific observations.  I suppose, according to him, there were only so many ways you could describe a dissected fetal pig.  Anyway, I couldn’t help but laugh when in the middle of my writing doldrums way back in 2011, I read about the winner of the Bulwer-Lytton “Worst Writer ” award.

The  contest challenges entrants to compose bad opening sentences to  imaginary novels that takes its name from the Victorian novelist Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, who began his Paul Clifford with “It was a dark and stormy night.”

The winner in 2011 was, Sue Fondrie, who described herself then as “a full-time teacher of teachers and part-time awful prose writer”.  It was the first time I had heard of this contest and I will admit it was just the catalyst I needed to complete my book and ensure it was completely and properly edited!

At  26 words, Prof. Fondrie’s submission in 2011 was the shortest grand prize winner in Contest history, proving that bad writing need not be prolix, or even very wordy:

Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into  bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories.

Too fun.

Since 2011, I still enjoy checking in to see who the winners are each year.  In 2016, the winner was William “Barry” Brockett of Tallahassee, Florida, a 55-year-old building contractor who has specialized in additions, home makeovers, and bathroom/kitchen remodels for about twenty years.  His winning entry makes me guffaw my way through the expository verbiage of unparalleled mediocrity…(how’s that, Mr. Slater?)

Even from the hall, the overpowering stench told me the dingy caramel glow in his office would be from a ten-thousand-cigarette layer of nicotine baked on a naked bulb hanging from a frayed wire in the center of a likely cracked and water-stained ceiling, but I was broke, he was cheap, and I had to find her.

I thought it might be fun to get the word “juices” flowing and have some of my author/writer friends and writer wannabes try their hand at writing an “awful” opening sentence.  Leave a comment with your sentence, and if I get twenty or more participants, I might even make this into a real contest.

Just like the Bulwer-Lytton contest promised to Sue Fondrie in 2011, I may offer “a pittance” to whoever writes the “worst” sentence here on Journey Thoughts!

I leave you with the circumlocution, diffuseness, prolixity, surplusage, verbiage, periphrasis, redundance, tautology, verbosity, pleonasm, redundancy, tediousness, and wordiness needed to win this prestigious contest!

Happy Writing!

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Journey Thoughts is Now Part of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid (BG2)

bg-blogger-badge-500x500-e1387301563797Can I get a big Whoo Hooo???  Maybe a little Happy Dance will suffice, but I am thrilled that today I was invited to be a part of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid (BG2)! 

For this small-town, Canadian Gal, this is a big deal.  For those of you who are not familiar with Bible Gateway, it’s the most visited Christian website in the world, with 150 million views per month, 885,000+ Facebook fans, 394,000 Google+ followers, and 110,000+ Twitter followers. The Bible Gateway Blog registers 500,000+ views per month. Founded in 1993, Bible Gateway is the original multilingual online Bible resource. It empowers global users to freely read, hear, search, study, compare, and share the Bible in 200+ versions and 70+ languages, using their desktops, laptops, tablets, ereaders, or smartphones. 

It will come as no surprise, that my #1 online resource is BibleGateway.com so I can hear, search, study, compare and ultimately share the Bible with my Journey Thoughts readers.  You will note that over the next few weeks, I will be going through my past blog postings and ensure my scripture verses are linked with BibleGateway.com .  As I have said, time and again in my blog postings, it is imperative that my readers not just read individual verses, but read the verses in context!  Linking to BibleGateway.com , will allow you to do just that!

Since 2009, I have been writing my little musings on Journey Thoughts.  Originally it was to promote my books and build my author platform, but God had a different purpose in mind.  It has since grown to be a ministry I never imagined.  With over 9 million hits and followers from around the world, I am humbled by its outreach.  Truly this in itself shows that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ever ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us!  (Ephesians 3:20)  I give all the Glory to Him Who is able!

Readers, you have the opportunity too in seeing that the Word of God is spread world-wide.  I am asking that if you “like” what you read on Journey Thoughts that you will freely “like” “follow” AND “share” it on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)  I thank-you in advance for partnering with me in this way!  Join my Facebook page(s): Lynn Dove -author page; Encouraging Bible Verses and Quotes; and Word Salt.  I would also appreciate you following me on Twitter @LynnIDove .  I also want to ensure that you check out BibleGateway.com and follow Bible Gateway on social networks as well.

