Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake: Jehovah was not in the earthquake.
And after the earthquake, a fire: Jehovah was not in the fire. And after the fire, a soft gentle voice. (1Kings 19:11-12)

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Friday, May 30, 2014

When All You've Got is NOTHING ~ Five Minute Friday


I've got nothing. Seriously. I wish I could write fast for five minutes and weave you a wonderful story to inspire you or a beautiful piece of poetry to leave you lost for words.

All I can say is I've made it to the end of the week and I'm about as empty as the blank screen before me.

I'm digging deep for something profound and I coming up gasping for air. I'm chasing after the wind; I feel it in my hair, I watch it dancing in the tall poplar trees out back, but I can't grab hold of it and pin it down.

I watch the birds soar high into those poplars and listen as they trill their songs. They are busy guarding their nests and caring for their hatchlings. They have not a care in the world. Except when something threatens their young. Then their songs turn to calls of alarm. They do exactly what they have been created to do. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Those birds can't keep harm from their nests. The wind can whip around those trees and destroy everything they have built. Predators are on the prowl. 

Some days it feels like life is falling apart faster than we can put back together again. Those were words my husband let slip this week as we walked just steps behind our own young children.

As hard as we try, we can't keep harm from our young. We call out in alarm. We gather them as best we can under our wings. But the winds of life destroy and can leave us feeling empty. Helpless. There is only so much we can do. Nothing more. Nothing less.

What we need on days like these, when everything seems empty and nothing seems possible, may not be the profound, but rather, the simple lesson we learn as we pay attention to the birds soaring high on the breeze.
"Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?"
"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." {Matthew 6:26, 27, 34}

***
It has been months since I joined in with the crowd at Five Minute Friday at Lisa-Jo's place. It couldn't have been a better day to have this prompt for it is exactly how I felt. I had about five false starts and finally fumbled out a few thoughts that took a few more than five minutes. 

This week the prompt is: Nothing

Officially, the rules are:

Five Minute Friday1. Write for 5 minutes
2. Link up at Lisa-Jo's  and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community...


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Loving: Another Word for Mentoring ~ Titus 2 Tips {on Thursdays} A Guest Post






I have always enjoyed being around young people.

Early in my teaching career, I loved being with the little people in the early primary grades. I found them to be funny, caring, enthusiastic, and for most of them a keen desire to learn. I received lots of hugs back then, and I am thrilled that when I meet former students [now with children of their own] they still like to give hugs!

When my husband and I went to Ecuador to serve the Lord for four years, there were new people to love. These were the children of missionary families who were working in a small town on the edge of the Ecuadorian jungle. They brought a variety of new experiences to share as they came from several countries around the world.

I had the joy of leading a bible study for some months, to the ladies who were there. It was a bit of a shock, to realize that I was one of the older ladies. As we shared with each other from God's word, we grew in love for our Lord Jesus and with each other. What fun I had to have special “teas” for these busy people who enjoyed the dozen china cups and saucers I had taken with me. This was a strange thing to pack and ship, but somehow I knew they would get used.

One of my dearest friends was a sweet lady named Rosa, who came to help me [as I was to help her]. She was a new Christian and had come from a very difficult background.

As we communicated with each other in my broken Spanish, sign language and lots of laughter and smiles, our hearts grew close to each other. The first time I served her tea in a china cup, tears ran down her cheeks, as she was used to having a tin cup solely for her use.

How blessed I was to have her in my life.

I never was comfortable speaking Spanish, new experiences were sometimes frightening, and I keenly felt I was far away from home. Little did I realize that God was using these things to teach and prepare me for later on.

When my husband went home to heaven, I realized that I would need people in my life to serve and care for. I took a course on being a “host” to a New Canadian. I was paired with a young woman from the Philippines who had married a Canadian and had just arrived.

We were to spend time together once a week for a year. What a lovely young woman she is. The year has long gone but the friendship remains and now I am “Grandma Jan” to her two almost teenagers. We connect over “tea” at an outreach at the chapel, with the children, just going for a walk and most often now on the internet.

When our local university needed host families for International students, I signed on. This was a big step for me because I had always considered myself a “little kids” person. University students were bigger, smarter and younger [no doubt about that one] than I. I quickly learned that they were still the same sweet children only in a bigger size. They loved being called by endearing names and hugs were quickly given and received.

Over the years the Lord has brought many wonderful, sweet, bright, loving young women to enjoy my home with me. Some were here for only a few times, others for a week and even several months as there was a need.

Those china cups and saucers come out and we learn about each other: our homelands, our food—they love homemade treats—our faith, and our families. This home that the Lord has given me is a place of calm, safety, warmth and love. What a blessing it is to be a Mother—more like a Grandmother in reality—to these young women so far away from home.

