Please Don’t Shake My Hand in Church!

flu-seasonWe interrupt for a special public service announcement for all ushers, greeters and generally friendly congregants in church:

Please do not shake my hand in church!

I know you all mean well, but I must tell you why I would prefer a hearty, “Welcome to Church” verbal greeting and a sincere, warm smile as I come through the door sans the firm hand shake.

I am that one in a million people who is allergic to the flu shot.  I’m not a germophobe per se, but it’s that time of year again folks and it does not benefit me or you if we pass along a grievous epidemic of nastiness between the two of us just because you wanted to shake my hand at church.  Even if you get your flu shot, I might be the “spreader of germs” without knowing it and I just don’t want you or anyone else to get it.  If I feel sick I will stay home from church, I know that may sound sacrilegious, but I follow a basic school rule:

If you’re sick, stay home.  If that rule applies at daycares, and schools it should apply at church.  (I would appreciate that same courtesy from those who sometimes spread the flu bug joy around at church rather than miss the Pastor’s message.)  Get a good Sabbath rest and get well!  God will understand if you miss a Sunday.  The Pastor will understand if you miss a Sunday.  You might even get a phone call from him to see why, and that’s a good thing!

I also suffer with a bit of arthritis and whenever you shake my hand, especially you hearty hand-shakers, I want to whimper rather than smile at your heartfelt greeting.  Greeters take special note when you shake a senior’s hand.  I’m in denial about being “senior” but my body sometimes likes to act like one.  So, a nice gentle pat on the shoulder, or a side hug may go over better.  No hip checks!

I’m not telling all you wonderful people to stop being friendly and stop shaking hands with one another.  If my arthritis isn’t acting up and it’s not flu season, I’ll join in!  I just ask for some sensitivity if a person (like myself) avoids shaking hands at times and prefers your warm smile in greeting instead.

Lastly, unless I’m your wife, mother, grandmother, aunt or sister, it’s never okay to greet me with a “holy kiss”.  (Romans 16:16)  It may be biblical, but I’m vetoing it, especially during flu season 🙂

This has been a public service announcement.  Now we can resume our regular worshipping activities.




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Is It Worth It?

I had a conversation with a family member recently who was struggling with his career hedaabf250da6c46e60e3205f3358922c5 had immersed himself in for well over thirty-five years.  “Is it worth it?”  He asked me.  He is finding that the more he invests himself in that particular business and industry the less he feels appreciated and fulfilled.  For the first time in his career he was laid off and then forced to take a job, that he admits is less than ideal, to pay the bills.  It is a cut-throat time now and employees are treated with little respect because if they complain about their circumstances, there are hundreds out there to take their place.  Alberta, especially Calgary, is seeing an economic downturn that is even worse than the one we experienced in the early 80’s.  Downtown Calgary is a ghost town compared to ten years ago when it was the oil centre of Canada.  The thriving Boomtown has been brought to its knees by a global economic slump, destructive governmental policies and a plunge in oil prices.  Never before have Calgarians experienced this kind of “bust” in the oil patch.  Thousands are laid off, small oil companies go into receivership and few jobs are to be had in the industry.  It effects all Albertans and Canadians adversely when a once prosperous province struggles.  There is a trickle down effect when people stop spending money like they used to. Malls are empty with no shoppers, people cut down on travel so tourism suffers, restaurants, car sales, and the real estate market all feel the pinch.

My husband and I experienced the effects of job loss and financial strain in the 80’s but never like this.  Thrust into retirement unwillingly, we wonder what the future will bring.  To say that there are hard times still ahead for all Albertans is an understatement, so we’re riding the economic roller-coaster like everyone else and hanging on for dear life.

Is it worth it?

I knew immediately this question wasn’t just about economic hardship.  He was wondering if the struggle through life is worth it?  It’s a question that has been asked numerous times, especially when “good” people see ruthless, not-so-good people thrive and prosper because they use less than honest means to get ahead.  The unfairness of having the “righteous” struggle while the unrighteous do not is a frustration for us all.  He was asking if there is any point to the daily struggle.

My answer was probably not what he expected.

I said, “No, not if we are only focused on ourselves and what we can get out of life…BUT, it is definitely worth it if we are focused on giving ourselves away and our focus is on eternity.”