Lastly, I covet the prayers of the faithful.  I know that the enemy prowls around like a roaring lion waiting to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)  I feel a burden to speak (write) the Truth in love and that can lead to spiritual attack and discouragement from the enemy who always wants to thwart the plans of Bible-believing Christians.  The many bloggers on the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid (BG2) need your ongoing prayers. I am also so thankful to be a member of the InScribe Writers here in Canada. Just this past week, (Jan. 7) I received an email from Connie Inglis (InScribe’s Spiritual Advisor) saying that she prayed Isaiah 43:16-21 for me.

In light of the events of this past week, I can’t help but feel even more blessed and encouraged by her prayers and these words from Scripture.

“This is what the Lord says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:  “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.”  (Isaiah 43:16-21)

To God Be the Glory, Great Things He Hath Done!

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Vilification and the Golden Globes

l_f8cefcb0-7450-11e1-99ef-6f1e72500004I will admit it right out…I get star struck at times.  Being a writer, I have often wondered about having my Wounded Trilogy made into a movie and what “star(s)” would take on the character roles.  I can’t imagine what it must feel like to have your written work immortalized on the small and big screen but for this small-town Canadian girl, it would be a dream come true.  That said, there is so much about Hollywood that glitters like gold, and so much more that is rusty and tarnished.

The entertainment industry seems to go out of its way to shock and glorify lifestyles and despicable morality that flies in the face of Biblical Christianity.  Hollywood models the kind of “Christianity” that espouses that there are hundreds of different ways to God, that it’s okay to walk the wide path and to forget the scripture that says the narrow path is the better way and that Jesus is the ONLY Way, Truth and Life.  That’s the modern feel-good, “Christianity”, where everything is acceptable because God loves everybody and as long as you’re not hurting anybody else you can do as you please without fear of judgment.  That’s Hollywood’s Christianity…and they’ve got it wrong.

That kind of secular, worldly, tolerant “Christianity” is not Biblical Christianity.  It’s false teaching.  It may appeal to a wide audience because people are not held accountable for their sin.  There is no repentance, sanctification, or justification.  People wallow in their sin, are even applauded for their “courage”, and any one who tries to tell them their way is NOT God’s way, is labeled bigoted, intolerant and mostly ignored or openly vilified.

I have noticed that in this secular society we now live in, a society that prides itself on freedom of speech, press, and religion, that one is only “free” if they do not attempt to say anything that goes contrary to the popular way of thinking.  There is an anti-Christian sentiment running rampant in our world today but perhaps more prevalent now than at any other time in history right here in Canada and the U.S.A.  Although Canadian and American Christians may not be physically tortured or persecuted per se, listen to a Middle Eastern underground house church leader: “Persecution is easier to understand when it’s physical: torture, death, imprisonment….American persecution is like an advanced stage of cancer; it eats away at you, yet you cannot feel it. This is the worst kind of persecution.”

Bible-believing Christians are attacked online, in the Press, in schools, colleges and yes, even in Hollywood.  We are bullied, harassed and ridiculed by the so-called tolerant masses.  We do not have “freedom” to speak what the Bible clearly teaches as Truth because it goes contrary to what people want to hear.  This is a society that has been turned on its side, abandoning what’s right in favour of what’s clearly wrong.  In nations that once professed to be God-fearing, Canada and the U.S. have turned their backs on Christian ideals.

We are legalizing sin.

Let’s call it what it is!  We are allowing people to murder their babies, euthanize their sick loved ones all in the name of “freedom”.  We are abandoning traditional marriage and family values in favour of alternative lifestyles.  It’s okay to foster multiculturalism and ethnic diversity in our schools but then openly taunt and jeer students who bring a Bible into a classroom.  There is no clear differentiation now between the male and female genders and that’s totally acceptable.  We’ve become so “free” that rules no longer apply and we are sinking lower and lower into our base depravity that the wicked prosper and the “good” are bullied into silence.  There are no absolute truths and we are seeing suicide rates rise, crime rates rise and our children are leaving the church in droves because they are confused by the messages they see showcased in Hollywood.  They are sucked into believing the lies spread by the secular society around them because we are failing as Bible-believing Christians to boldly teach them the Truth of the Gospel.

