Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I'll Be A Monkey's Uncle...NOT!

Well, actually I can't be a monkey's uncle because I am a woman...but all kidding aside...

On a serious note, I just read an article ( http://www.canada.com/national/story.html?id=6f9627aa-d6b5-4ddb-be99-dd95c5afd9bd) about how scientists are trying to decipher DNA from a chimpanzee, and claim that this animal is "the closest living relative to mankind." They are trying to find out what "makes" us human. This sort of thing just makes me shake my head and wonder when mankind will stop trying to find how we descended from these creatures and accept the truth! They, and others, need to wake up and smell the coffee!

What makes us human? I'll give you three guesses and the first two don't count. That's right, God makes us human! The book of Genesis in the Old Testament tells us this fact. In Genesis 1:24-25 we read:

"Then God said, 'Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind'; and it was so. God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good."

Then, in a separate act of creativity we are told (verses 26-28) "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'"

Apes of any size, shape, and kind are not human. God did not create apes in His image and decid that He wasn't satisfied with them and allowed them to evolve...no, we read in verse 31 "God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good." If God was not satisfied with His creations, they would not have been 'very good'.

Now, I am not a scientific person but have read that DNA can NOT be changed from one thing to another. That is, the DNA for a rat will not be found in a dog. Human's have a specific DNA code as do all creatures. Darwin even apparently claimed before his death that his whole evolution theory was false. So, why do people today still try to claim it is truth?

This article states that humans "picked up" the traits such as walking erect and developing a complex language. Sorry, but we didn't pick up these things. We were CREATED this way. One of the scientists states that they "have the instruction book of our closest relative." Well, my closest relatives happen to be my parents and two brothers, not a bunch of chimps, so unless they've been testing my family without me knowing, they have NOT been testing my closest relative!

Please read the article at the above link, and let me know your views/thoughts on this.




Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Come Near To God

"Come near to God and He will
come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you
double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your
joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up."
(James 4:8-10)

We are told to come near to God and He will
come near to us. But how can we, as sinners, come near to Him? We seek Him
through prayer, call out to Him and repent of any unconfessed sins we have
committed. Sin is what separates us from God. Confess all sin, repent
and seek His forgiveness and restoration. Once our sins are forgiven, our path
becomes clear so that we may draw near to Him, and in turn He to
us.

We are
told that we are to have clean hands and a pure heart. The symbolism of sinners
washing their hands (according to the Zondervan NIV Study Bible) stems from the
Old Testament priests. "Before the priests could approach God at the
tabernacle they had to wash their hands and feet at the bronze basin as a symbol
of spiritual cleansing." The 'Believer's Bible Commentary' by William
MacDonald (pg. 2237) says: "Hands speak of actions and hearts represent our
motives and desires. We cleanse our hands and purify our hearts through
confession and forsaking sins, both outward and inward. As sinners we need to
confess evil acts; as double-minded people we need to confess our mixed
motives." Psalm 24:4 also mentions clean hands and pure
hearts. In Matthew 5:8 Jesus says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see
God."

Verse 9
is telling us (according to the 'Believer's Bible Commentary', pg. 2237) "Confession should be accompanied by deep sorrow for sin...[we should] mourn
over our sinfullness, powerlessness, coldness, and barrenness. We should humble
ourselves and weep over our materialism, secularism, and formalism. Both
inwardly and outwardly, we should manifest the fruit of godly
repentence."

Verse 10
is meaning that we need to be humble before the Lord. Matthew Henry's online
commentary says: "Humility of spirit is here required, as in the sight of
him who looks principally at the spirits of men. Those that draw nigh to God in
a way of duty shall find God drawing night to them in a way of mercy. Draw nigh
to Him in faith, and trust, and obedience, and he will draw nigh to you for your
deliverance." In being humble before God, He will lift us up. Jesus gives
us this promise as well in Matthew 23:12 "whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

I encourage each and every person reading this to seek the Lord
always. Let us humble ourselves before Him, let us make sure that our hands are
clean and our hearts are pure. Come near to God and He will come near to
you.

God bless you all and have a Christ
filled day!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Latest Entry To The Writers Challenge...

Wow...how shocked I was when I logged into the writers forum to check on the latest entries for the writers challenge. My entry received first place, and eighth place for the editors choice! From my understanding, all weekly entries that place in the editors choice are put into a book that is put out every July 1st. The book isn't something that is given for free to those who are published in it (it would have to be bought), but it is a great opportunity to show that one has been published and gets ones work out there.

Anyway, I thought I would post my luggage entry here for you all to read and see how you like or dislike it...

Luggage Larry
Pastor Jim Parker finished replacing the last of the hymn books on the pews and noticed something odd at the front of the sanctuary. Tentatively, he walked forward to examine it. It was an old brown beat-up suitcase, and he immediately recognized it as belonging to “Luggage” Larry. What on earth is that doing here; and where was Larry? He was never seen without this suitcase!