I have learned that work, people, government, even family WILL let us down.  We live in an imperfect world and if we gain our self-worth by how we (or they) measure up to impossible worldly standards, then we will always fall short.  We will never be good enough, have enough money, be bright enough, work hard enough, AND we will grumble and complain that unrighteous people are getting ahead while we are not.

However, if we “seek God first” meaning we are to seek the things of God as a priority over the things of the world, then all these “things” will be added to you.  We are to seek the salvation that is inherent in the kingdom of God because it is of greater value than all the world’s riches, fame, pleasures…well…EVERYTHING!  (Matthew 6:33: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”)

Does this mean that we should neglect the reasonable and daily duties that help sustain our lives? Certainly not. But for the Christian, there should be a difference in attitude toward them. If we are taking care of God’s business as a priority—seeking His salvation, living in obedience to Him, and sharing the good news of the Kingdom with others—then He will take care of our business as He promised—and if that’s the arrangement, we will not be worried about the things that have no eternal value.

My heart was heavy after I talked with him because he was like the rich, young ruler.  He was not willing to let go of the everyday “stuff” that was actually holding him back from being happy.  He wanted to know if it was “worth it”, but wasn’t willing to let God be the centre of his life.  I pray that one day he will see that living for Jesus makes everything one goes through in life soooooo WORTH IT!




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Technologically Challenged

any-keyI know that my kids get a kick out of my husband and my feeble attempts at understanding and mastering technology that to them is already “old and obsolete”.  My husband would probably much rather go back in time before Smartphones, computers and ATM machines were invented to rotary phones and handwritten letters.  As he said yesterday to the little gal at Best Buy when we bought new phones for ourselves, “My last phone was NOT SO SMART!”

I convinced him that he should trade his “stupid phone” for an iPhone that I have used for many years and it was, for the most part, user friendly.  Again, the little gal at Best Buy laughed when he said, “I just want a phone to make calls with…I don’t want to play any games on the thing!”  When she politely asked what Apps he may want, he gave her a stony stare and I said quickly that I’d handle putting on any Apps for him.  “I don’t even want music on it!” he grumbled.

When I texted my youngest daughter and told her that we had just bought new phones and Dad even had an iTunes account now, she texted back:  “Really????  Look at you go, Dad!!”  He has no idea what having an iTunes account will do for him and I’m already worried he’ll get ticked off at the waste of time it will be to figure out what all those “unnecessary icons” on his phone screen are.

When I got home, I was eager to set up my new phone and the Best Buy gal said it would be “easy” since I only had to plug it in to my computer and all my data in my iTunes account would be transferred automatically.


I had neglected to update my iTunes (for a while)…okay…maybe over a year…okay…maybe more, so my new phone was incompatible with the old program.  I am now in the process of updating to the latest upgrade, however my old computer has told me it may take days to install.  So…

I had to reinvent the wheel with my new phone and load all my contacts, Apps etc. etc. etc. manually.  I can’t load any music onto my new iPhone until the upgrade is done.  Oh well.

It took me until one in the morning but my new phone now is to a point where it looks pretty similar to my old phone (sans music) except it’s a different colour.  (My husband will soon comment why I couldn’t have just kept my old phone…he might have a point.)

This morning, as I heard my computer working away, trying to install that last iTunes update, working at a snail’s pace because of our sketchy internet connection – (living in the country has its drawbacks especially when it comes to high-speed internet being non-existent here); I noticed something I swear I had never seen before on my WordPress blog administrative site.  Under the Appearance tab is something called “Mobile”.  I clicked on that, and lo and behold I could make my blog “Journey Thoughts” mobile-friendly!  Who knew??

So, to my loyal readers, you can now read my blog easily on your Smartphones!  Oh, and if you click on those ads, I get a little piece of that advertising pie…yep…a whole .001 of a cent to .01 or thereabouts, not even the kind people at WordPress can give me an exact figure here because they say advertising rates “fluctuate” all the time.  I’m not great at math, but safe to say, I won’t be a millionaire based on those figures…hahahaha…but I appreciate your support! 🙂

Oh, oh!  I just heard my husband call me…”How can I make a simple phone call on this stupid thing??”

Yep, it’s going to be a long day.