Finally, seeing the woes of this world get worse rather than better because of our out-of-control liberalism, we as nations, divided under God, desperately cry out to be saved from the ills around us but refuse to listen to the only One Who can truly save us if we heed the warnings from His Word.

We wonder why the Voice from Heaven is silent.

Jesus said it best: “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.  (Mark 6: 4-6)

He was amazed at their lack of faith…  He could say the same thing of us today.

Hollywood mirrors the hearts and minds of society around it.  Last night as I watched the Golden Globes from the comfort of my living room, I was struck by the real sense of foreboding this industry of imagination is now dealing with.  The acceptance speech of Meryl Streep may have been poignant but it was filled with fear.  America, (and Canada) are under attack from the enemy without and within as the two nations deal with their lack of faith.  We have no faith in our politicians, in the economy, in our military, police and any others in authority and, it is obvious we have no faith in any kind of god.  In a room filled with dreamers, revolutionaries, pro-active thinkers and activists, they looked utterly dejected having run out of hope-filled ideas to change the world for the better.  All the tinsel and glitter and haute couture fashion could not mask the fear in that room.  Not one of them would acknowledge that much of their doom and gloom is due to their lack of faith.  Faith and Fear cannot co-exist.  You either have one or the other.

If they had any kind of faith they would know God is in control and they would not be fearful of the future.  Faith shows us that God has not abandoned His children, no matter how wayward they have become.  The Lord says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ (Jeremiah 33:3) He calls for us to repent of our sins, seek Him with all our hearts, and He will save us if we have faith in HIM!  Faith drives out the fear.  I pray Hollywood gets that message loud and clear…

Can you imagine the amazing T.V. shows and movies that would come out of a faith-filled Hollywood?

Can I get an AMEN?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Proverbs 16:9 - Journey Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Happy New Year, and Welcome to 2017!

1-thess-5-18We’ve been buried under snow and experiencing bitter cold temperatures for the past week.  Still, once Christmas is over and New Year’s Eve’s come and gone, I immediately go into a looking-forward-to-Spring mode.  I took down the tree on the 2nd and put away all the decorations for another year, and I always feel like the house looks so much more open and refreshing afterwards.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas and decking the halls and all, but it’s nice to go back to normal.  I let my Feng Shui OCD take hold of me as I put my house in order again.

Lucy Maude Montgomery in her classic, Anne of Green Gables book said, ““Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”  There is a sense of expectation each New Year that we’re starting the year fresh with no mistakes to account for…yet.  My most popular blog post over the past three years has been https://lynndove.com/2013/01/01/25-encouraging-scripture-verses-for-the-new-year/ that particular post gets at least 25,000 hits in one day!  Just seems that so many people want to start the New Year off right with encouragement from the Word.

I have been pondering upon each of those verses over the past few days, letting God’s Word wash over me.  So many unknowns this year, but God never changes.  He is the same today, tomorrow and for eternity.  His mercies are new EVERY morning.  We are incredibly arrogant to think that we can change what God has allowed to happen in the past, present and into the future.  He is not surprised by world events, or world leaders; He tells us HE is in control and He will always be in control!  The challenge is to be content, knowing He is in control in the midst of all circumstances.

But am I?

Am I content when the New Year has Albertans seeing gas prices jump at the pump, and home heating bills rise, and numerous other costs we need to consider now that we have a new carbon tax in the province?  Am I content knowing that Canada will also be affected when a new U.S. president is inaugurated?  Am I content or am I worried?

Merriam-Webster defines contentment as: freedom from worry or restlessness :  peaceful satisfaction.  If I believe God is in control do I actually experience that kind of “freedom” from worry and luxuriate in peaceful satisfaction?  Honestly…it’s tough.

Still, God is teaching me through His Word and through practical application that I need to let go of worry and try to experience contentment in all circumstances – known and unknown.

Last Sunday morning, on the first day of this New Year, I was privileged to witness one of my former students get baptized.  I wept when she sang her own version of “Amazing Grace” because she has embraced what it means to be content no matter her circumstances.  Not an easy thing to do when only five years ago she was a carefree, girl of nine and now she is blind and mostly confined to a wheelchair due to a traumatic brain injury five years ago.