As he drew closer, Jim could see a small piece of paper lying on top. He bent down to retrieve it. A single line of messy handwriting revealed the message. “This is for you Jesus. I don’t want it anymore.”

Abandoning all caution, Jim opened the suitcase. Hundreds of notebooks and scraps of paper filled it to overflowing. He took the top notebook and flipped through it, reading several entries here and there. With a puzzled look on his face, he repeated the process several times.

As Jim rifled through the contents of the suitcase, two uniformed policemen entered the small church, and proceeded to walk up the aisle. Jim stood to greet them. “Hello officers, what can I do for you?”

“Are you James Parker? Pastor James Parker?” The larger of the two officers asked.

“Yes.” Jim wondered what they could want.

“Are you acquainted with a homeless man named Larry? Also known as Luggage Larry.” The shorter officer read the name from his notepad.

“Yes. Larry visits the soup kitchen I run on Baker Street. He comes here now and then as well. He is a troubled man and we talk about Jesus, and how He could help ease Larry’s troubles.” Jim was curious now. What was going on?

“Larry was found dead this morning in the alley behind your soup kitchen.” It was the first officer again. Jim looked at him and could see indifference on his face. Larry was just another statistic to them.

“How did you know to come here?” Jim had to sit down again. He couldn’t believe that Larry was dead. He had just spoken to him the day before. Larry had been more worried than normal and he had seemed weaker, but Jim had figured Larry was just feeling a little ill.

The two policemen remained standing. The larger man unfolded two pieces of paper that he was holding. “He was clutching a small black suitcase to his chest, and he was holding this church bulletin containing your name and address in one hand.” He passed it to Jim to examine.

“Yes, this is from our church. We hand them out every week.” Jim examined the bulletin. Scrawled on the back was identical handwriting to that on the note, as well as that which filled the notebooks and scraps of paper.

“We opened the suitcase he was holding, and all that was inside was a note, a stupid note. Don’t know why he was holding on to that; doesn’t make sense to me. It was some verse from the Bible.” The smaller officer rolled his eyes.

The larger officer handed the second piece of paper to Jim to read.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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.” (Matt. 11:28-30, NASB)

Jim smiled. Now he understood why Larry had left his suitcase in the church. He looked up and as he had suspected, Larry had placed it at the foot of the cross. The suitcase contained every single worry, fear and burden that Larry had had over the years. He had documented them and carried them around with him for so long, unable to let go.

The symbolic act of placing his overflowing suitcase at the foot of the cross had meant that Larry had finally let go of the great weight. He had given it all to Jesus! Unfortunately, Larry hadn’t learned this earlier on so that he could have lived his life without worry, and let Jesus take care of his problems. However, Jim was thankful that Larry had died knowing Jesus as his Saviour.

Jim smiled again. “Let me tell you about Larry and his symbolic act.” He said to the two men. As he said a silent prayer that the Lord would touch these men and plant seeds for the Kingdom, he began his story.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Tag....Yikes!

Ok...Now, May over at http://maygozun.blogspot.com has tagged me. I must write 5 random things about myself...so here goes nothing:

1. I love cats! I have one, named Tinker Belle and she's the smartest cat! She knows how to get out the front door, and will do so...that means we need to keep it locked at all times.

2. I am entering my 4th and final year for my Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies. Looking forward to it, but also nervous. I will be applying (in January) for the Bachelor's of Education to become an elementary school teacher.

3. I just came from seeing "The Brothers Grimm" movie that was released today. I really had no idea what to expect, that is if it was a biographical sort of movie or what. It's not but weaves some of their tales into the plot...wasn't too bad.

4. My best friend's name is Kristina and I am so glad that the Lord put her in my life. I got to know her about the time we both started University in 2002. She is an awesome sister in Christ!!

5. My favourite colour is purple...doesn't matter the shade it is, I enjoy it...just ask anyone who knows me!

Jess over at http://theroamingpossum.blogspot.com it is now YOUR turn, you have been tagged!

Not By Sight

Ok...by popular request, here is my highly commended story from the other day that I promised...

Not By Sight
There we sat, my grandfather and me, on a rusted and paint-chipped iron bench in the middle of the park we visited together frequently. No words had escaped our lips as we experienced one of our many comfortable silences. When I finally did speak, I had asked what he had been thinking about. I was curious about the far away look on his face, and knew he was lost in thought.

“Well, John, I was thinking about this park and its beauty; the wild roses by the entryway, all the different varieties of beautiful flowers in the beds, the fountain that everyone throws change into when they make a wish.” There was a hint of sadness in his voice now, “The little grove of birch trees down by the pond providing a cool place to sit on a hot day.” He indicated with a swing of his arm in the general location. “Martha, your grandmother, and I used to sit under them after church every Sunday and have a picnic. In fact, I got down on one knee and proposed to her on that very spot!” I could tell Gramps was reminiscing again. He was old and looked so frail now. I didn’t know if we would be making many more visits to our park.