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25 Encouraging Bible Verses for Women Who Struggle with Self-Worth

gods-masterpieceI was reading a book the other day that talked at length about “Impostor Syndrome” and it definitely rang a bell with me.  Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome) is a term coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Dr. Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes referring to high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.  “Impostor syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in face of information that indicates that the opposite is true. It is experienced internally as chronic self-doubt, and feelings of intellectual fraudulence.”  (Caltech Counseling Center)  Basically it means that you have feelings that you’re not good enough, smart enough, successful enough and that you are only posing as such when the total opposite is true.  Although this is also true of men, women tend to experience these feelings more profoundly especially if they struggle with low self-esteem and self-worth.   The enemy likes to lay huge guilt trips on us: we’re not good enough mothers and wives and that inner voice whispers loudly at us as we look in the mirror that we’re not pretty enough, or worthy enough for love.  For you gals who really struggle with feelings of inadequacy and low self-worth here are some encouraging verses that tell us that God loves us for WHO WE ARE in Him.  We are created Masterpieces in His eyes!

Ephesians 2:10  “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Isaiah 64:8  “Yet you, Lord, are our Father.  We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”

Psalm 139:14  “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Psalm 46:5  “God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.”

Psalm 28:7  “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.  My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”

Romans 5:8  “Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies—make your way straight before me.”

Joshua 1:9  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

1 Peter 5:6  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”

Psalm 9:1  “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”

Luke 1:45  “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

1 Peter 3:3-4  “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Psalm 143:8  “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”

Colossians 2:10  “and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.”

Proverbs 31:10-31  “A wife of noble character who can find?  She is worth far more than rubies.  Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.  She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.  She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.  She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.  She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.  She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.  She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night.  In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers.  She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.  When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet.  She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple.  Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.  She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.  She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.  She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.  She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

Proverbs 3:15-18  “She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.  Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.  Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.  She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.”

Song of Songs 4:7  “You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.”

2 Timothy 1:7  “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

Ephesians 2:19-22  “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

Joshua 1:5  “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Romans 5:1-5  “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Psalm 27:14  “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Psalm 73:26  “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

1 Chronicles 16:11  “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.”

Isaiah 43:1  “But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”

Matthew 11:28-30  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Unless stated otherwise all scripture used on Journey Thoughts is from: THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Simply Happy

It has been a privilege for me to have seven of my stories published in Chicken Soup for the Soul (CSS) books.  I was a fan of the books long before I even submitted my first article.  Many of the stories have brought tears to my eyes, poignant accounts of personal stories that clutch at the heart strings of my mother’s heart, or made me laugh out loud at the comedic zaniness of everyday life.  For those who love the books, as I do, there are well over 150 book titles that address hundreds of topics.  In each book there are 101 stories written by 101 different writers who share little snippets of their life stories to give readers some sage advice, humour and inspiration.  My stories, for those who are interested, are included in the following titles: Parenthood, Devotional Stories for Wives, O’ Canada: the Wonders of Winter, Miracles Happen, The Multitasking Mom’s Survival Guide, Reboot Your Life, and Christmas in Canada.

When my first story about my daughter being teased when she got glasses, “Do Angels Wear Glasses?” was published in CSS: Parenthood, I got an email from a father who lived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  For a small-town, Canadian gal, I could not believe someone from so far away was reading one of my stories!  His words humbled me, and brought me to tears:

What a beautiful story you have written, Lynn. I received it from the Chicken Soup’s daily newsletter to which I subscribed more than 7 years ago. My heart ached and filled with deep sadness for what had happened to Carmen and how she was crushed by the rude comment of ‘Angels don’t wear glasses,’ said by the little girl. But it eventually swelled with pride for the tenderness and kindness you treated her with. In fact, mothers are the one who should be called Angels. It is not flesh or blood, but the heart that makes them mothers. The heart of a mother is the loveliest masterpiece of God’s heart. The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which we will always find love. To the world, you are just a person. But to Carmen, you are the whole world.
My daughters were sitting on my lap as I was reading the story. With each word I read, I gave them soft kisses on their cheeks, hugged them tightly to my heart, and cherished each and every precious moment I shared with them. My eyes filled with tears of gratitude for still having them on earth.


