All posts filed under: Women

A touch of heaven

I felt a light touch and then it was gone. It was a bright and beautiful fall day. My jacket was open because it was getting warm.  My daughter and I were running errands and crossing the mall parking lot to the bank. There was a spring in my step.   Life was good and there was so much to be grateful for lately. The warmth and brightness of the sun made it even better. I saw the truck out of the corner of my eye as it rounded the corner where we were crossing the parking lot.  I hesitated and then stepped forward confident that he had seen me. It was a big, white, wide, 4×4 truck.  As my daughter and I continued across the road I was blinded by a white light in the shape of a large cross.  It was the cross that struck me in that moment. I heard my daughter’s concerned voice urgently say,  “Mom, did you feel that?  That truck touched your leg!” Then, I remembered the gentle touch, …

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What does surrender to God mean?

Does surrender conjure up images of a criminal giving up his gun and surrendering himself to the police?  For many Christians this is what we envision and it terrifies us. In her article, Winning Through Surrender, Kathy Cordova writes: “For most of us the word surrender has a negative meaning because we think surrender is waving the white flag and giving up.” We consider the spiritual process of surrender with giving up, but spiritual surrender is not about defeat. It is about acceptance, joy and faith.   Spiritual surrender is about a mutual relationship with loving reciprocity between the creator and the creation. It’s about  accepting the gift of salvation and experiencing the joy of a relationship with the God of the universe who  not only loves us but knows us well. I realized that after all these years as a Christian I did not have a healthy perspective of what surrendering to God really meant. I felt that I could never live up to the traditional Christian perception of surrender. I was fully aware of …

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Struggling to love unconditionally

Loving others unconditionally (without any conditions, or expectations attached) does not come naturally for me or anyone I know. The question is how does one DO unconditional love (live it out, act and think). In order for me to extend unconditional love to others  I must have  a reason. What would motivate me to love others unconditionally and withhold judgement. Glynnis Whitwer from First5.org ministry says that we must ‘find the why’ and reason for our motivation to love unconditionally. The Apostle Paul writes: “For we were once thoughtless and senseless, obstinate, deluded and misled  . .  But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of anything we had done, but because of His mercy.” (Titus 3:3-4) Everyday, I must be mindful of the reason I choose to love unconditionally which is  to  honor God’s gift of grace to me by reflecting it back into my world. In the Old Testament, the Jews had rules and regulations to please God and the Greeks lived to appease their …

Painting by Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874-1939) Credit: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston/Wikipedia

The invisible woman

Do you sometimes feel invisible to the people you interact with during the day.  Even if acknowledged it often doesn’t feel sincere enough to satisfy you. I felt that way for many years. I believed I wasn’t significant enough to be acknowledged and seen for who I really was. People didn’t really know me. I have learned after all these years that the way I was feeling (insignificant in the eyes of others) was a mirror reflection of the way I really felt about myself. I had to dive deep into my emotions and my  past  to find the source of my  invisibility pattern.  So much of what I was mirroring to others was directly related to things that happened to me 10, 15 or 20 years ago. In other words, in my own eyes I was invisible and felt unworthy of the attention and significance that came from wholesome relationships that I really longed for. Often women are stuck in ‘old stories’, experiences and unpleasant memories that leave us struggling in our everyday interaction …

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Human ‘being’ or human ‘doer’

A few weeks ago my husband and daughter noticed that I was tired and sleeping more than usual. Immediately, I became angry and defensively opened my calendar to recount every thing I had done over the past two weeks that justified my tiredness. My husband said to me, “it’s not about how much you have done or are doing.  Maybe, you need to go to the doctor and make sure it’s not your heart.  Your mother has heart disease.” His concern for my health interrupted my rant and how much I had done (with proof written in my calendar). I thanked him for caring enough to say something.  He was not questioning my ‘doer’ abilities but was genuinely concerned about my health. I was later moved to tears when I realized my Heavenly Father tries in the same way to push aside my “doing mindset” and convince me that “I am enough.” God loves and accepts us just the way we are. There is nothing we can do to prove ourselves to our Heavenly Father. …

London, England subway Credit: Nige Harris/Flickr/Creative Commons

Should we take #MeToo seriously?