That had been a week ago, and I couldn’t believe that he was gone now. I felt as though a part of me had died with him. No more will I hear his stories, or see the world as I had for so long. I felt my eyes begin to fill with tears, and tried to remember the park as Gramps had described it; but I couldn’t. Those images, like Gramps, were gone.

“Hey, Buddy.” A gruff male voice startled me out of my reverie. I had been so lost in thought that I hadn’t heard anyone approach. “You alright?”

“Uh, yeah.” I said and wiped my eyes.

“Where’s the old man I usually see you with? I sure get quite a chuckle out of him.” He said with a grin. It was the hot dog vendor that I had frequented during my visits with Gramps. “He always went on and on about this park and how beautiful it is. It sure takes a really good imagination to see beauty in this here dump.” He grimaced at what he saw.

The reality of my surroundings hit me hard, like a slap to the face that left a handprint. Through Gramps’ descriptions, I had always viewed the park as he had seen it; from a time when it had been in all its splendor and glory! Now, it stood in such contrast; stark and almost naked. The pond was littered with debris, and greenish-brown scum floated on top like congealed gravy. The flower beds were overrun with weeds that choked the life out of struggling seedlings, and dandelions ran freely over the brown, sun-scorched lawn. As well, his beloved grove of birches had been cut down.

Anger rose inside me, but quickly died away. Obviously this man didn’t know about Gramps, so I couldn’t fault him for that. “That old man was my grandfather, and I just came from his funeral. He talked about the park the way he had always remembered it.” I glanced up, and waited for his reaction to my next statement “Gramps had been blind for 50 years.”

The vendor’s mouth fell open. “I…ahhh...I’m…sorry. I didn’t know.” He stuttered, feeling stupid.

I continued with my explanation. “Gramps was a man of God, a Christian, most of his life. He always had hope for the day he would be with Jesus, because then he would be able to see again. He never lost that hope. He always talked about what the Bible says about being content in all situations. So, Gramps learned to be content with his blindness long ago. He saw the park through his memories, and that’s how I saw it too. It might be a dump now, but it wasn’t always like this. I always saw the beauty through his eyes.”

We sat there together in silence, the hot dog vendor and me. No words crossed our lips for several minutes. I looked over at this virtual stranger and asked, “So, what are you thinking?”

“I’m thinking that I could have used your grandfather’s sight so that I could see.” He hung his head low and sighed.

Vacation

Just wanted to post a short note (yes, this one will be short, I promise) to let everyone know that I am on vacation and probably won't be able to post here until this coming Monday, August 29th.

Hope everyone is blessed and having Christ filled days!!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Highly Commended

Wow! I read my email this morning and saw that there was a message saying that my entry to the first writing challenge I had actually entered (not the one that I shared a couple of days ago) with my short story called Not By Sight had had a comment posted to it. Well, I went and checked and the person who gave the comment (a good one) also said congrats on winning. I was dumbfounded...what did she mean?

So, I headed over to the site and logged in. I had forgotten that today is Monday, the day they announce the winners to the previous week's challenge. So, I clicked on the spot to read the winners. I was in the beginner category, so I didn't have far to look. I managed to get a "Highly Commended" position. They have a first, second and third place as well as two highly commended. I didn't place in the top three, but it was still a "win". Out of all the entries (and there were a lot) I managed to get that spot! And this was on my first "real" entry!

I'm still in a little shock over it. I NEVER expected it to win or get the HC either. I give ALL praise for the positive comments and the win to the Lord. I prayed for the words to write. I prayed that someone, even if it was just one person, would get something from the story. I want to use my writing as a way to glorify Jesus. I may post it at a later date here as well for you all to read too.

Thank you Lord for this Highly Commended spot in which my story placed. Thank you for the words I used. I give all the praise to You!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Wheelchair Parking

Today I went to Zellers to pick up a few things (I don't have a car anymore and no insurance, so my dad drove me). For those of you who aren't Canadian, you probably have never heard of Zellers. I believe that it is simply a Canadian version of K-Mart (though we used to have a K-Mart here too, it closed down several years ago).

Now, as we were leaving, a car pulls up into one of the parking spaces clearly marked off with a sign and a painted symbol on the pavement. It is definately a parking space for those who are handicapped (sorry if this isn't the right term to use, my appologies to all). This is a spot reserved for those who use a wheelchair or walker; those who have difficulty walking.

We drove slowly past and watched the driver put up the little card "thingy" that hangs from the rearview mirror. He was letting everyone know that it was "ok" for them to be there. As we continued to drive, shock of all shocks (NOT!) he got out and walked into the store. No wheelchair, no walker, no limp, no cruches...walked as good as anything.