I didn’t really know much about Hope Peacock before her injury other than maybe bumping into her at the school I taught in.  At that time I was teaching in the Junior High wing and she and her sister were in the Elementary wing.  Her father, Trevor is the Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel Calgary where my daughter and son-in-law attend.  The first time I officially met Hope was at my grandson’s baby shower.  She and her little sister, Gabi cuddled a little with my grandson and then retreated to play with the other girls who had come with their mothers’ to the shower.  Several months later, I got an urgent message from my daughter to pray for her Pastor and his family when Hope had gone into the hospital for a routine tonsillectomy and through a series of unfortunate complications was having serious, life-threatening seizures.  (If interested, my readers can read about Hope’s journey through her blog: http://prayingforhopepeacock.blogspot.ca/ )

I immediately put out an appeal to pray for her and her family through our church’s prayer chain and later through my blog: https://lynndove.com/2012/02/08/praying-for-hope/  We were praying at school, at church, at home, and Hope’s mom, Heather kept us all updated on Hope’s condition.  There have been real miracles throughout these five years, and doctors have been baffled at times with her progress, but there have also been heart-wrenching discouragements too.  Many times I have questioned why God has not chosen to fully restore Hope to full health, but I know He is still in control!

Three years ago, in the midst of her medical challenges, Hope opted to join my Creative Writing class at school.  I wondered if her brain injury would impact her ability to perform well in class.  I need not have feared.  With the help of her terrific aid, who transcribed all of Hope’s stories and poems onto a computer, Hope became one of my most prolific and inspiring writers.  She seemed to find her voice through writing!  Every writing assignment I gave the class that year, Hope eagerly accepted and completed.  I told her that even though I would not be teaching her the following year, she could send me her writing any time.  Last year she shared this acrostic poem with me:

Wheelchair – by Hope Peacock

W – “Wanna go for a stroll, Hope?” says my wheelchair to me.

H – Happily Hope replies, “What would I do without you?!

E – Everywhere I go, you keep me company, my friend.

E – Eyeballs stare as we go past, maybe wondering how we met.

L – Living with you can be hard at times, cause I’d rather use my feet, but I like that you carry me through.

C – Comfortable sitting on your cushy seat carries me to a fluffy cloud of heavenly bliss.

H – Helping me everyday to get from here to there.

A – Able to get through my day, because you bear my weight.

I – I love you, my wheelchair friend, even though you bring me pain and grief.

R – Riding along, you will be a part of the story God is writing for me.”

I wept when I read it then and I still tear up when I read it!  She has learned in five short years, what has taken, and is still taking me a lifetime to figure out, to be content in all circumstances.

Last Sunday, as I watched her Dad gently lift her from the confines of her wheelchair to enter the waters of baptism, I remembered the last line of her poem.  God is writing Hope’s story, and He’s using her wheelchair and personal testimony for His Glory!  Amen and Amen.

 

 

 

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The Wait is Over!

Paxton Levi Charles Dove was born on December 17th at 2:23 a.m., weighing a whopping 6lbs. 15 oz.  Our third grandbaby is doing well and my son and his lovely wife are trying to adjust to the new “normal” in their lives.  It may take some time 🙂

We are blessed that we live close so we saw little Paxton when he was only an hour and a 003half old in the hospital and yesterday my husband wanted to visit them at home with a cake in hand.  (see picture)  Both sets of grandparents are thrilled, as are great-grandparents, great uncles and aunts, and the numerous aunties,  uncles, cousins and second cousins.  Paxton better get used to being passed from arm to arm to arm because we all want to get a chance to cuddle with this little miracle over the days, weeks, months and years ahead!

Our son and daughter-in-law spent considerable time thinking up a name for their first-born and had it picked out long before he was born.  It seems so appropriate, with Paxton being born just before Christmas that his name means “Peace”.  The last name “Dove” is also symbolic of peace.  His middle name, “Levi” is equally interesting meaning “joined in harmony” but also has its roots with the priestly duties of the Levites in Israel.  Put it together it’s Peace bound in harmony with Peace.  How perfect is that?  I hope this little dude will be just as chill as his name!

Now his third name, “Charles” is to honour grandfathers, and great-grandfathers and other Charles’ in the Dove lineage.  However, the name “Charles”, in the European form, means “warrior” and “king”.  Whoa!  I wonder if my son and daughter-in-law planned it that way?  In the middle of my new grandson’s most peaceful name they have linked it with a mighty warrior king name.  Peaceful but also a mighty king.  What a brilliant name!  What a name to live up to!