A few years ago I had to travel on the rapid transit for my work. On a busy day I walked to a subway station because I had to get some paper work in another part of the city. I remember a small crowd on the platform waiting for the train and I stayed higher up on the stairs to see the train when it came. And then something caught my attention. A young woman, probably a teenager kept pulling down her shirt, to expose one shoulder. A few steps from her was a young man, who I guessed was her boyfriend. He watched over her closely, and I began to realize that she was a prostitute and he was her pimp. They had brought their business onto the public transit system. If you are wondering, they didn’t seem to get any business. In any city, the public transit crowd is short on cash and the couple’s “business model” was never going to work, but I was really shaken. We all see the world in …

Mirror glasses at a restaurant in Budapest, Hungary Credit: Elekes Andor/Wikipedia

Judgements: A mirror into your heart

What your think about others reveals a lot about yourself.  Catching yourself in judgement is a first step to bringing wholeness into your life. There is a message behind our complaints, judgements and frustrations with others. Judgement is almost always a projection. Often it’s not about them, it’s all about you. We end up projecting our brokenness or an unhealed part of our lives upon someone else. Catching yourself judging others is the first step to healing your emotional wounds. Notice every time you react to what someone has said or done because this is really a message to you, about you. On the surface scenarios that bother you seem to have nothing to do with you.  But if you are having a reaction to what someone has said or done, know this, it’s about you! This is tough stuff! Our personal criticisms and frustrations about others many times mirror exactly how we secretly feel about ourselves. But it is so much easier to point the finger at someone else and not own up to the fact …

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Neither do I condemn you

In an article for Foxnews, Angel Hatfield shared a powerful story on forgiveness. Hatfield, who serves as executive producer for a movie “Because of Gracia” grew up in a Christian home. In fact, her father pastored a church. As she left her teen years, Hatfield became rebellious: “I skated in sin believing the big lie that there was more pleasure to be found in this world than in God.” Hatfield became pregnant and after hiding her pregnancy for five months, she finally decided to come clean with her father on what had happened. She was expecting her father to react and judge her for what she had done. Instead, he hung his head and when he finally spoke, her dad expressed his disappointment for what had happened but then he added: “And you have made poor choices which now have consequences. It won’t be easy — and there will be struggles and a hard path ahead of you. But I love you — and now I figure I have been given more to love.” Then …

Brooke Simpson Blind audition Credit: Youtube Caputer/The Voice

Church youth leader wows ‘The Voice’

It was a four-chair turn for church youth leader Brooke Simpson on ‘The Voice’ as she sang a song by Demi Lovato called Stone Cold. Entering is sixteenth season, the winner of ‘The Voice’ receive $100,000 and a recording deal. Simpson is a graduate of Lee University, a Church of God University based in Cleveland Indiana. She works for Potential church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In a YouTube video uploaded earlier this year, Brooke said that she and her husband Ray started a program called ‘Youth in Revolt’ encouraging youth to live as rebels for God in a society that is increasing becoming anti-Christian. Before she was done all four coaches were standing applauding her performance. Pop Singer Miley Cyrus said “You know you’re good because I am a little speechless and that never happens.” Adam Levine called her “one in a million.” I find it more than a coincidence that Simpson is following in the footsteps of another Lee graduate Jordan Smith who won ‘The Voice’ in 2016. All four judges turned their chairs …

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Letting go of your unrealistic expectations of others

For three days I battled with the expectations I had put on a particular person in our church. I would relinquish the expectation and then take it back. I fought with this expectation for three days and equally long nights. I was practically foaming at the mouth. By the end I was frazzled and worn out. My expectations were a weight on my mind and I was unable to release them.  A heaviness fell on me making it almost impossible to relinquish them. It was a tug-a-war of letting go and then pulling back, over and over in my mind. I had to put an end to this struggle and the hopes, fears and expectations that had become tangled up in my mind. I had become a prisoner of the expectations I had put on someone else. Selena C. Snow, a Clinical psychologist in Rockvileed, MD, says expectations are potentially damaging because they set us and others up for failure. She adds that “unrealistic expectations assume a level of control, that we don’t actually have …

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Are you a people-pleaser?