What really irks me, is that those spots are specifically designed for those who can not walk, or have trouble in getting around. Out of 1000 parking spots, there are probably only 8-10 wheelchair spots. Now, I don't have any clue if these numbers are right, but you get my drift...there are a FAR greater amount of regular parking spaces compared to the wheelchair ones. I remember being with a couple of friends and going to the mall one day. The one driving says "It's not fair that there is so many parking spots for wheelchairs." I said "Oh yeah, look at how many regular parking spots there are in comparison and tell me now if you think there are too many spots for people in wheelchairs." That shut her up. She was just annoyed that she couldn't park as close to the door as she wanted...

Have people become so lazy that they can't walk the short distance...or even a long distance from their car to the store? We who can walk should be thanking God and praising Him that we can do this simple feat! But what can we do about this, short of placing an anonymous (or even signed) note on the windshield of the cars belonging to those who park in those spots when they shouldn't? A letter in the public opinion of the newspaper might get read by all, but I doubt that would do anything either. What can we do? Park where we should be parking, and not where we shouldn't be.

So, my post today is directed at those who park in parking spots they shouldn't be in. So what if you have one of those hangy things for your rearview mirror. If you do not have anyone in the car with you (and you can walk fine), or the person who is wheelchair bound STAYS in the car, you should NOT be taking up that space. You can walk. Go to a regular space. If you park there just because you are "only going to be a couple of minutes in the store", park in a REGULAR space. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this one out! What is so important about getting that first parking space? If it is a regluar spot, fine, go for it. But leave the wheelchair parking for those who need it!

Like I said, God gave us two feet and a heart beat...use them. Be thankful that you can walk. Just think of those who can't walk and would give almost anything to be able to do so. There are so many parking places we can park in, and so few that those who can't walk have. Don't take that away from them.

Remember, the Bible tells us to treat others the way we want to be treated. If you were in a wheelchair or using a walker, would you really want someone who wasn't in one parking in a place designated for you? I doubt it.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Great Debate Tonight

The great debate tonight is on whether or not to share my first entry to the writting challenge that I had talked about in a previous post - the entry that didn't end up submitted. So, I have decided to end the debate and just simply post it. Remember though, I am not a professional...yet! Hope you all enjoy it.

The Only True Retreat

In the still and quiet of the inky blackness where I had sought my retreat, I sat with my eyes closed and strained to listen to the sounds of what lay beyond me. I could not face it, the dread that once again threatened me. I had entered into my prayer closet to search and find the peace I desperately needed.

It was a faint echo at first, and I could hardly distinguish it from the other sounds and distractions. It echoed from a distance as it attempted to blend in with the day-to-day noise, hoping to catch me off guard. It was searching for me. I knew it, just as surely as I knew that it would not stop until it overtook and devoured me. I held my breath. Would it find me? I was trying so hard not to let it win this time. It seemed, as of late, that this proved a more and more difficult challenge.

Scritch, scritch, scritch. There it was! The reverberation was closer now, an ever increasing scratching on the other side of the door. It was so close, just a few feet away. I could tell it was aggravated and remained persistent. It would not stop until it oppressed me – until it took control of my mind. “No,” I whispered. “You will not have me today. You will be the one overpowered!”

My hands began to tremble. I could feel the tiny hairs on the back of my neck stand on end; beads of perspiration appeared on my brow. It was so close; closer than it had been just moments ago. Somehow it had managed to penetrate into the darkness that encircled me. It had found me, but did I have the strength to defend myself this time?

“Oh God!” I cried out my prayer in anguish to Him. “Help me overcome this dread and fear! I can’t take it anymore. I am too weak!” Tears spilled down my cheeks, and I was emotionally exhausted and spent. I wondered when I would have the resilience to face my fears, if that were at all even possible.

Wiping away the tears, I reached for the flashlight that assisted my ability to read here in the closet. Familiar shadows danced beyond the edge of the beam as the light came to life. Thankfully, the illumination would help keep this monster at bay, though only momentarily. I knew what was required in this situation. I needed to search God’s Word, for that is where to find the essential answers to any given situation. I opened directly to the Psalms, feeling the Lord guide me to what I needed to hear; to what would help me win this battle. I held the flashlight close to the Book, the words beckoning to be read. They seemed to radiate out into the dimness, bringing forth light. God’s words are a strong illumination, a guiding beacon.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear…” (Psalm 46:1-2, NSAB)

God was gently reminding me to seek Him when I am afraid. Only He can help me stand firm against all my fears; I can not do it on my own. In order for fear not to be the ruler of my life, I must stay focused on Him. Then, and only then, will my fears dissipate and I will find my retreat - the peace I so eagerly long for.


Our retreat, our refuge, is neither found in some distant land nor high on a mountain peak. It is not in a cabin run in secluded woods or even in one’s prayer closet. Our retreat is found in the Lord Jesus Christ! With Him in our lives, there is no need for any other type of haven; for those others are mere temporal places that will one day be destroyed. Jesus will never be destroyed! He is the only real haven that we can truly count on! It is only in Him that we will find our true retreat – the peace that comes in knowing and trusting Him.


