Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A Letter For You...

I received this email the other day, and I wanted to share it with you all. I hope that it makes us all stop and think and to remember who Christmas is all about.


Remember My Birthday?

As you well know, we are getting closer to my birthday. Every year there is a celebration in my honor and I think that this year the celebration will be repeated.

During this time there are many people shopping for gifts, there are many radio announcements, TV commercials, and in every part of the world everyone is talking that my birthday is getting closer and closer. It is really very nice to know, that at least once a year, some people think of me.

As you know, the celebration of my birthday began many years ago. At first people seemed to understand and be thankful of all that I did for them, but in these times, no one seems to know the reason for the celebration. Family and friends get together and have a lot of fun, but they don't know the meaning of the celebration.

I remember that last year there was a great feast in my honor. The dinner table was full of delicious foods, pastries, fruits, assorted nuts and chocolates. The decorations were exquisite and there were many, many beautifully wrapped gifts. But, do you want to know something? I wasn't invited. I was the guest of honor and they didn't remember to send me an invitation. The party was for me, but when that great day came, I was left outside, they closed the door in my face......... and I wanted to be with them and share their table. In truth, that didn't surprise me because in the last few years all close their doors to me.

Since I was not invited, I decided to enter the party without making any noise. I went in and stood in a corner. They were all drinking; there were some who were drunk and telling jokes and laughing at everything. They were having a great time. To top it all, this big fat man all dressed in red wearing a long white beard entered the room yelling Ho-Ho-Ho! He seemed drunk. He sat on the sofa and all the children ran to him, saying : "Santa Claus, Santa Claus"... as if the party were in his honor !

At 12 midnight all the people began to hug each other ; I extended my arms waiting for someone to hug me and .... do you know .... no one hugged me. Suddenly they all began to share gifts. They opened them one by one with great expectation. When all had been opened, I looked to see if, maybe, there was one for me. What would you feel if on your birthday everybody shared gifts and you did not get one ? I then understood that I was unwanted at that party and quietly left.

Every year it gets worse. People only remember to eat and drink, the gifts, the parties and nobody remembers me. I would like this Christmas that you allow me to enter into your life. I would like that you recognize the fact that almost two thousand years ago I came to this world to give my life for you, on the cross, to save you. Today, I only want that you believe this with all you heart.

I want to share something with you. As many didn't invite me to their party, I will have my own celebration, a grandiose party that no one has ever imagined, a spectacular party. I'm still making the final arrangements. Today I am sending out many invitations and there is an invitation for you. I want to know if you wish to attend and I will make a reservation for you and write your name with golden letters in my great guest book. Only those on the guest list will be invited to the party. Those who don't answer the invitation, will be left outside.

Do you know how you can answer this invitation? it is by extending it to others whom you care for... I'll be waiting for all of you to attend my party this year... See you soon ....

I love you !

Jesus

Monday, November 28, 2005

Third Place

Well, my latest short story has placed 3rd in the Intermediate level at the Faith Writer's site. This one was entered into the topic of Winter. Praises go to God my King for this. Hope you enjoy, and let me know what you thought.

Have a Christ filled day!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Psalm 55:22

"Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you."

For me, I find this to be very true. Every time I do cast my burdens, cares, worries, etc. on the Lord, I feel a weight lifted from my shulders and I do know that He will sustain me, help me, guide me and lead me through out every situation.

However, knowing and doing are two totally differnt things. For some reason I find it difficult to actually cast things onto the Lord. There are many reasons: "What IF He doesn't sustain me?", "What IF the things that happens isn't what I wanted or hoped for because I gave it to Him?" and any other 'what if' sort of question.

Maybe, rather than focusing negatively on this results I could ask more positive questions like: "What IF I give it to Him and the end result is far better than I had hoped for?", "What IF I am more blessed for trusting God in the situation than in trusting myself?", "What IF I give it all to Him and don't have to worry anymore."

I think that could help - rather than looking at something and asking negative type questions, I ask the positive ones and then actually take action and give the problem/situation to Him. I guess what I am trying to say is that it is all in the attitude. If I focus on this negatively and fearfully then I am more apt to keep the control myself, get stressed out, and develop more fear, etc.

Fear is also a big factor for me - the fear of possibly losing control over a situation or whatever. Ultimately I am NOT in control; God is. I think this fear of losing control is a 'natural' human tait that is inborn in us. This is definately something I need to work on.