Giving and pleasing look exactly the same on the outside but they both come from a different place or motivation of the heart. They even feel different because giving comes from a positive space and people-pleasing comes from a negative one. Stacey Martino, a relationship expert, refers to people-pleasing as ‘the kiss of death’ because we are giving from a place of insecurity (our need for approval and to be valued).  We are doing it for the wrong reasons and this creates resentment. People-pleasing drains you emotionally because you really didn’t want to do it in the first place. You just did it to please someone. And if we experience rejection it magnifies our resentment. An internal explosion is not to far away. Giving comes from a positive place of optimism hopefulness, passion, gratitude, joy and desire to bless. People-pleasing comes from a place of insecurity, doubt, worry, jealousy, disappointment, blame or boredom. Ultimately, people-pleasing stems from our need to be loved and valued. It is rooted in insecurity.  We don’t know our true worth …

Watch Gospel music ring out at Hurricane Harvey rescue shelter

Gospel singer Victoria White and others entertained people taking shelter from Hurricane Harvey in the Lone Star Convention and Expo Center in Conroe, Texas, north of Houston. The song was videoed by volunteer Joni Villemez-Commeaux. White works as an admission counselor at Sam Houston State University. She was ministering with Outreach Missions who was raising support for the victims of Harvey. White’s powerful voice emanated in the hall as others joined the singing. So far the video posted on Facebook has been viewed over 12 million times. The death toll for the storm is now nearing 40 and includes the rescue of 13,000 people trapped by the rapidly rising waters that hit Houston and area. Sources: Lifting spirits: Texas woman breaks out into incredible gospel performance inside Hurricane Harvey shelter: Daily Mail Watch: Spontaneous Gospel singing fills Harvey evacuation shelter: Breitbart

Eye of the hurricane Isabel as seen from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/Wikipedia

Living in the eye of the storm

In the midst of a raging hurricane that can have winds upwards of 250 kms an hour (Category 5) it has an eye that is typically between 30 km to 50 km wide. It is a place of calm. There are often no clouds allowing you to see the sun and blues skies. The wind is light. A person would never know there is a brutal storm raging beyond the horizon. This is the ‘eye of the storm.’ The world is in utter chaos today and as Christians we must live in the eye of the hurricane. So how do we do this? In Matthew, Jesus talks about having a single eye and this is the key to living in the ‘eye of the storm:’ “The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” (Matthew 6:22) In this verse Jesus says if we have a single eye, our whole body will be full of light. It can have blue skies in the …

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Are You living in the present?

“Don’t worry about tomorrow sufficient for the day is the evil [trouble thereof]. (Matthew 6:34) It has become clear the root of my worry stems from trying to plan for what may or may not happen the next day or even the weekend. Every angle is covered. With my worry I try to control the next day and the day after that. Elliot’s Commentary has an interesting spin on this verse, when he interprets “don’t worry about tomorrow” as “make most of the present.” Staying rooted and grounded firmly in the present day and moment will change your life. It allows us to get the most out of today. I remember one author stating that it is important to stay in the present for ourselves. I immediately discarded the thought. It would be so selfish. But after prayerful consideration, I changed my mind. When I am in the present for myself, I am able to discern the voice of God in my life. I am a much better person to live with and able to …

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Temple Incense Spices

Incense and Intercession [by Helene Rudolph] Alongside the fragrant precious anointing oil was the Temple Incense.  Incense is associated with intercession in scripture. “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Take for yourself spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, spices with pure frankincense; thee shall be an equal part of each.  And with it you shall make incense, a perfume, the work of a perfumer, salted, pure (and) holy.  And you shall beat some of it very fine, and put part of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting, where I shall meet with you; it shall be most holy to you.  And the incense which you shall make, you shall not make in the same proportions for yourselves; it shall be holy to you for the LORD”. Whoever shall make (any) like it, to use as perfume, shall be cut off from his people”. (Exodus 30:34-38) Pleasant Smells Revive the Soul The priesthood of old burned incense daily as a fragrant offering unto the LORD.  The Jewish Talmud records that women, as far …

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Skillful Musicians or Musicians of Snobbery?