“…so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NASB)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Moon Flowers and Drawing

Today, my mom was telling me about this remarkable flower that she read about in the paper. This flower is called a Moon Flower. During the day, apparently this plant looks like it is dead and the leaves are all droopy...not a pretty sight. However, at night this plant perks up and the bloom(s) will open up. By morning, it is dead. The plant will bloom in this manner every couple of evenings. I told mom she should see if they can get some seeds or a plant or two for their garden.

I did a Google search on Moon Flower, and found out that it is a white flower (related to the morning glory) and it pollinated by moths, which are attratected to it's white colouring.

It reminded me once more of how amazing and creativeGod is, and that He is the one who created this unique flower to be the way that it is.

In other news, I received back confirmation today for my courses for this next school year. There was only once classed that I couldn't get into, due to it being filled already. That class was The Church in Scripture and Society. I don't mind thought. Advanced Hebrew is also a go (so I will have to brush up and review what I learned last year). I was able to get into the Fundamentals of Drawing class that I really want to take. I had signed up for it last year, but unfortunately the prof had had a heart attack a couple of weeks before school started. My only problem with taking the drawing course is that it is to be on Wednesday evenings from 6:45 to 9:30 (it's a one class a week deal).

Normally on Wednesday evenings I help out with the mid week kids program at church. I have been doing that for about 4 years now. I emailed the head leader of the program (will talk to her in person on Sunday) to let her know my predicament. I know she'll understand, but I feel really bad because they are having a hard time finding leaders for the program (please pray for this). I told her that I would still be able to help from January til the end (in April or May). I also said that if the class was cancelled for whatever reason I would still help out. I also feel that I need a little break from this, and this might be the opportunity for it.

I have the book and accessory package from last year, so I won't have to buy it again. This is something I've wanted to do for so long. Actually, I had bought the book that is used (Drawing On the Right Side of the Brain) a few years ago when I was taking painting lessons. The man that was teaching me painting had recommened it to me so that I could learn to draw, which would help with my painting (usually in many cases you need to sketch something first before painting it). Now, I could try it on my own but I need the accountablility and responsibility of a classroom setting for something like this...especially to make sure I'm doing things right. I'm not a naturally gifted artsy sort of person. I like it and would love to be an artist, but I need lessons for it.

I also figure it might help me since I want to be a teacher (and felt the Lord calling me to do this), and if I have to teach art (elementary school), I thought at least knowing how to draw would be a benefit for that as well. I know the education students take a class on teaching art to the kids, so this could play into that.

Well, this will be all for now. Don't want to bore everyone to tears!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Can You Hear Him?

Recently, I began reading in the book of 1 Samuel in the Old Testament. This next school year I will be taking a course on 1 Samuel in the first semester, and 2 Samuel in the second semester so I thought I would read these two books again beforehand to remind myself what they are about.

In 1 Samuel 3, we read of Samuel hearing God call to him, but he thought it was Eli. In verse 7 of this chapter we read "Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD been revealed to him." As I continued to read this chapter, Eli had clued in that it was God calling Samuel and thus instruced the boy what to say.

I thought about this and wondered just how do we recognize when God is calling us or speaking to us? Well, a big help in knowing this is to establish a relationship with Him. When we daily seek Him and get into His Word and pray, we are more "intune" with Him then when we go about our daily lives without taking the time to work on the relationship.

For myself, I have found recently (and in the past), that the less time I spend with the Lord, the less I hear Him speaking to me. When I get into His word and not simply read but meditate over what I have read, I find that there are many times that He speaks to me through those particular verses. What is revealed might not be the answer to a prayer, but might be a reminder to me of who He is, of what He has done, etc. Sometimes it can be so easy to forget that God loves us so much, particulary if things aren't going so well for us. God can use His Word to give us a reminder in what we read that shows just how much He loves us.

Prayer is another way that we can hear and identify God speaking to us. It is important in prayer not to just simply ramble on and on and on with our requests, etc. but we need to also be quiet and LISTEN. If we do all of the talking, how can we hear His voice?

It's not always easy to hear God speaking to us, and sometimes we wonder or doubt if it is Him or if it is our thoughts that we hear in our minds. I am not saying that I can pinpoint every time that God speaks to me, or that I recognize His voice each time He calls on me. What I am saying, or rather admitting, is that I need to spend more time with the Lord than I currently am doing.

I know what I need to do...now all I need to do is actually DO it. Just for the record, I do spend some time with God, but not nearly as much as I should be. Please keep me in your prayers regarding this. I long to be a godly woman, an obedient child. I don't know if this is a case of "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" or not. Regardless, if I want to hear God speaking to me more than I do now, I need to do the footwork.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Crown and Sword

I had an incident that happened to me a couple of years ago that I would like to share and see if anyone has any ideas or thoughts about it.