Have a peaceful weekend,



I can honestly say, I have never in my life felt such joy as a writer, as when I read his letter, and Chicken Soup for the Soul made that experience possible!  It is no wonder then that I continue to write for the franchise and I most recently jumped at the chance to review the editor-in-chief’s book, Simply Happy – A Crash Course in Chicken Soup for the Soul Advice and Wisdom by Amy Newmark.

Nine years ago, Amy and her husband, Bill took over the extremely successful Chicken Soup for the Soul franchise from founders Jackchicken-soup-for-the-soul-simply-happy-9781611599497_hr Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen.  Amy, a successful Wall Street analyst, decided before taking on the huge responsibility of CSS that she would read the 10,000 plus stories from the books published from 1993 on.  “That was my crash course in Chicken Soup for the Soul advice and wisdom, and it was life changing,” she writes in the introduction.  “I had never seen anything like this before, so much selfless sharing by people who were willing to pass on their best tips and their life experiences so that others could tweak or even completely reboot their own lives.”  It encouraged her to take CSS to the next level staying true to the legacy that Canfield and Hansen had left for her.

Her book Simply Happy is different from all other CSS books because there are not 101 contributors to this book.  She is the sole author, but she shares the main pieces of advice and wisdom she has gleaned from all of the stories in the CSS books that have been published.  It is a “Crash Course” of meaningful, easy-to-implement advice and strategies to allow the reader to become more positive and purposeful about life in general.  Using excerpts from some of her favorite stories, as well as using her own life experiences, Amy has penned a feel-good book that is uplifting and practical.  It is not necessarily a “self-help” book, although it does give some sound advice to follow, but it more so embraces the life stories of those writers who have contributed to the books over these many years.

I read the book in one sitting, something I rarely do unless completely enthralled by the content of a book.  I found that much of what Amy said I could relate to in a timely way.  She talks about the “Impostor Syndrome” in chapter three that hit me right between the eyes!  I have always been my biggest critic and as she shares about her A-type personality, dealing personally with negative self-talk and the like, I felt the tears tumble acknowledging she could easily have been talking about me.  She repeats throughout the book about “counting your blessings” and indeed I try to do that, but there are times I struggle with perfectionism and she addressed that neatly as she relates the story of a woman who decided to give thanks every time she used a possession, or saw a stain on her carpet, or ding on her furniture, remembering that it was the imperfections in life that made the most memories.

Much of her principles for happy living, although not stated implicitly, have a solid basis in Biblical teaching.  Whether that was intended by her or not “Treat others as you would have others treat you” is a common theme in the book.  Chapter 21 – It’s Not About You speaks to the fact that as my Pastor used to say: “Hurt people, hurt people.”  Sometimes when people are nasty to you, it really has nothing to do with you, it’s just you happen to be available for them to vent to.  Amy says to “not take it personally”, and “don’t get angry about it”.  Jesus would say, “Turn the other cheek.”  I am reminded of the scripture verse: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  (Proverbs 15:1).  Amy also talks about forgiveness and the power of gratitude, important themes in the Bible.

I highly recommend reading this life-affirming book.  It is filled with inspiring stories, quotes and anecdotes, and if you love the CSS books, you will certainly love reading Amy Newmark’s insights about what she has personally learned from reading and now contributing to the many books in this franchise.




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I Suck at Praying

Have you noticed how many books have been written over the years that teach us about prayer?  There’s a good reason for that.  For many of us (including myself), prayer is not something we’re particularly good at.  Oh, sure, I know all about the importance of prayer, the power of prayer, even the purpose of prayer but I still really suck at praying.

I hear about how you should be persistent in prayer.  Pray without ceasing, bring all your requests before God and He WILL answer them.  I know all about that and I believe that to be true with all my heart but yet I can’t say I pray unceasingly.

I know that it is a vital discipline to draw close to God and seek His Will but I still find myself at wits end to pray the right words at the right time.  I listen to others pray and I marvel at how easily the words seem to slip easily from their lips.  The eloquent words of others praying leaves me breathless and I can’t help but feel even more inadequate at expressing myself to God in prayer especially in front of others.  I’m a writer but a pray-er?  Uh, uh.

I often ask others to pray for me and my needs because I’m so bad at it myself.    I’m terrible at ad-libbing.  I stumble, stutter and lose focus and can’t seem to remember all the people (by name) to pray for, or to express how magnificent and worthy of worship God is (like David does in Psalms).  I get so tongue-tied, I feel like I’ve gone in a big circle of repeating myself and feel flustered and frustrated by my inability to express myself.  I WANT to pray, but I just suck at it.