I know the only way I can overcome all of this is with His help. It is a constant 'struggle', but I know when I actually 'let go and let God', things work out far better than if I try to keep the control myself. I don't always try to keep the control myself, but it does happen often. I am learning though. I need to cast not only my burden, but my life on the Lord and let Him sustain me in any and every situation. This isn't just something to do once or twice or once in a blue moon, but always.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Lesson To Learn

With all that I have been going through the past week, I am sure the Lord is trying to teach me a lesson. I know that things can happen for many reason, to draw us closer to Him, to help us learn to depend on Him, to strengthen us or even "just because".

For those of you who read my post about the struggle I was having with regard to my Reformation paper, you will recall that I was very stressed about it and had decided that I wanted to drop the course. You will also recall that I spoke to the lady from the registrar's department (I'll call her J) at church on Sunday about this. She was able to calm my fears and give me reassurance about this whole situation.

On Saturday night, I prayed about the situation and I told God that whatever it was He wanted me to do with regard to the course, then I would do it. I told Him if He wanted me to drop it I would, but I also told Him if He wanted me to continue then I would. I just needed for Him to let me know by Sunday because the paper was due Monday.

Well, after talking to J, I felt I had my answer. God wanted me to continue. Wonderful. I was hoping He'd let me drop it to be honest with you, but I obeyed and continued...mainly because I didn't want to get an automatic 'F' for dropping at this late date (which I would get even if I had an A up to that point).

So, I am still in the course. I then thanked the Lord for answering the prayer and for His guidance and for J's reassurance as well. My next request was to ask for His help and the words to say in the paper because I really didn't know what I was doing with this paper. It was the hardest one that I believe I have had to write to date. I told Him my biggest fear was that I ended up doing this wrong and although I stuck to the topic, I feard that I didn't write what I was supposed to about the topic (eschatology in the Reformation). Well, I still don't know if I have written it correctly, but I can't do anything about that now.

So, to get back to the whole lesson part now. I believe that the Lord was/is trying to teach me to persevere, to not take the easy way out. The easy way would have been to drop the course and not deal with the whole paper and presentation issue (we have to do a 10 minute presentation on our paper in front of the class as well and I don't want to present something that I did wrong, so that is part of the fear I have).

I believe the Lord is also trying to teach me (again) to rely on Him, to put Him in my schoolwork and to do it for Him. I can so easily tend to get caught up in the schoolwork and not include Him in it. While I will pray for help or even thank Him for the possibility to go to school, I often just leave Him out...in other words, I focus on my work more than Him.

I know I have to learn this for a reason. I have no idea why, whether it is just a "life lesson" to learn, or if He has something specific planned for me later on in which I need to be able to persevere and rely on Him without giving up. Regardless of what the answer is, I need to remember to let Him help me and not try to do things on my own strength.

I also think He is trying to teach me that it's ok if I get a C instead of a B. It's not the end of the world if I do. Because for me, I feel that I need to get high marks or I am dumb. I know that isn't true, but to me high marks are very important. I think too, that because of my age (36) people expect more out of me, or that at the very least I should be getting high marks. Part of this is just a personal thing, part of it is pride, and yet part of it is also wanting to get praise for good marks. Those are things I have to get rid of: pride, wanting praise for what I do (so that the focus is on me...making this a selfish thing).

So, that is what I have been thinking the last couple of days. God is probably trying to teach me a lesson that I need to learn (or relearn). It's hard and frustrating, but no one said it would be easy. And if it is something I need to learn, I am sure there is a reason for it and I will one day find out why.

Now, with what I have left of this semester, I need to remember to keep Him in all of this; to put Him ahead of school work, to seek His guidance, and to do what He wants me to do. Now, He just needs to give me the strength and energy to get through the next 3-4 weeks...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Prayer Request

Please visit my friend Kate over at Kingdom of the Son as she is going through a very stressful time right now with school and other things. I'm sure she would love to have your prayers.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Just An Update

Just wanted to let everyone know about the situation with my paper for Reformation class.

I talked to someone from the registrar's office, and she informed me that the cut off day to drop out of classes for the fall semester wasn't that long ago, maybe two weeks. If I drop out of the class now, it is an automatic 'F' and not a "WF" (withdraw fail). So, I really have no choice but to stay in the class and just do what I can. She also informed me that even if I walk out of that class with a C- for a mark, it won't bring my GPA down all that much (maybe from a B to a B-), and she also reassured me that it wouldn't have that much effect on me for the education program. She said that marks are only worth about 25% of the overall assessment, as there is also an essay to write, references and an interview as well. I felt better after talking with her.