Such a radical name; so meaningful…and yet so familiar…when our hearts, thoughts and minds at Christmastime are always focused on the NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES: A Man of Peace but also a mighty KING: Jesus!

In Biblical times, names actually meant something.  Often a child would be named in honor of an event that took place at the time of his or her birth, or for a unique physical characteristic. Adam’s name meant “earth” because he was taken from the dust of the earth. Esau’s name meant “hairy,” because he was hairy. Esau’s twin brother Jacob was born hanging onto his brother’s heel so his family named him Jacob, which means “heel-catcher.”

When God chose the Name, “Jesus” for His only begotten Son, He knew the Power, and the Importance behind that Name!  Isaiah prophesied: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace…” (Isaiah 9:6-7).  He would be called Immanuel “God with us” (Matt. 1: 23); and “Saviour” (Matt. 1: 21).

But there’s so much more about the name, Jesus!

Alpha and Omega“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Rev. 22:13

Bread of Life “Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’” John 6:35

Creator of Heaven and Earth“By Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.…” Col. 1:16-17

Deliverer – “And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.” 1 Thess.1:10

Good Shepherd “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11

Great High Priest“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” Heb. 4:14

I Am“Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:58

Judge“…he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead.” Acts 10:42

King of Kings“These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” Rev. 17:14

Lamb of God – “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

Light of the World“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

Lord of All“For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil. 2:9-11

Redeemer– “Then you will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior, your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” Is. 60:16

Risen Lord “…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Cor. 15:3-4

Son of Man “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

Son of the Most High“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David.” Luke 1:32

The Door“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” John 10:9

The Resurrection and the Life “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” John 11:25

The True Vine“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1

The Way “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”   No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

The Word “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

He is the Only One Worthy of that Name with ALL its meanings!  He is the Only One we Worship and Adore, and I pray ALL my children and grandchildren will follow HIM all the days of their lives! 

JESUS!

 

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Still Waiting

the-value-of-waitingWe’re still waiting for Grandbaby #3 to be born!  Any day now, we hope… but boy it’s tough to wait when all I want to do is hug on that precious newborn.  (I’m sure his Mom and Dad are equally excited to welcome their son into the world, eh Chandler and Brett?)

This year we are excitedly awaiting Paxton’s arrival but I have noticed that we always seem to be “waiting expectantly” every Christmas season.  Advent is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Birth of Jesus at Christmas. We wait for Christmas festivities, gift-giving, a New Year to begin.  New opportunities, new possibilities, new memories to be made!  We’re already planning summer vacations and events to put on next year’s calendar.  Sometimes I get so excited and ahead of myself, I just can’t wait for it all to happen right away!  It’s weird, but the fun sometimes is in the waiting…not knowing what to expect!  It’s being pleasantly surprised, being caught off guard, to not have things turn out the way I planned them.  That is Life’s journey.  I like to make my plans but sometimes it’s God allowing some unexpected curves on my well-thought-out path that makes life interesting.

I think the hardest thing for me to do…EVER…is wait. I am not the “waiting” kind! I want things to happen yesterday, meaning I don’t have much patience or stamina to wait for anything, ever!

I learned I had this problem with waiting, especially around Christmas time and birthdays. I could not wait for Christmas or my birthday to arrive. It was my thinking and anticipating about all the great presents I would get that probably threw me over the edge. I just couldn’t wait to open all those gifts and start playing with all my new stuff.

One year, I must have been six or seven years old, curiosity finally got the better of me. My parents had put me to bed and then went downstairs into the basement to wrap my presents for Christmas. They did not know it, but a few months previously, my parents had inadvertently allowed me to discover a hidden secret in my room when they had moved my dresser to make room for a new bed. The heat register, that had once been hidden under my dresser, was now visible if I crawled under my new bed. The ‘secret’ was that it wasn’t really a heat register, it was just a hole that looked straight down from my room into the basement below. Crawling under my bed I had a clear view of our ping-pong table that was being used as my parent’s wrapping paper production line. While they talked and wrapped up all the toys for my brother and me, they had no idea that I was peering down through that little hole in the floor and watching every move they made.