It happened at church, after the morning service was over and people began to leave. A woman that I had never met in my life tapped me on the shoulder as I was speaking to a friend and said that she needed to talk to me. I didn't recognize her, and figured she must have had me confused with someone else. She explained that she was the sister-in-law to one of my church's well respected deacons. Her, her husband, this deacon and the deacon's wife were sitting in the row behind me, to the left. I did not know this until she told me after she introduced herself.

She went on to say that while she was sitting there, during the service, she had glanced over in my direction and saw that there was a golden crown on my head, and a sword running down the length of my spine. She said the handle of the sword went across my shoulders, an din the middle of the handle was a green emerald. She said that the crown, the stone, and the sword all meant something, but she wasn't quite sure. She said she was afraid to tell me this in case I thought she was psycho or something, but often got these visions to use as a way of encouraging others. She felt the Lord telling her to share this with me, so she did.

At the time, people had been saying that I was probably a prayer warrior because I was so much into it. I would pray for anyone and anything and felt it was a very important part of being a Christian. I still think it is important, but unfortunately I have been struggling with my prayer for a little while now (due to some other reasons unrelating to this). So, as we talked, she said she wasn't sure if it were to mean that it was confirmation I was/am a prayer warrior or not, but warriors use swords. She said the emerald was supposed to mean something too but she couldn't recall what the colour meant. She had a book on it at home (she lives on the west coast, and I'm on the east). I had also mentioned this to some other people who thought the sword might be referring to the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. It was at that time that I was really digging into the Word and writing "devotional" type pieces about what I had read.

So. It has been a couple of years now, maybe three, and I still don't know what this means. I know the Bible says we will all get crowns that we will lay at the feet of Jesus, but I don't know if that is what this is referring to or not.

Has any of you ever had an experience like this happen? If anyone has any knowledge on this sort of thing, in regard to the meaning, or any thoughts on the matter, or know how I can find out the meaning, please post them in the comment section. And yes, for the record, I did pray for understanding, etc. from God regarding the matter. I don't think to this day that I have had an answer though...and maybe I'm not meant to know.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Prayer Requests

I thought I would post some general prayer requests of people and/or situations that could use our prayers.

  1. Two separate families in my city have each lost a daughter (one was 21, the other 25) in separate car accidents. Please pray for these families during this rough time. The accident in which the 25 year old was killed also had the driver of that vehicle rushed to hospital, but he has non life threatening injuries.
  2. The country of Niger is in desperate need of food, especially for over 800,000 children under the age of five.
  3. Please remember to be in continual prayer for our pastors. Pray that they will have the boldness to speak the words that God has given them, pray that they will preach the Truth, pray for protection for them and their families, and for their marriages.
  4. Pray for the leaders of our countries. Pray that the Lord will place good, strong Christians in the various government offices to help guide and lead our countries.
  5. Please pray for May and her husband at http://maygozun.blogspot.com
  6. Please pray for Hannah at http://www.mybwokinwagun.blogspot.com (her post from August 5) that she will have clairty to know what she should do when she graduates from high school this year. Pray that the Lord will guide her and that she will seek His wisdom in what she should do.
  7. Please pray for Suzii at http://ladyofgrace.blogspot.com for her health, and that she will be back to work full time by next month. She has requested heavy duty prayers for this.
  8. Please pray for Mark (at http://washingtonbackpacker.blogspot.com) and Dave as they work out all the details for their upcoming ministry to the people of Seattle. They would like praye for wisdom and humility in this.
  9. Please pray for me, that I will grow more in my relationship and walk with Jesus. Pray that I will be more obedient, and that I will spend more time with Him than I have been lately.

I hope all mentioned here do not mind that I have posted prayer requests for them. Of course there are many more who need our prayers, these are just a few that I have come across. We are told in the Bible to share one anothers burdens, and a great way to share in this is to pray. By putting our focus on our brothers and sisters, as well as others who need prayer, we take the focus off us and our problems and that helps illiminate selfishness and selfcenteredness (because the focus is not on us). May God greatly bless you for sharing in the burdens of others.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A Big Ol' Sigh...

Sigh...There it is, my big ol' sigh. What is the cause of the sigh? Well, a lot of things really. Mostly the heat because that is what is affecting me the most the last couple of days. I don't do well in heat, so I am really feeling it. I am sitting here with the fan on 'high', blowing right at me and I am still sweating like a pig! Great visual eh?!

I am also sighing because of my first entry for the writers challenge that I entered for last week (entry deadline is always on the following Monday of when the topic gets posted, which is also every Monday). I didn't get the dreaded email until I got home from work Monday afternoon and it was too late to do anything about it. What is that you may ask? Well, it turns out my entry did not get submitted after all. Yes, after all that work, after gathering all my courage together to let other people read something I wrote...it did not get submitted!