So, I trudged on yesterday afternoon and evening working at my paper. I worked at it until about 12:30 am and went to bed, getting up at 6:00 am to work on it for another four hours. I went to class today, figuring that I would come home and work on it again for another 2 1/2 hours and drop it off by the cutoff time. However, when I got to class, the prof said that there were a few people who had asked for extention dates because of books not getting in on time (through interlibrary loan) and he gave them extra time. He said if anyone else was in the same boat and wanted to get extra time to come see him after class. I went up and told him that was my situation as well and he asked how long I would need. I told him I had checked my email during class (yeah, I know I shouldn't have been doing that during class, and normally I don't) and had gotten an email saying my books were in, though it didn't say how many had come in. I said I would do my "absolute bestest" (and yes that's the way I said it) to get it in on Wednesday. I didn't want to say the end of the week for two reasons: 1. I didn't want him to think I didn't have much of it done (I had about half or a little more done at this point) and didn't want to press my luck, and 2. I have another term paper to work on for next Tuesday. So he said to try to get it in on Wednesday and if by then I still needed a couple more days if my books didn't all come in, then he'd see to pushing it to Friday or Monday.

The only reason he was willing to let us have an extention for this situation was because our presentations for these paper topics isn't for another couple of weeks. Had we had to start them today or Wednesday, he wouldn't have done it.

So, I feel that God is working through this all. I prayed on Saturday night (when I wrote the last post) and told God that whatever He wanted for me with this class - to drop it or stay in - I would do, and He would have to help me with this because of the book situation I was in. He has followed through. I felt that He wanted me to stay in the class and not take the easy way out (dropping it), so I stayed. I really believe God worked in this situation for me, because normally this prof wouldn't have allowed an extention for something like this. I guess this is what they call grace maybe...whoever it's from, the prof or God, regadless I am grateful for it.

Tonight, I need to work on a book review that is due tomorrow (Tuesday), and then I will be working on this paper Tuesday...oh and I have to remember I have a small quiz in this same class for Wednesday.

So, off I go to do more schoolwork. God bless, and have a Christ filled day!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Feeling Like...

Hmmm, just what am I feeling like right now? Well, let me see...confrazzled works, so does befuddled and just plaint frantic and almost hyperventilating (or however you spell it). Why do I feel like this? Well, my Reformation paper is due on Monday and I goofed up majorly and my books I ordered on inter-library loan did not come in. What sources I do have do not seem to be helping and it just isn't going well. This paper (and the presentation that goes along with it) is worth 40% of my mark. Sure, I could have worked a little harder on this...started earlier or whatever, and actually I did, but was having a hard time finding books. The first batch I ordered inter-library turned out to be the wrong ones. I went to the prof and he helped me some, but none the less, I goofed up. I own up to that, and trust me when I say it hurts like heck to admit that.

I plan on applying for the education program, and while they say grades aren't everything, the do affect getting in or not to the program...well to a degree. If I stay in this Reformation class and fail it or just get by, my GPA (grade point average) will go down a lot and that will have some affect for me. If I withdraw from the class, I will get a 'W' (withdrawl) on my record, but that doesn't affect the GPA or anything. It just shows that you had to leave the class for some particular reason. If I were failing the course and withdrew, then I would have a WF on my record and that would be worse because that would affect later on. To the best of my knowledge, I am passing this course. I don't know if dropping out of the course at this late date would still give me WF or not. I think it would only be a W though.

It really pains me to drop out of this course (or any for that matter) because it makes me feel like a failure. Sure, if I failed the course, then I would be a failure (well, you know what I mean). You can ask anyone who knows me that I have not dropped out of any of my courses yet and I always feel upset at the possibility because I don't want it to affect my records. Everyone always tells me the only way it would is if I withdrew with a failing grade.

Anyway, I'm sitting here in tears, literally. I have messed up. Yeah, I know there are worse things that could happen. But quite honestly at this moment, that doesn't help. I think my pride is getting in the way with this. It's taking a beating at having to admit I messed up and I am the only one to blame for this. It's getting in the way, telling me I'm a failure for dropping the class...though I know I'm not.

Anyway, I hate this. I really do, and I have no one to blame but myself. So, that is what I'll do.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Crunch Time

Just wanted to let everyone know that if I am not able to post anything (or much of anything), there is a good reason. Crunch Time has hit. What is Crunch Time you may ask? Well, it happens to every student everywhere all over the world. Those last several weeks of the end of a semester when everything hits at once.

This week (Thursday to be exact), I have my Hebrew mid term; next Monday I have a term paper due for my Reformation class; the next day, Tuesday, I have a book review due for my Colonial America class. The next week my term paper for my class on 1 Samuel is due, and the following week my term paper for Colonial America is due. Then, around that time as well, I have a presentation in my Reformation class - this presentation is on the paper that I have to write. Then...oh yes, there is more...then exams start!