I have a great empathy with them because of my experiences in Ecuador. I am able to help those just learning English because of my teaching skills. For those times of homesickness, I can share how the Lord brought me through. Although we may be of a different faith, I always pray with and for them.

The Lord blessed me in leading two young women to the Lord after a period of bible study. What greater joy is this.

I have been serving in a Coffee house ministry for International students for several years now. I meet so many students and often their friends. When they return home, it is very difficult, but I pray then for the special ones God will bring into my life the next semester. I keep in contact with many of these dear friends through social media.

I pray that through using the gift of love, they might come to know the One I love. I am but a link in a chain.

For me, the word Mentor, is simply another word for Love.





Janice was born into a Christian family, born again at 8 years old.

Her parents set a wonderful example as they had many speakers from the chapel and missionaries come to the family farm. She and her family heard wonderful stories and saw God’s faithfulness to His servants around the world.

Janice taught school for 35 years—mostly in the Public school system—4 years in a missionary school in Shell, Ecuador.

She was married to her wonderful husband Elwood, from December 21, 1968 to July 19, 1989. She has two married daughters, 4 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren [and one on the way]!

Now, Janice is mostly involved in student ministry.


A Soft Gentle voice
I am honoured to host these guest posts in this series on women mentoring women 
Some weeks you may find tips from the kitchen or healthy recipes, tools other women have used to grow spiritually, hints to help us build up and love our husbands, and lessons they have learned as they have walked along with their children to teach them to love God wholeheartedly, habits they have developed in keeping their home, ways they have worked on to keep their behaviour respectful, or rhythms that allow peace and rest in the home and hearts that dwell there within.
You will find all the posts in the series here.
"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behaviour,
not slanderers or slaves to much wine.
They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands,
that the word of God may not be reviled."


{Titus 2:3-5}

*all photos used by permission from Janice

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Where Do You Cast Your Burden? {Words of Life Wednesdays ~ Link-up}

{Join us below for Words of Life Wednesdays with a link-up of your post.
We'd love to hear how God's Word has been nourishing you.}



I share from my heart about my very own heart.

It's ugly and raw and I just want to run and hide under the covers.

I left words lying around out in the open and I feel exposed.

I process internally and I'm paralyzed in fear.

The weight of it all makes me weak.

I stager in a haze of uncertainty and want to go to the hills where they are supposed to be alive with sweeter music.

The noise and the choices and the inside voices are too deafening, too difficult, too disconcerting.



Life is not alway pretty packages and raindrops on roses.

Life is hard and women are oppressed, and children are starved for food and love, and diseases take our loved ones and the lives we plan for our families.

The Fall has made us all fallen ones.

The serpent speaks lies and prowls around seeking those whom he may devour.

Life is messy. Marriages implode leaving behind a bloody mess. Families break inducing painful fractures. Mothers labour long and forget how to breath grace. Fathers work hard and forget how to build trust.

Along this road I get lost in the pain and the anxious care.

I write to get the mess of mangled thoughts out; to understand what I've seen and heard and felt and smelled and tasted. To know what I don't know. To understand what I do. To accept what I cannot change. To talk to my own soul and tell it to hope and trust.

The Way of Redemption makes us hoped-filled ones.

The Son of Man has crushed the serpent's head and came "to seek and to save the lost."

I feast on the Gospel to know the way.

I taste the Good News to know the truth.

I eat the Word to know life.

I need the Way, the Truth and the Life to help me when I lose my footing on the way, when I stumble with the truth, and when I lose hope in this life.

Charles Spurgeon, known as the prince of preachers, was a man who knew pain and suffering, but he sought and proclaimed truth, he nourished his soul in the presence of God, and He fixed His eyes on the Eternal Father. He knew what he was talking about when he wrote:


" . . . the very essence of anxious care is the imagining that we are wiser than God and the thrusting of ourselves into His place to do for Him that which He has undertaken to do for us. We attempt to thing of that which we fancy He will forget; we labor to take upon ourselves our weary burden, as if He were unable or unwilling to take it for us. Now this disobedience to His plain precept, this unbelief in His Word, this presumption in intruding upon His province, is all sinful. Yet more than this, anxious care often leads to acts of sin. He who cannot calmly leave his affairs in God's hand, but will carry his own burden, is very likely to be tempted to use wrong means to help himself. This sin leads to a forsaking of god as our counselor and resorting instead to human wisdom . . . Anxiety makes us doubt God's lovingkindness, and this our love to him grows cold; we feel mistrust, and thus grieve the Spirit of God, so that our prayers become hindered our consistent example marred, and our life one of self-seeking. Thus want of confidence in God leads us to wander far from Him; but if through simple faith in His promises, we cast each burden as it comes upon Him and are 'careful for nothing' because He undertakes to care for us, it will keep us close to Him and strengthen us against much temptation. 'Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stay on thee, because he trusteth in thee.'"
Moment by moment I must lift up my eyes to the hills.