While there has been much discussion that  musicians must excel to be part of a worship team, one wonders if Christian leaders often revert to snobbery rather than skilfulness when selecting musical players. Biblical Pattern In the first book of Chronicles we are shown the selection pattern used in David’s tabernacle to determine those who were to have a ministry in music. “And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after that the ark had rest.  And they ministered before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem: and then waited on their office according to their order.” (I Chronicles 6:31-32) The musicians selected were Levites, those separated to the work of the LORD. “And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethern to be the singers with instruments of music, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy.” (I Chronicles 15:16) …

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The Lost Art of Story Telling

For thousands of years, the Elders of a people have verbally passed true life stories down to their children.  This was a major way for history to be recorded before the time when individuals began to record events on writing materials. Today, with the invention of the printing press and the explosion of digital technology, communication is transferred, more often through electronic means than from the voice of a loving father. This makes one question, ‘Who’s voice are your children hearing?” Story Telling is an Elder’s Duty The Israelites understood it was their responsibility to pass true stories from one generation to another.  In fact, they recognized it was the way the Lord God would make His ways and acts known to the nations. Even within the Song of Moses, this reality was communicated to the congregation. “Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations.  Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you:” (Deuteronomy 32:7). Not only was the Song of Moses sung to the …

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Rock of Ages

These past two weeks, my husband and I spent time with his dad who was in a hospice dying of cancer. Along with other family members, we took turns spending the night with him. We didn’t want him to be alone. For years he had been the rock of his  family and now he needed us. When it was my turn, I prayed for him during the night when I got up to check on him. During the day, I often bent over him as he lay in his hospital bed and told him that he was safe under the shelter of Christ the rock and that living water was springing up in him to eternal life. Many times, I would put my hand firmly on his shoulders, squeeze them and say to him, do you you feel the grip I have on your shoulders?  Then he would nod or blink and I would tell him: “Jesus has a hold on you and He’s not letting go. He is  your rock and the  anchor of …

Model of the Tabernacle of Moses in Timna Park, Israel. Credit: Ruk7/Wikipedia

Grab Hold

In the Old Testament there is a piece of furniture in the outer court of the Tabernacle of Moses called the bronze altar. On it were four bronze horns. All worshipers had access to the altar, even fugitives could cling to the horns of the altar if they were seeking asylum (Exodus 21:13-14). There was a time when Solomon was to be the rightful King of Israel, but his brother Abonijah had the grand idea that he would be King. Their father, David, found out and proclaimed Solomon King, which made Abonijah fear for his life. He ran to the place of worship, grabbed the horns of altar and begged for mercy which he received that day.                                                            Adonijah was afraid of Solomon, so he rushed to the sacred tent and grabbed on to the horns of the altar. (1 Kings 1:50 NLT) I am sure there …

The Cassia plant source of one of the ingredients of the Holy anointing oil. Source: sylvan/Flickr/Creative Commons

Holy Anointing Oil

[by Helene Rudolph] Exodus 30:23-33 sets forth the instructions given by God to Moses concerning the making of the Holy Anointing Oil, which is symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Vessels were set apart unto God for sacred purposes, by anointing them with oil. With the mixture mentioned in this passage, Priests, Prophets and Kings were also consecrated for service to God, during the Old Covenant days.  (See I Sam. 10: 1- 6). “Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; you shall anoint for Me the one I name to you.” (I Sam. 16:13) The Recipe There were four fragrant ingredients added to the extra virgin olive oil namely myrrh, cinnamon, sweet cane (calamus) and cassia, to compound this oil.  Each of these fragrances carries a unique symbolic. Put together this oil carries a powerful message in and of itself.  The Holy anointing oil’s message speaks of sacrificial living, about walking righteously and upright according to God’s righteous standards and about judgments in humility. A Warning “And you …