You see, a new screen is supposed to pop up saying that your work had been submitted, but if it didn't to email them (it gave the email addy). I didn't get that screen so I emailed them. I got a reply back saying it had been submitted, so I thought I was good to go. However, on Monday I got another email saying that it did not get submitted. One of the ladies who is in charge of the challenged sent me a PM at the site asking me if I went under a different name because she couldn't see anything by me. I replied back saying what my screen name was and what my real name was because I didn't know which would turn up on my entry. I also told her the name of the article so she could check for that. If I had been home and got the PM and/or email, I might have had time to resubmit it. She had actually sent the PM after the deadline time but I think she would have allowed me to resubmit at that point, because she knew it was my first entry and didn't want me to be disappointed or anything because of something like this.

I decided that I would send the entry to a couple of people to read and critique. So far, one of the ladies I sent it to said it was very good and she liked the suspence in it and the element of fear. I haven't heard from the other yet, but she did sent me a PM to let me know she got the email and will read it tonight and let me know her thoughts and critiques on it. I haven't decided if I will print it out here yet or not. I might put it on the forums to get other comments. If I decide to do that, I will put a link so that if anyone is interested, he/she can read it.

Well, I was greatly disappointed, but I took it that maybe God wanted to test me to see if I was serious about writing or He wanted me to get some practice in. Of course it just might have been a glitch but whatever...Yes, I was disappointed, but now I plan on getting my piece submitted before Sunday afternoon like I did this time so that if something like this happens again, I will have the time to take care of it.

I have been working on this week's entry for the last couple of days. It's 'weird', but on Sunday after I had finished with the other entry, I had an idea for a possible story. The next day, Monday, I checked what the topic for this week would be...and what do you know! My idea can fit in with this topic! I have 520 words so far, and can have a maximum of 750. I actually feel excited for this story, more than I did with last weeks entry on the topic of Retreat. This week's topic is Sightseeing.

Well, I think I've rambled on long enough, so I will sign off for now. Wishing you all blessings in Him and hoping that your day is Christ filled!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Writer's Challenge

Ok. I have done it and there is no turning back now. I have hit the submit button and entered my entry for the writer's challenge that I had decided to take part in on the writer's forum I belong to. Thanks to Jess again for suggesting that site.

I am scared and nervous because this is the first real thing I have written (aside from these blog posts and some devotional type things I have written in the past on Christianity.com) and let anyone read. I know that not everyone will like my writing, nor will everyone agree with it. I don't expect to get glowing acclamations, but I am hoping some people will like it. The people who belong to the site (the members who take part that is) are allowed to read the entries and make comments on them. One good thing though, is that all entries are anonymous so that the comments are unbiased. Another good thing is that there are three separate categories for entry: beginning, intermediate, and advanced. This way someone like me, who is in the beginner category does not compete with (to my knowledge) someone in the advanced category. I've read some of the previous entries...wow! What talent!

I had the piece pretty much written up last night (all entries are due a week after the topic is given, and that is always on a Monday), but I did not feel confident on it at all. I left it and went to bed and came back to it this afternoon. I prayed before I did anything with it today. Then I reread it over several times and made some fine tunings and then read it over more and made several more adjustments. I hope it sounds half decent.

Hopefully I will have enough courage to post here, when I see the comments, how my piece did and let you all know how it went. I am looking forward to tomorrow when I find out the next topic to write about. I've been warned that this is rather addictive...and I can see how it is!

So, I am off now to go do some reading in my "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Well" book to hopefully gain some hints and tips to improve my writing.

God bless and have a Christ filled day!

School Days...Or Should I say Daze

Well, school will be starting again before I know it. It is a mere 4 1/2 months away! The school sent out an email on Friday reminding everyone to submit their courses for registration by August 19th. I haven't submitted mine yet, because I had tried to contact the registrar via email and it took about a month before I heard that my best bet is to make an appointment to come in and see him.

Well, here is my problem. Their office closes at 3pm, and I work usually until 4:00 or 4:30, so I can't get in. Now, I finish my job for the summer on August 19, the day I need to have my course selections in. If I don't get them in by then, the only other time I can register is on September 6 and then run the risk of not being able to get the required ones I need because they might be full. Arrrggghhh!!! What is a girl to do?

Here is what I have decided:

1. Pray and ask for help and guidance from the Lord
2. Pick what courses I think I need to complete my requirements
3. Scream and freak out a little
4. Send an email to see if the Advanced Hebrew course will in fact be offered this year
5. Pray some more
6. Take a few courses and hope they are allowed for electives
7. Keep going over the list of available courses hoping to see if new ones miraculously appear on the paper that I could take
8. Check my email to see if I receive an answer about the Advanced Hebrew
9. Pray some more and hope for the best
10. Wait until registration day at school to confirm my selections to see if I have what I need and if not adjust the courses

I need to sign up for at least 4 courses each semester because I get a student loan. In order to receive that, I must be enrolled as a full time student. A full time student is one who takes 4 or more courses.

So, I would greatly appreciate any prayer about this "ordeal". God bless and have a Christ filled day!