I had been lamenting my inability to pray cohesively when our Pastor gave a couple of messages about praying the Lord’s Prayer.  “Everything”, he said, “that we need to pray about is encapsulated in that one prayer.”

14b1fc420aba44b85049debed881f830(Matthew 6: 9-13  NKJV) 

As I have been praying these words regularly during my quiet time, I have drawn closer to the Father as never before:

“Our Father” (You are amazing.  Your works are masterful.  Your creation is beautiful.)

in heaven,”  (You are Lord of Heaven and Earth.  I cannot fathom Your greatness.  You love me with all my faults and died for me so that I may one day be with You in Heaven.  I am so unworthy of Your grace but You abound in grace!)

Hallowed be Your name.”  (Your Name is above ALL names.  I am so honoured and privileged to come to You in all humbleness, knowing that whatever I request in Your Name will be done according to Your perfect will.)

Your kingdom come.”  (I long to dwell with You throughout eternity!  The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!  Hasten that day, but show me how to redeem the time here in the meantime, so I can be used of You while I am walking this journey road on earth.)

Your will be done”  (I sometimes have a long “wish list”, Lord.  You know my needs before I even speak them.  Give me patience and faith to know that You have heard me, You WILL answer, but only according to Your will and timing because You know what is best for me.)

On earth as it is in heaven.”  (Father, grow me up so that my life will show Christ living in me.  Allow me to experience You in Your fullness here on earth as well as in heaven.  Give me a passion for Your Word!)

Give us this day our daily bread.”  (You are the Bread of Life.  You are all I need.)

And forgive us our debts,”  (Forgive the many things I do each day that may disappoint and not be honouring to You.)

As we forgive our debtors.”  (Allow me to show the same kind of love and forgiveness to others as You have shown to me.)

And do not lead us into temptation,”  (I fall into the trap of sin when I am not close to You as I should be.  Draw me close, keep me focused on You!)

But deliver us from the evil one.”  (The enemy prowls around like a hungry lion waiting to devour me.  I must be always on my guard against him.  If I submit to You, Lord and resist the devil, he will flee!)

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”  (You are the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  I need not fear because You are in control now and forever.  Your rod and Your staff comforts me!)

Amen.”  (May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to You, O’Lord, my strength and my redeemer.  Psalm 19:14)




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Come, Lord Jesus, Come! No, wait!!

celebration of life This weekend my husband and I attended a “Celebration of Life” for a wonderful, Godly man whom we have known close to twenty-five years.  In fact, over a turkey dinner meal twenty-two years ago, we sat down with Allen and his wife, Catherine, and we bought their house!  That transaction was completely orchestrated by God.  They needed to sell, and we fell in love with their acreage.  We have lived here these many years making family memories ever since.

The “Celebration of Life” for Allen was filled with laughter and warm memories of a man who had “fought the good fight” and had a “life well-lived”.  There were few tears because for most of us, we know that while we will miss him, we will be united again some day.  A friend of mine remarked after the service, after the tributes and the hymns, that “this is a glimpse of heaven”.  All the saints gathered singing praises to God and being together in spirit.  I totally agreed.

One does not like to think about dying.  It will come to us all, some sooner than later, and all of us will fight it until our last breath.  It’s ironic that we fight so hard to live in a world that is fallen and hard and difficult, when for those of us who believe, death is our reward!  Our hope is not here on earth, but in Jesus and being with Him throughout eternity.  We should not fear death, but rejoice in the knowledge that when we escape the constraints of this world, we will be “made new” in Christ.  So I can’t help but think, why wait?  Come, Lord Jesus, come!  Rapture your Church!  The sooner the better!

Then I immediately cry out, “No, wait!!”

The reality is, for me at least, that I’m just not ready to go!  I still have memories to make with my loved ones, and I still believe God is still writing my story here.  I’m not done yet, and neither is He!  I have family members who do not know Jesus as their personal Saviour and I don’t want them to be left behind.  I have friends and neighbours who do not live for eternity but live for themselves.  If Jesus should come for His Church too soon, they would be left behind.  I want my Hope to be their hope!

So, as much as I long for the day when we will all meet in heaven, where tears will be no more, I am not ready to go quite yet.