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Liberated Artisans

In a previous article on “Craftsmen in Captivity ” we discussed the many ways in which artists and musicians are taken into captivity. Today, we want to “declare liberty to those  who are bound”. By open acknowledgment and repentance from sin and idols of the heart, one can set forth on a path of freedom for their spirit, soul and body. The Psalmist recognized the one LORD God, Elohim, as the great deliverer who could literally cause the freed captives to dream and sing. “When the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion We were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, And our tongue within singing. Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us, Whereof we are glad. Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south.” (Psalm 126:1- 4) When Jesus Christ read a scroll written by the prophet Isaiah, he recognized the anointing of the Spirit of the LORD. God gave …

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Craftsmen in Captivity

Coveting Works for Gain History records that craftsmen, artists and musicians have been consistently targeted by their enemies.  They are often taken into captivity since those who carry a Babylonian spirit desire to make merchandise of their creative gifts. Multiple stories of coveting works for gain are documented repeatedly throughout the Bible. “Woe to him who covets evil gain for his house, That he may set his nest on high, That he may be delivered from the power of disaster!” (Habakkuk 2:9) They Only Want to Worship Moses was called to bring deliverance to his people the Israelites, who were slaves to Pharaoh (Exodus 5).  Pharaoh became furious when he discovered the Israelites wanted to go into the desert and sacrifice to the most High God.  Ever consider that it was a Jewish workforce who helped build the Egyptian Pyramids? Today that Egyptian spirit still runs rampant. Have you wondered why anointed musicians and artists who only want to exalt the most high God are targeted in our modern age?  It all has to do …

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Moving in time with heaven

The Holy Spirit will  give very specific words to me at times – words that I do not normally use in everyday conversation.  I love it when He does this, as it always sends me on a Kingdom treasure hunt. A week ago, Holy Spirit brought the word RECALIBRATE to me in a dream, and I believe He is revealing to us His work within the Body of Christ at this time.  To RECALIBRATE means, basically to CALIBRATE AGAIN.  Here are some definitions I’d like to share with you to deepen your understanding: Calibrate:  to adjust precisely for a particular function; to measure precisely, especially against a standard (merriam-webster.com). Additionally, here are some definitions of the word RECALIBRATE: Recalibrate:  to calibrate something again, or differently. (google.ca).  To make small changes to an instrument so that it measures accurately; to change the way you do or think about something (dictionary.cambridge.org). Many of God’s people are experiencing a season of transition at this time, or are otherwise recognizing that there is a shift in the Spirit.  I …

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How strong is God’s love for you?

What picture would help us grasp the magnitude of this love? There is a verse in the Song of Solomon that describes the love between the bride and bridegroom — a picture of the love relationship between Jesus and His Church, the people of God. “Set me like a seal upon your heart, like a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy is as hard and cruel as Sheol (the place of the dead). Its flashes are flashes of fire, a most vehement flame (the very flame of the Lord)! (Song of Solomon 8:6) It provides several metaphors revealing God’s unquenchable love for us: the seal, death, fire and jealousy. The Seal In Biblical times, the seal was a stamp of ownership and authenticity put on an object. In the Song of Solomon, the Shulamite woman is asking her lover to put this stamp of ownership on her heart so she can be completely and only his. Brown’s Bible Commentary describes it this way: “She was ‘leaning’ on Him, that is, her …

Jacob's sons show their father Joseph's cloak telling their father Joseph was killed by a wild animal Credit: Wikipedia Painting by Diego Velazquez (1599-1660)

Coat of Many Colors

We live in a world that often obsesses about the latest fashion trend.  Models and actors display top designers’ latest creations in magazines, fashion shows, movies, television and other multi-media venues. A culture of image-making has emerged causing a mass identity crisis for youth and adults alike. How tragic it is when an individual is shunned because of the clothes they are wearing, yet this happens multiple times a day.