Friday, August 05, 2005

He Knows Who We Are

I just read another story on the CBC website about tho girls who were involved in an accident. One girl died at the scened, while the other was in a coma. The police told the parents of one girl that their daughter had died. The other set of parents sat by the bedside for three days. Turns out that there was a mix up. The parents who were told their daughter had died were really the parents of the girl in the coma, and the parents sitting by the girl in the hospital were the parents of the dead girl. See story at: http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/08/05/mixup-050805.html

The faces of both girls were pretty smashed up so they could not tell who was who. Can you imagine being the parents of the girl who was killed? I mean, sitting in a hospital next to someone you thought was your daughter, probably worried and maybe even praying wondering when she would come to. Then you are told she is not your daughter, but your daughter was the one killed. How horrible that would be!

No matter what happens to us, our Father in heaven knows us. It does not matter what happens to us - if we are disfigured, change our hair colouring, get plastic surgery to look like the popular beautiful model on the cover of the magazines - it doesn't matter, because He knows us.

God made each of us in His image. He created us to look exactly as we do. This is nothing to be ashamed about for we are beautiful in His eyes, and we are the workmanship of the Master Crafter. Rest assured that He does NOT make any junk - NEVER! God does not look on our outward appearances, though the world may do so. God looks to the inner person, to each individual heart. This is how He judges us and will judge us.

So, while it is simply awful what the families of those two girls have gone through, we can rejoice that there is no way that we will be mistaken for someone else in God's eyes. He knows every inch of you, and of me.

God bless and have a Christ filled day!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

My Laundry, My Life

The other night when I was doing my laundry, a thought came to me. It was more of a comparison thought than anything, maybe even a reminder.

Each day we put on our clothes. Hopefully they are clean and don't smell, unless of course one uses scented fabric softener sheets in the dryer. By the end of the day, they become dirty. Somedays our clothes are dirtier than on other days, sometimes even smelly and sweaty. They can get pretty gross depending on what we do. We let our clothes pile up until it is time to wash them again, and get them clean and in a usable condition.

This reminded me that my dirty laundry is like my life when I sin (which is every day). When I sin, I get all dirty inside. I am not 'presentable', I am not clean. I need to cleanse my inner self often (preferably daily) and become 'presentable' again. When I say that I am not presentable, I am meaning in front of God. The sin is separating me from Him, therefore I am not presentable.

I need to get cleansed. I need to wash myself in the blood of Christ again, asking for forgiveness from my sins. I need to repent, turn away and sin no more. If I am having trouble ceasing with a particular sin, I need to seek His help in stopping. It is only when we are cleansed of our sin, forgiven, that we can boldly stand in front of God.

I am so thankful that Jesus cleanses me and washes me clean from every sin. I am thankful that no matter how often I mess up and dirty myself through sin, Jesus will forgive me (though this does not give me or anyone an excuse to purposely go and sin). I am thankful that Jesus will cleanse me as often as is necessary (as often as I ask) until He comes again.

It is only through the shedding of the blood of Christ that we can and are forgiven of our sins. Nothing else will save us. Nothing else will help us. It is only through Christ's death and resurrection that we can obtain our eternal life.

If you need cleansing, talk to Jesus now. He is waiting for you.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Obsessed? Preoccupied?

Ok. I think I am becoming either obsessed or preoccupied with writing now. I am still working on my character profiles, though I'm learning about them each day. For example, I thought one of my main characters was a little sad and depressed, but now she tells me she isn't. She doesn't want to be portrayed like that, because it makes her look a little too 'wussy' and who would want her in that condition. So, she is showing me she has more confidence and bite than I had originally thought.

I've got about two pages written so far, though I did start about half way down the first page like we do when writing our term papers at school. I don't know if novel manuscripts are supposed to be done that way or no, so I will have to look into it. I have also jumped a little ahead and written a scene that comes not long after the story begins. I will have to go back and fill in the missing detail from the time she arrives on the scene until what I wrote today.

I think that I am finding as I write I tend to edit and try to make things as perfect as I can get. In doing this, I hinder myself from moving forward for awhile. I think I need to practice writing and not editing while I write, and then when I've written what I wanted to get written, go back and edit then and fill in little details and whatnot until it sounds right.

Jess has given me the link to a Christian writers forum, and I have signed up there. I am hoping to get hints, tips, advice, etc. from the people on the site...which is what it is there for. Jess is a great help too (I've mentioned her in a previous post, and she's left a few comments on my blog). She's a great writer and has already given me some suggestions. I have added her blog to my "Other Great Blogs" list on the sidebar. Thanks so much for your help Jess. I'll probably be an even bigger pain in the coming days with all the questions and complaints and such that I will have LOL!

I do promise though, that my blog will not turn into a day by day account of what I am doing with the writing, though I will be putting updates here I'm sure. I hope to get more posts on other topics going again too. Afterall, I don't want to bore people to death and cause them to stop reading my blog...so, with that, I am off to do some more work on my story and see what my character reveals to me!