But some day….


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False Teaching!

false-teachersRecently I did a little research on a few different churches in the Calgary and Cochrane region.  It’s not that I want to change churches (far be it!!…no worries, Pastor Dwight!), but there have been several people I know who are attending new churches and I am always interested in hearing about new church plants.

The first thing I do whenever I research a church is look at their website and read their doctrinal statement.  I look for sound, Bible-based doctrine that does not add or take away from the Word.  For example statements like:


The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is the record of God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. It reveals the principles by which God judges us; and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.


There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.

God the Son

Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself the demands and necessities of human nature and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, partaking of the nature of God and of man, and in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.


Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, sanctification, and glorification. A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour. Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer into a relationship of peace and favor with God. B. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual perfection through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life. C. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.


The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God’s will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.


God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will he raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.

Excerpts taken from:  Full doctrinal statement on the CNBC website.

Our church website states that we are aligned with the CNBC (Canadian National Baptist Convention) so that statement of faith is OUR statement of faith.

I believe wholeheartedly with that statement of faith, so when I investigate other churches, inside and outside of our convention, I look for similar statements that align with what is taught in the Bible.

I was intrigued when I came across a non-denominational church website with a catchy “come on” line and a website that was modern-looking and definitely meant to draw in people who were looking for a fresh, new approach to “doing” church.  It definitely drew me in, but as is my custom, I immediately went in search of their doctrinal statement of faith.  To say I was shocked when I read this “belief” statement was an understatement.

We do not believe that God will eternally torment anyone in hell as this is not fundamentally taught in scripture but is a misinterpretation seen through eyes of fear and hate, anger and mankind’s desire for vengeance and violence. We believe that according to scripture such teaching of hell is outside the context of the historical teaching of the early church in the Eastern Orthodox tradition of Polycarp, Origeon, and Gregory of Nicee (father of the Nicene Cree). The teaching of infernalism or eternal conscience torment has its roots in paganism and Platonic philosophy of the immortality of the soul which lies in contrast to the Pauline teaching of the mortality of the soul.

In the end our position is to walk humbly in the teaching of final judgement. We hold to the belief that all mankind and/or created things will walk through the fire of Gods’ merciful, gracious presence and all works will be judged but in the end every knee will bow and swear allegiance to the Lamb of God, Jesus.

That is only ONE of many statements in this church’s overall ideology that contradicts with what is written plainly in Scripture.  In this particular statement this “church” has completely negated Revelation 20 and 21, and the many scripture passages that speak of hell.  Here are just a few:

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”  Revelation 21:8

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”  Matthew 25:46

All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.”  2 Thessalonians 1: 5-10 

Paul is the writer of Thessalonians by the way.  Paul is quite clear that God will “punish with everlasting destruction” those who “do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus”.  Paul may not have used the term “hell” in his writings but he was quite clear that there is an eternal separation from God, an “everlasting destruction” that is the consequence of sin and not accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

Along with this “church’s” declaration that they do not believe in hell, the last statement that “all works will be judged but in the end every knee will bow and swear allegiance to the Lamb of God, Jesus.” is just as disturbing.  If I read this right it in essence says that we will be judged on our “good works”, but regardless every person will go to their eternal reward with Jesus.  This is false teaching!

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. ”  Ephesians 2:8-9

“So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.  And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”  Romans 11:5-6

“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”  Titus 3:4-5

In conclusion, when I read statements of faith of churches that don’t line up with what it says in scripture, I can’t help but wonder what that “church” is teaching to people who are searching for Truth.

Will they feel welcomed?…possibly

Will they feel comfortable?…probably

Will they feel good about themselves?…definitely

Will they be saved?… unlikely.








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Live Long and Prosper

star-trek-original-seriesIt may surprise you to find out that I have been a “trekkie” for many, many years.  I have loved the original Star Trek T.V. series since it premiered on September 8, 1966.  My husband, knowing my affinity for the series, bought collector coins for my birthday this year that commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the show.  I think I can recite by memory the “Trouble with Tribbles” episode with no “tribble at all”!  My kids patiently indulge my Star Trek guilty pleasure, but have not joined me to “boldly go where no one has gone before”.  If asked, they would probably say they can “take or leave” the new Star Trek movies with Chris Pine in the role of Captain James T. Kirk, mostly because the modern day movies showcase an extravaganza of special effects which capture their millennial interests but nothing more.