While most of our garments are bought on a rack at a local shop, the mass production of clothing is a more recent phenomena.  At one time, all clothing was made by hand and tailored to fit an individual’s frame. Sewing and designing clothes was a skill passed down from generation to generation. Mothers were concerned that their children wore garments suited to their local climate and lovingly designed clothes which fit the environment. Proverbs 31 gives a detailed description of a virtuous woman who is known by her many good deeds and creative works.  This includes making garments for her household and her community. Her …

Guatemala City Credit: Carlos Reis/Flickr/Creative Commons

The elevator ride

We were on an elevator at the Canadian Embassy in Guatemala City heading up to the fifth floor to pick up the visa that would allow us to bring our adopted son home to Canada. We were passing the fourth floor when the elevator lurched and began to jerk downward. Our one year old son, who was in my arms, began to cry. Then it stopped. We were stranded halfway between the 3rd and 4th floor. The frantic pressing of buttons did not produce any movement. Our lawyer, a Christian woman, began to confidently and loudly pray in tongues.  We waited holding our breath. After what seemed like hours, but was only a few minutes, the elevator began to inch upwards to the fourth floor. I breathed a sigh of relief. Then there was another lurch. The elevator stopped and we began rapidly descending down. We watched the numbers flickering by as we passed the main floor to the basement. It seemed we were descending much faster than we should be. Just before we hit …

How God sees us. Credit: Jeremy Brooks/Creative Commons

You are who God says you are

[by Céline Giguère] Despite the turmoil in my life, this morning I woke up happy and praising God that I was alive and able to still serve Him. I was content to be loved by my heavenly Father (daddy) while sipping my coffee and watching my favorite program on TV. I caught the tail-end of a testimony of a young lady, who did not believe that she would succeed in life. Yet, after becoming a Christian, she graduated from Harvard and is now working toward a doctorate in Theology. Like many before, her purpose in life was to declare that God did not exist. People like Frank Morrison (lawyer) and C. S. Lewis (philosopher and writer) and Voltaire (philosopher and writer) did not believe in God. Among these, only the latter did not turn to God.  But on his death-bed, Voltaire admitted that he could not disprove God’s existence. But for the woman, it was the understanding of how God saw her that broke and brought her to a place of rest and transformation in …

A prayer walk

A month ago a few ladies from our Church gathered at Government House Gardens here in Regina, Saskatchewan for a prayer walk. We usually gather once a month at a park, historical site or Government building to pray for our city, country and nation. This year we decided to produce a video about our walk to show you what we do. It is our first video and it is not perfect. It is dark in spots and at other points our videoing could be better, but we hope to improve as we create more videos for our YouTube channel — Bashful & Bold. It was a bright, sunny day. The flowers and bushes were just beginning to bloom. We started to walk when we noticed a fragrance in the air and were drawn to the Cherry Blossom trees with their full pink blooms at the end of the lane. We were reminded of the verse in  2 Corinthians about the aroma of Christ and prayed into this verse that the fragrance of Christ in us …

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It All Begins with a Story

The Bible is a collection of 66 Books containing hundreds of stories.  It starts with, “In the Beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth” (Genesis 1:1), and ends with John’s vision of Jesus declaring, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Revelation 22:13). These biblical stories record the history of mankind from Adam to Abraham and the birth of the nation of Israel.  It gives a chronicle of Israel from generation to generation.  It tells us of the birth, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, unto the early years of the church age. The Bible contains prophesies, some fulfilled within the context of the entire Bible, some fulfilled the past 2,000 years since the New testament writings.  Still others of these Biblical prophecies are being fulfilled today and some will be fulfilled in the future. More copies of the Bible has been sold or freely distributed than any other book in the world.  It is recognized world-wise as the greatest Book ever written.  It …

The Peruvian desert, one of the driest places in the world. Credit: Mariano Mantel/Flickr/Creative Commons

A rose in the desert

We were in shock. We had just been pulled off a bus by two armed soldiers.  I thought it was the last time I would see my husband. Terrified, we stood as they searched our passports and found what they were looking for.  A small piece of paper stuck in our passports stamped with our entry date to Peru. We had no idea how important that inch-sized paper was. It was all that stood between us returning to the bus or jail. The soldiers motioned for us to return to the bus and we sat in unbelief about what had just happened. The terrain around us was all desert. Tall, barren mountains hung over us as we traveled on to our destination. Two hours later we entered a valley. Suddenly there was vegetation as the landscape turned green. This valley had been irrigated and the small town in its midst survived because of it. The desert in Southern Peru is one of the driest places in the world. We learned later it hadn’t rained there …