I was as excited as I could be knowing the great gifts I would get at Christmas, and it took everything in me to not blurt out that I knew what I was getting for Christmas. However as the weeks dragged on until the big day, I discovered something else. I was not as excited about Christmas as I had been before I knew what I was getting. There was something about the anticipation of waiting that I had not counted on. I knew exactly what I would get at Christmas and I didn’t look forward to the day with the excitement I had in previous years. There was no surprise element! In fact, the more I knew what I was getting, the more disappointed I was. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the toys, I did…my parents had got me almost all the things on my ‘wish list’, but I was still disappointed. The whole fun of the day I had ruined for myself by not waiting.

I have often thought about how often God has asked me to wait, to be patient, to not run ahead of Him so I might miss out on what He wants to do in my life. The fun is anticipatingly waiting on Him! I’m a break neck speed type of gal. I like the fact I can cook supper in five minutes in my microwave, or I can message a friend around the world using my cell phone or Facebook. I don’t like to wait but lately God is challenging me to slow down, be patient and enjoy my time in…waiting.

So what am I doing while I’m waiting? Well, sometimes I don’t ‘DO’ anything. There is a time to be busy but there are also times to be still. I have enjoyed having some time to appreciate stillness!  I have also enjoyed this time anticipating what it will be like to be a grandma of a newborn…again!  I’ve been having fun going through some photo albums when MY children were babies and when my first two grandchildren were born.  I have enjoyed time spent with my husband, and our adult children, thankful for the blessings each of them are to me.

I have had to continually remind myself to slow down enough to enjoy those spur-of-the-moment times with family and friends that are totally unplanned and unexpected.  As much as I look forward with great expectation to what will happen a day, a week, a year from now, I need to remind myself to enjoy those in-between days, those sometimes mundane but spontaneous, out-of-the blue occurrences that catch me totally off-guard but give me a lifetime memory.  I know I may make my plans but God directs my steps.  (Proverbs 16:9)  It may not be at all like I expected, but whatever may come…

I am learning the value of waiting.

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We’re On Baby Watch

gods-wordIt seems so appropriate that we are on “Baby Watch” this close to Christmas.  My son and daughter-in-law are expecting their first baby and he’s due to arrive December 14th…or thereabouts.  This will be our third grandbaby and as I have said to anyone who asks, “Grandchildren are probably the main reason we have children in the first place!”  Yep, I’m one of THOSE grandmas!!

When Jaxon was born in 2011, I had no idea that my mother’s heart could grow two sizes bigger.  But it did.  When Kharis was born in 2013, my heart kept expanding too!  I knew I was crazy in love with each one of my three children, but I did not know the capacity of love until I held my first grandbaby in my arms for the first time.  In a few weeks, I will hold another blessed grandson and my heart will stretch even wider.  It’s just the way God made grandmothers I guess.

My son and daughter-in-law are busy “nesting”, and they have been outfitted with everything they might need to welcome their new son home.  Between generous friends and family who have passed along items, or contributed to baby showers and – spoiler alert – more gifts under the Christmas tree for them this year, they will want for little.  My son, bless his heart, asked for a video game for his birthday last week and we indulged him.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him his video-game-playing days are numbered now.  He’ll learn soon enough, and knowing my boy, he’ll be totally okay with the new shift in priorities.  He’ll make a good father.

But it won’t be easy.

Even with all the books on Parenting written, the countless Pinterest Pins on the subject, and the unsolicited and solicited advice from family members, there is not a precise manual that will educate parents well-enough to raise a child properly from birth to adulthood…save ONE of course.

The Holy Bible.

If you wonder what to get a young, expectant couple for a shower gift…give them a new Bible!  It was and has been my first and favoured parenting manual and the pages are dog-eared from over-use.  No, it may not be specific on what to do when it comes to managing a colicky baby or how to best potty-train a child, but it soooo ministered to me as I went through those ordeals with my babies.  Countless passages on patience, love, gratitude, and humility I claimed whenever I needed help to better parent my child.

When I felt defeated and discouraged at the end of the day because of strong-willed children, I found peace and encouragement in scripture.  When my children came home crying from being bullied or hurt, my mother’s heart ached for them and I found the words to comfort them through the Word.

When I was weary, I found strength.

When I felt upset and rattled by the task of parenting, I found the pep-talks I needed in the Bible.