So, I will be busy the next little while. I am hoping to pop on and get some posting done on my blog, as well as read other people's. If you can remember, I would appreciate prayers during this busy stressfilled time. Will keep you posted on how things are going.

Have a Christ filled day!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Lest We Forget

Today, November 11, is Remembrance Day here in Canada. It is a day to pay tribute and honour to the veterans who fought in the various wars to help keep our country free. Below, I have copied the famous poem written by a WW1 Canadian physician who wrote this while serving in the war. His name was John McCrea, and this is his poem:



In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the
crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks,
still bravely singing,
fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are
the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved,
and were loved, and now we
lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our
quarrel with the foe:
To you
from failing hands we throw
The torch;
be yours to hold it high.
If ye
break faith with us who die
We shall
not sleep, though poppies grow
In
Flanders fields.

(Poem taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Flanders_Fields)


So, here's to all the men and women who have served our country in the various battles through these many years. Thank you for your sacrifice in doing this so that we can live in a free country. God bless you.


(picture from http://www.okmilmuseum.ca/images/Flanders%20field%20banner.jpg)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

My Prayer To God Today

Be gracious to me, O God, according to your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in You sight, so that You are justified when you speak and blameless when You judge.

Behold, You desire truth in the innmost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.

Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not case me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.

O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your praise.

For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

Amen.

(Psalm 51: 1-4, 6-7, 9-12, 15-17)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Revelation of Sorts

This morning I had allowed myself to think of something that hurts me everytime I dwell on it. It is selfish, I suppose, this thought I was focusing on. If you could imagine me at the center of the picture with the words "woe is me" all around it, then you might have an idea of the way I see this as. In a sense, it might have been a pity party for one, and I was the guest of honour.

I often wonder why I don't have tons of friends. I have a small group of three or four close friends, which is great (and these ladies are fantabulous!); yet when I see others with lots of friends, people surrounding them wanting to talk about this or that, going out places together, you name it...I wonder why that can't be me. Why can't I have more friends who want to be intimate with me (and no, I am so not referring to sexual intimacy here), rather than just superficial?

I am somewhat extroverted, though I am also introverted (depends on the situation and if I feel comfortable or not). I try to be friendly to people, laugh and joke, etc. But yet I feel as though most of the people I have contact with are more of an 'acquaintance' type than a 'friend' type of person. It could be that trust is hard for me; I've had my trust broken a lot by various friends and others so I think that is one of those "deep down" things that hinder me from becoming friends with someone. It's not necessarily a grudge, but if someone has broken my trust, I tend not to trust them again - or at very least it takes me a long time to gain that trust back.

I know I am not perfect, far from it. I know that at times I can talk too much (which happens more frequently than I like), and that some people probably think I'm weird or something because of this; I know that there must be things about me that speak to others yet I am totally blind about...otherwise, wouldn't people want to get to know me? Sounds selfish or self-centered, I know, but I am not meaning every single person I come in contact with. I am meaning anyone in general. What is so wrong with me that people are just satisfied with being superficial...you know the "How are you? How is school? You must be done soon, eh?" kind of talk...small talk I guess. Why doesn't anyone want to dig deeper and find out more about me, or want to get to know me better and be my friend? Am I that bad? Am I that uninteresting? Do I talk that much? Is it because I am not exciting and interesting to them? It really makes me feel like I'm not good enough. It makes me feel like I don't fit in anywhere in church, or life for that matter. I suppose this is my "focusing on worldly things" attitude speaking, but I wonder about this and I often feel hurt by it. Of course I don't show it to others because heaven forbid they see me cry! Or worse yet, I will find out exactly why they don't like me!

So, I sat here in the living room, alone and talked to God. I had a heart to heart, and let the tears flow, let my eyes get all puffy and red (it's ok because no one is home except for me) and I told Him what I was feeling. Well, maybe not told, but asked a lot of questions. I felt so down on myself, so negative; and again that is wrong because I am being too self-centered. I know it is OK to take this sort of thing to God and talk to Him about it, but I can't help but feel like I do this sort of thing too often. It seems to be more about 'me' than 'others'.

As I cried and asked my questions (those 'what is wrong with me' kind of questions) and confessed that I talk to much (while thinking that I am going to do my best to speak less, shorten my words down so that I can say things in a couple of sentences rather than give details and stuff), I came to my answer. I don't know if God gave it to me, or He just let me talk and talk until I arrived at it myself or what. Anyway, I laid down on the floor prostrate (something I have never done) and repented and confessed that I am worrying about 'worldly' things too much, worrying about others liking me and wanting to be my friend (among other things) when all that I should be focusing on is God and that He like me. I know He does, and I know He more than likes me - He loves me. Basically, I rededicated myself to Him - told Him to use me where He wanted, asked for His help in getting closer and intimate with Him, asked for His strength and comfort and peace. I told Him that He could have every part of me - school, church, home life, worries, fears, everything. I know He will not let me down, but for some reason I feel afraid of what He will have me do...natural, or is it satan playing on me? Why does this scare me?