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My open heart

Some days, I have to work hard to keep my heart open to people around me. I am reminded of a butterfly opening itself up as it pushes its beautiful wings back and exposing its fragile center and the warmth of its colorful wings. Somedays, I am the butterfly, pushing  back my comparisons, criticisms and expectations of those around me to keep my heart open despite how vulnerable I feel.  These decisions propel me forward and enable me to embrace those around me with more kindness and tolerance. I am learning not to take things so personally. It seems the more sure and secure I become of my identity and value in Christ, the less I need to judge or define others as arrogant, insensitive or rude. I am at peace with myself. I am good with me. “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.  I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19:18) It is my own insecurities, fears and sometimes victim mentality that creates …

Blind leading the blind by Francesco Pieter Brueghel the elder (1525-1569) Credit: Choo Yut Shing/Flickr/Creative Commons

Insight into Riddles

Webster’s Dictionary defines riddle as,  “Something proposed to be solved by guessing or conjecture; a puzzling question; an ambiguous proposition; an enigma; hence, anything ambiguous or puzzling.”

Encyclopedia Britannica describes a riddle as a, “deliberately enigmatic or ambiguous question requiring a thoughtful and often witty answer. The riddle is a form of guessing game that has been a part of the folklore of most cultures from ancient times. Western scholars generally recognize two main kinds of riddle: the descriptive riddle and the shrewd or witty question.”

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary calls a riddle, “a mystifying, misleading, or puzzling question posed as a problem to be solved or guessed.” Hebrew Definition The Hebrew word ‘hdyx’ (chiyah) is the original word translated to ‘riddle’ in the Old Testament.  ‘Hdyx’ is also translated in some scriptures as, ‘dark sayings’ and ‘difficult questions’. The Hebrew word ‘hdyx’ is  translated into English as, “riddle, difficult question, parable, enigmatic saying or question, perplexing saying or question”. Form of Entertainment In today’s society it is common for family members to watch television and play video …

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The river of life

I remember five years ago, when I deliberately chose once and for all to forgive those who had wounded me over the years. It involved people I regularly interacted with at church and work. In my mind’s eye, I dumped it all on a garbage heap and burned it. When I looked back there was nothing left but smoke. Every time, I was reminded of the incident and was tempted to look back, I only saw blackened earth. There was nothing left to remember or react to. On my journey to wholeness over the past few years, I have learned that offense throws me completely off course and away from the purpose and plans God has for my life. Unforgiveness, and its children anger and resentment, created a current in my life that pulled me backwards and worked against the moving of the Holy Spirit. It was an extra weight in my boat as I navigated up the river of life.  I was not gaining ground spiritually and my boat was sinking. Unforgiveness attracted the …

Credit: Justin/Flickr/Creative Commons

Come-back Singers

Michael Jackson was just 50 years old when he died June 25, 2009. While no one will deny the man’s God-given talent for song and dance which was displayed in his early years, there are many questions surrounding his bizarre behavior in the second half of his life. The day of Michael Jackson’s death, I attended a weekly worship and prayer meeting where one spirit-filled Believer stated that she had been thinking about all the ‘old’ singers who have started touring again. Since many things in life begin with the natural (I Cor. 15:46) and then the spiritual, she wondered what implications this resurfacing of old musicians might have in the spiritual realm. Michael Jackson, as so many legendary acts like “The Eagles” and “The Rolling Stones,” wanted to make a come-back into the entertainment world. But as a believer that Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and the only one to be worshiped, I have to wonder if any person who claims himself to be the King of the music world will be …

What is your story? Credit: rafaelsoares/Flickr/Creative Commons

Changing your story

We all have a story to tell and often people read our story before we actually get to tell it. I have learned that we often give people evidence about ourselves by our words and actions. My insecurities have spoken for themselves and my perception of myself and life has shone through. Literally, I have handed over my story to others by the way I talk about myself, present myself and perceive life. In a matter of moments, people will take what I present and form an opinion of me. We are an open book to this world. So the question is what story am I telling? Is it one of hardship, struggle and pain, a perpetual victim-hood that never ends or is it one of a victor — a person who is overcoming each and everyday? And if it isn’t the latter, do I want to change my story? Our struggles, our pain, our disharmony with life, circumstances and people are opportunities for growth. They provide the platform to dive into the depths of …