As we welcome our next precious grandbaby into the Dove family, I know if my son and daughter-in-law stay immersed in the greatest parenting manual ever written, the Holy Bible, they’ll be okay.

Yes, there will be some long days and nights ahead…

But, they’ll be okay.

 

 

 

 

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Unanswered Prayers

noAm I the only one who thinks it is self-serving when sports teams or athletes pray for victory before their game or event?  I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, I’m just wondering what happens to their faith if they have prayed and then God doesn’t answer their prayer for victory?  Does God have a favourite sports team that He blesses with victories over another?  Does God decide the outcome of a game based on the fervent prayers of players?  Does one team praise God when they win, or curse God when they lose?  Just asking…?

It’s been one week since the election of a new president-elect in the U.S.  As a Canadian watching the events this past week, I can’t help but compare the goings-on south of the border to a sporting event with winners and losers.  There is no doubt there was MUCH prayer leading up to the outcome of that election.  Franklin Graham made an interesting comment on Facebook:

“Did God show up? In watching the news after the election, the secular media keep asking “How did this happen?” “What went wrong?” “How did we miss this?” Some are in shock. Political pundits are stunned. Many thought the Trump/Pence ticket didn’t have a chance. None of them understand the God-factor.

Hundreds of thousands of Christians from across the United States have been praying. This year they came out to every state capitol to pray for this election and for the future of America. Prayer groups were started. Families prayed. Churches prayed. Then Christians went to the polls, and God showed up.

While the media scratches their heads and tries to understand how this happened, I believe that God’s hand intervened Tuesday night to stop the godless, atheistic progressive agenda from taking control of our country.

President-elect Donald J. Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence are going to need a lot of help and they will continue to need a lot of prayer. I pray that President-elect Trump will surround himself with godly men and women to help advise and counsel him as he leads the nation. My prayer is that God will bless America again!”

I firmly believe that God listened to the prayers of the faithful but – just playing devil’s advocate here – didn’t the other “side” pray just as fervently for victory?  Why didn’t God answer their prayers?  There were Christians in both camps.  Many wonderful, Godly people could not support Trump because of his character flaws and divisive statements.    Don’t for a second think that these people did not agonize and prayerfully beseech God for direction.  Voting for the other candidate did not rank these people amongst what Graham calls the “godless” having “atheistic progressive agendas”.  It was a no-win situation for them.  Did they just hear God wrong?  I wonder if their faith is shaken?  I hope not!

I remember a year ago when we had our Provincial Election here in Alberta and the NDP (New Democratic Party) won an overwhelming majority in our province.  The NDP could be likened to the Democratic Party in the States, perhaps even MORE liberal-minded!  That same year, Canada elected a Liberal Prime Minister to govern our country.  My husband and I had prayed fervently for a different outcome in both elections.  Yet, God did not answer our prayers the way we wanted Him to.  Was our faith shaken?  Not at all!

I REALLY like what my friend, Dr. Richard Blackaby wrote the day after the U.S. election last week.  It applies to all Christians on BOTH “sides” and BOTH sides of the border too:

“The question now is: what do we as Christians do the day after? Can I offer a few suggestions?

First, accept the result as the hand of God. Scripture indicates: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord” (Prov. 16:33). God is sovereign over nations and we can trust His wisdom and love in what He ultimately allows. Americans have become notorious for refusing to accept results that seem unacceptable. If people’s favored candidate doesn’t win, they resist the decision, or set themselves up as fierce opponents, or threaten to leave the country! As a Christian, you may not have liked the result, but you need to accept it.

Second, don’t be afraid! Christians ought not to be gullible to conspiracy theories and doomsday predictors. The foremost reason is that our God is “High above all nations” (Ps. 113:4). The key is not who occupies the Oval Office but who sits on the throne of the heavens. That has not changed. Likewise, if you study the history of American elections since George Washington was first elected in 1789, there have been many times when dire warnings of apocalyptic catastrophe hovered over the newly elected president. Rarely, if ever, have the dire predictions been fulfilled. Eventually the new leaders embraced the challenge and the worst fears proved groundless. Don’t become someone driven more by fear-mongers than by the Holy Spirit!