I will admit that I am more a fan of the original series, but I reluctantly warmed up to the Next Generation when it debuted in 1987.  I know of the other Star Trek spinoffs (Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Enterprise etc.) and have watched a few episodes from all of them, but they never seemed to capture my attention or my imagination as much as the original series did.  And just so you know, I don’t go to Trek conventions or dress up in Starfleet uniforms, nor do I have a collection of Star Trek memorabilia…just those three collector coins I got this year for my birthday.  I have a collection of Star Trek movie DVD’s but mostly I watch the syndicated reruns on T.V.  I may be a fan but I’m not a full-fledged fanatic.

That said, I am celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the series by binge-watching the original episodes and I may give the Vulcan hand-salute to “Live Long and Prosper” to my kids every once in a while just to tick them off.

Star Trek was the brain child of Gene Roddenberry, a man who grew up in a Southern Baptist home according to his biography but eventually grew to reject religion of any kind:

“I handed them a script and they turned it down. It was too controversial. It talked about concepts like, ‘Who is God?’ The Enterprise meets God in space; God is a life form, and I wanted to suggest that there may have been, at one time in the human beginning, an alien entity that early man believed was God, and kept those legends. But I also wanted to suggest that it might have been as much the Devil as it was God. After all, what kind of god would throw humans out of Paradise for eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. One of the Vulcans on board, in a very logical way, says, ‘If this is your God, he’s not very impressive. He’s got so many psychological problems; he’s so insecure. He demands worship every seven days. He goes out and creates faulty humans and then blames them for his own mistakes. He’s a pretty poor excuse for a supreme being.”  Gene Roddenberry

It was because of his rejection of religion that many called him an atheist, but he disagreed with them: “It’s not true that I don’t believe in God. I believe in a kind of god. It’s just not other people’s god. I reject religion. I accept the notion of God.”  It is obvious to all of us of faith who watch the Star Trek series that he was a man who desperately wanted to find answers to the universal philosophical questions: Why am I here and how do I fit into God’s Story? and he created a science-fiction series to “boldly go” in quest of  that knowledge.  Roddenberry admitted that science would always fall short in that quest:

“Reality is incredibly larger, infinitely more exciting, than the flesh and blood vehicle we travel in here. If you read science fiction, the more you read it the more you realize that you and the universe are part of the same thing. Science knows still practically nothing about the real nature of matter, energy, dimension, or time; and even less about those remarkable things called life and thought. But whatever the meaning and purpose of this universe, you are a legitimate part of it. And since you are part of the all that is, part of its purpose, there is more to you than just this brief speck of existence. You are just a visitor here in this time and this place, a traveler through it.”  Gene Roddenberry

In Roddenberry’s imaginative attempt to explore galaxies far, far away while creating the Star Trek enterprise (pun intended), several biographies indicate that while the franchise soared to new heights, he struggled personally with drug and alcohol addiction here on Earth.  He had affairs with women while married to his first wife, Eileen, including Nichelle Nichols, the actress who played Uhura in the original series, and Majel Barrett (Nurse Chapel).  He had numerous health issues that were exacerbated by his drug abuse.  When he passed away following a stroke in September 1989, he was but a shell of a man, who had in his last years been confined to a wheelchair.  Grace Lee Whitney, who played Yeoman Janice Rand in the original series shares in her book, “The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy” that while attending Roddenberry’s funeral,  she was surprised when two kilted pipers played “Amazing Grace” towards the end of the service.

“The theme of that famous hymn is God’s amazing grace to sinners… That hymn is my anthem.  It’s the story of this book, the story of my life.  People sometimes call me “Amazing Grace,” but I’m not amazing – I’m a lost, blind wretch, saved by the amazing grace of God.  The reason the piping of that song at Gene’s funeral seems so odd is that Gene hated that song.  When “Amazing Grace” was bagpiped during Spock’s funeral near the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Gene objected strenuously, and was overruled by Harve Bennett and Nick Meyer.  It really seemed out of place at Gene’s funeral – and I doubt he would have approved.”  Grace Lee Whitney

Unlike Roddenberry, Grace Lee Whitney understood what it meant to be saved by grace.  She had battled addictions, depression and the horror of a sexual assault to find peace only God can give.