I need my embers to be rekindled into that flame I had in the beginning of my faith. I need that passion and drive I once had. I need to stay focused on Him. I need to give Him every part of my life. I need to spend more time with Him than I have been. I need His beauty pouring out from every part of me. I need for Him to be reflected in me and in my life...so that when others are around me, they can see Him. Is this selfish? Maybe. But I think it is something that He wants from each of His children. I am not saying I want this so that people will be friends with me or want to get to know me. I am saying this because I know that is what He wants...evidence of Him in our lives.

So, now I am sitting here feeling a little better. It still bothers me a little that I feel like people don't want to get to know me or don't care to get to know me...but I can't focus on that. I can't. I have prayed and asked God to help me to not care about it and asked Him to help me focus on Him.

Now comes the hard part...doing it.

My Christian walk has been up and down for awhile now it seems. I have never lost my belief in Jesus, my faith in Him or anything like that; but the walk itslef has been a struggle. A struggle to be in prayer and in the word more than I do; a struggle to spend quiet time with Him; a struggle to not focus on me and waste my time on things when I could be using it to spend with God. I guess it is a struggle we all face at times, though (I'm not the only one to go through this). I want Christ to be evident in my life, evident in what I say and do to/for others. I want them to recognized that I am a Christian. I don't know, maybe I'm just emotional right now, and maybe it's satan...I don't know. All I know is that I could use some prayer.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Faces


How creative is our God? One of the ways we can witness His creativity is in His creation of human beings. Each of us has a face, and for the most part, each is different. Sure, there are twins, triplets, etc. or maybe people not related who might look like someone else, but that's not where I'm heading with this post.

To give a bit of background, this past Wednesday in my drawing class we learned to draw faces. This was one of the things that I have really wanted to learn to draw...especially in a realistic way (so that they don't look so cartoonish or childish). We learned two techniques, but I am finding so far the second one easier for me (though I will continue to practice the first one). The above drawings are what I did the past two days. So far they don't look overly realistic, but I'll be working on that. They aren't very good, but remember that I'm only just learning this.

The prof took us through each step, showing us what to do and then we would try it. It was interesting to go around the room and see everyone's results. Some were really good, some mediocre, and some really needed a lot of practice. However, that isn't the point. The point is this: the faces drawn were all different; kind of like how God has designed our faces different.

I have practiced a couple of faces since I then, and though they are somewhat similar to a degree, there are still differences. This got me thinking about real people, and their faces.

Generally, our face is our identification. When we think of someone, it is their face that pops into our mind. Faces, for most people, are what attracts us to others (but yes, there are other things too)...looks being a great factor in attraction for most people.

Now, I admit, I am no great beauty. Most days I don't think I'm all that much to look at, but at other times I see pretty in there too. They say God doesn't make junk/garbage, and while I tend to agree with this there are times when I wonder why I couldn't have been a little more favoured in the beauty department.

I think society has shaped us in the whole beauty thing. Media tries to tell us that we all need to be ultra skinny-thin and magazine model pretty or else we are considered ugly. But, we shouldn't be focusing on looks, they shouldn't be the most important thing in a person. I mean, even Jesus wasn't a magazine model type. How do I know this? Isaiah 53:2 "...He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him."

There is so much more to a person than his or her appearance. God looks to the inner man/woman, so why don't we? Why do we tend to put more focus on outward looks? Yes, I think that there should be attraction between men and women, but I don' t think it should be the main thing.

So, what do you think about faces? Are they important to you? Is a face what should be judged on to be considered beautiful? Let me know how important or unimportant it is to you...

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Stolen From Katie's Blog

Yes, I admit it. I stole this from Katie's blog because I am tired tonight (had a midterm today) and don't know what to post. So, for your quiz taking enjoyment, here it is...


Franklin
You are Franklin!


Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


Let me know which character you are!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Feel Like Reading A Short Story?

Well, if you click here you will be instantly transported (or a new window will open, not sure which) to my latest short story. I wrote this in about an hour and was feeling rather angry at the time I wrote it. Not my best piece but I hope it can get a message across. This one ranked 28 out of 147 entries for the weekly challenge at FaithWriters.