Third, be gracious. Scripture exhorts: “Let your speech always be with grace” (Col. 4:6). In defeat, be gracious to the victors. In victory, be kind and gentle to those who lost. America is deeply divided. The last thing it needs is for Christians to add to that polarization by firing Social Media missiles to taunt and antagonize those who disagreed with you. There is no need to belittle those who voted differently than you did. Many sincere Christians agonized over which candidate to vote for. We can respect their effort without agreeing with their choice.

Fourth, pray for the new president. Scripture does not command us to pray for those we vote for. It commands us to pray for whoever is in government (1 Tim. 2:1-2). Regardless of who was elected president, they were going face enormous challenges. Every American has a vested interest in the next president doing an outstanding job. So we must pray fervently.”  (http://www.blackaby.net/blog/2016/11/09/the-day-after/)

Can I get an “Amen”?

 

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In the Shadow of the Crosses

When I was a little girl I was given an autograph book.  I think they may have gone by the way of the dinosaur, but in those days collecting autographs was a big thing to do.  I remember I first had to ask my mother and father, brother and other family members to “autograph” my book.  For years I collected autographs from friends, sports stars, political figures, special guests at school etc.  I have the autograph of Guy Lafleur, and Yvan Cournoyer when the Canadiens hockey team played an exhibition game in Victoria in the early 70’s.  I have the autograph of Tommy Douglas when he was a guest at our school, and I even have one from King Frederik IX of Denmark …well,  at least a formal letter with the royal seal, written by his Majesty’s private secretary after I sent the King birthday greetings when he turned seventy.    Close enough.

But one of my most  favorite autographs was written by a woman who I considered my Canadian “grandma”.

Dear Lynn,

This I learned from the shadow of the tree, which to and fro swayed upon the lawn.

Your shadowself, your influence, may fall where you can never be.

With Love,

“Nana” Antalfy   (Mar. 15, 1970 – Saseenos, B.C.)

For years I did not honestly know what she meant by those words.  When she moved away I remember sitting out on the steps of our house in Sooke, B.C. and watching how the sumac tree on our front lawn would sway in the breeze.  It was a willowy type of tree and didn’t cast much of shadow at all.  In fact of all the trees in our yard, it was the puniest, and the most unassuming tree amongst them all.

Puzzled, I questioned my mother about what Mrs. Antalfy had meant by “shadowself” and “influence”, and pointed at the sumac tree.  My Mom beckoned for me to stand in the yard and then look at my own shadow.  She then challenged me to try to step on the “head” of my own shadow.  She laughed and cheered me on as I chased my shadow around the yard trying to step on it.  No matter how far I stretched my legs, or how fast I ran, or how high I jumped, it was impossible to catch my shadow.  Then Mom told me to stop moving and calmly came over and stood on top of my shadow, right on my shadow’s head.  “See?” she said.  “Sort of.” I said breathlessly, but really I hadn’t grasped the concept at all.

On November 11 we celebrate Remembrance Day, a day set aside to honour the brave men and women who served Canada in times of war and peace; those who valiantly gave their lives in service to their country.  Whenever I think of their sacrifice, I proudly stand in their shadow and when I wear that little poppy emblem on my lapel, I symbolically stand in the shadow of their crosses.  Their courage, their strength, their fortitude, beats in the hearts of all the family members they have left behind.  Because of their sacrifice on our behalf, we know freedom in this country. 

“On August 4, 1914, Britain declared war on Germany. Canada, as a member of the British Empire, was automatically at war, and its citizens from all across the land responded quickly.  Within three weeks, 45,000 Canadians had rushed to join up. John McCrae was among them.  He was appointed brigade-surgeon to the First Brigade of the Canadian Field Artillery with the rank of Major and second-in-command…In April 1915, John McCrae was in the trenches near Ypres, Belgium, in the area traditionally called Flanders. Some of the heaviest fighting of the First World War took place there during what was known as the Second Battle of Ypres.  The day before he wrote his famous poem, one of McCrae’s closest friends was killed in the fighting and buried in a makeshift grave with a simple wooden cross.  Wild poppies were already beginning to bloom between the crosses marking the many graves.  Unable to help his friend or any of the others who had died, John McCrae gave them a voice through his poem.”  (http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/general/)

In Flanders Fields by: John McCrae

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Lest we forget…

Their “shadowself”, their “influence” continues to fall where they can never be.

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