“You can’t lead anyone out of the desert unless you’ve been to the desert yourself. You can’t lead anyone out of the gutter unless you’ve spent some time there… I think that’s why God saved me, and why he saves a certain remnant of alcoholics and addicts and doesn’t let them die in their addictions. A lot of his precious children are out wandering in the desert, they’re dying in the gutters, and it’s breaking his heart. So he let Grace Lee Whitney go to hell and back so that she could point the way out of the desert… Apart from God, Grace Lee Whitney is a miserable wretch who hasn’t enough sense to stay out of the gutter. And that’s okay. Because, as it turns out, that’s exactly the kind of person God was looking for. God uses the foolish to confound the wise. He uses miserable wretches like me to tell his good news to all the other miserable wretches—the news that there is hope, there is love, there is a way out of hell, there is a way home.”  Grace Lee Whitney

Grace passed away at the age of 85 in 2015, and as much as I love the series, I will never be able to watch the episodes that feature Janice Rand in them without remembering the powerful testimony of the actress who played her.  I will also not be able to watch the shows and movies without feeling profoundly sad that the creator of Star Trek, ended his life journey without ever discovering what Amazing Grace is all about…








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I’m Missing the First Day of School – Sort Of

I have been scrolling through FB this morning as my friends post their kid’s First Day of School pictures.  “Happy 1st Day of Grade One!” First Day of School Prayershows little ones with brand new runners and backpacks on, proudly holding up the colourful signs.  Excited kindergarteners meeting their teachers for the first time, and the more sombre pictures of teens who would rather not have their mother’s take the obligatory first-day pictures every year.  I smile at the toothy grins of the young ones, so excited for their school year to commence as well as the youth who may not have as wide a smile, but are nonetheless looking forward to connecting with their school buddies even if they’re not keen on the school year ahead.

I remember my oldest daughter’s first day of kindergarten like it was yesterday.  I snapped the First Day picture of her on our front porch and then watched with tears in my eyes as her tiny legs climbed up into that big school bus for the twenty-minute bus ride to school.  No sooner had the bus turned the corner from our house that I was blasting into the house to grab my purse and car keys so I could beat the bus to the school to snap the next picture of her stepping off the bus!  I followed her into the school with all the other parents who confessed they had done the exact same thing as I, and then waving good-bye to my baby, reluctantly leaving her to face her First Day of School without me.  I remember crying all the way home.

It was the same scenario every year more or less.  First Day of School pictures snapped as the kids waited for the bus and me crying all the way down the driveway when the big school bus picked them up.  Truth be told, it seemed harder and harder each year to see them go.  When we dropped our daughter off at the University of Lethbridge to live away from home for the first time, I wept all the two and a half hour drive home!

I have not snapped “First Day” pictures with my kids for several years and I miss it – sort of.  It’s nice to not have to worry about school supplies and all the stresses that go with First Days in school.  Now I look forward to seeing my grandchildren’s First Day pictures posted, one is starting Grade One this year and the other is starting preschool.  My daughter is homeschooling them both and so she is spared the angst of seeing them climb up on a bus and meeting a new teacher and wandering into an unfamiliar school classroom for the first time and yet she admits she is overwhelmed with emotion still.  She snaps the pictures of them on their First Day even though their “school” is in their basement and she cries like I did.  She is her mother’s daughter.

The last several years I have been on the other side of the desk, so to speak, welcoming new students into my classroom.  My kids threatened last year to take First Day pictures of me because I was the only one going back to school.  Not so this year.  I’m not teaching this year and it’s weird not having to prepare my days around a busy teaching schedule.

I slept in this morning, and it wasn’t until I saw all the pictures posted that I realized it was the First Day of school.  I have mixed emotions.

I scroll through the pictures and I can’t help but feel a little on the outside looking in.  I miss those First Days.  I am feeling a little melancholy – sort of.

My husband is calling to me…

While everyone else is in school today, my husband and I are going for a wonderful drive to the mountains.  It’s the first time we’ve been able to do that on The First Day of School in eons.  We’ve got some trips together planned during this school year.  I’ve got some writing projects in the works, there’s a new grandbaby coming in December…

I’m feeling a little less melancholy all of a sudden. 🙂





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