My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.

If He who never slumbers or sleeps, sustains all things by His powerful word, then I can rest in Him.

I run and hide, when I need to rest and trust.

So I throw back the covers, and looking to Jesus, casting my care again and again upon him, knowing that He is with me. 


I share to encourage others to look to Jesus along with me.
"[H]e created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power."
He is our hope.

He is our help.

He is the Way.

He is the Truth.

He is the Life.

Friday, May 23, 2014

15 Powerful Ways to Encourage Someone {Who Lives with the Cancer that Keeps on Killing}


"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, 

just as you are doing."



Childhood cancer is the cancer that keeps on killing.

It's the disease that destroys you before you've had a chance at living your days.

Oh, kids are tough and medicine is powerful and we can actually sometimes, or hopefully, most of the time, kill the cancer, but not before it has touched the rest of the child's life.

That's why she could never even call herself a cancer survivor for over 30 years. If you have to do battle with cancer when you are a thirty pound three year old, it turns you into a fighter, but you might not always taste the victory.

It's possible to survive the cancer, and for the medicine to save the child, but the childhood cancer survivor limps along in life with scars that never let her forget the battle she fought.

She knows what a life lived with limitations in all about. She has seen doctors shake their baffled heads and not know what to say. She's had specialists tell her hard-to-hear facts like it's too risky for your heart for you to carry around another baby for nine months and the three miracle children you already have need their Mama. She knows how big-time heart surgeons search for ways to help her.

She is never free from ugly realities. The way the threat of high-risk recurrences loom like great disastrous storm clouds on the horizon is scary. The visits to hospitals and appointments with specialists and endless pokes and hard examination tables are enough to make her want to crawl in a cave or fly off to a deserted island, or even better, live a normal life.

The child who fights cancer knows what it is to do battle, to persevere, to get up after she's been knocked down again and again and again. She's not looking for medals or applause and please, don't feel sorry for her.

She needs your encouragement. All the way through life.



Every time she's conquered something the doctors didn't think possible.

Every time she's knocked down with another discouraging report from the doctor.

Every time she forgets how to face the fear and turn to trust.

She needs your loving encouragement.

She needs your tears to mingle with hers.

She needs your words.

She needs your laughter.

She needs you to remind her that God is with her.

She needs your help.

She needs you to share your time, and energy, and meals.

She doesn't need you to try to understand what it must be like. You can't, so don't feel bad about it. Don't feel sorry for her.

Just ache with her over the ugliness of it because of sin and look to Jesus with her because he suffered to conquer the sin to give us living hope.

She has this road to walk and she does not go into battle alone.

And if this is the life she has been given then she is going to let her light shine.


Survivors don't give up. Survivors take heed, take heart and take hope.

When a survivor of childhood cancer gets told that her heart can fail her, she needs something stronger to stand on.

She needs a Rock.

She needs a Refuge.

She needs a Redeemer.

When a survivor of childhood cancer is told the her heart can't handle a whole lot, she takes heed, but she doesn't lose hope.

She sees her weakness as she looks to the One who strengthens her.

She tastes her tears as she cries to the One who cups her in His hand.

She knows the frailty of life as she trusts in her Eternal Father.

He comforts her. The God of all comfort sends His body to wrap arms around this little one in love.

She knows this is not only for a season but for the rest. of. her. life. She also knows she is not alone.

That is the power of encouragement.



Speak the Gospel to her when she is fainthearted.

Pray with her when she has lost a footing.

Care for her when she needs a friend.

Hold up her arms when she is faltering.

Don't be shy when she needs you to shower love upon her family.

Remind her to look to the faithfulness of God when she forgets.

Just, please, don't feel sorry for her.

Look to Jesus with her.

Proclaim His goodness with her.

Give thanks to the Giver of all good and perfect gifts with her.

These light and momentary afflictions have nothing on eternity. They are just preparing her for a glory beyond all comparison.

So, mourn with her that she doesn't get a normal life, but celebrate even more that she gets a new eternal life.

And know how much she wants you right there with her.

Tasting the sweetest victory ever. Eternally dwelling in the presence of our God who is always good.

With songs of praise to our Saviour on our lips and the scars of this life forever healed.



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Take it Easy When it's Tough {Words of Life Wednesdays ~ A Link-up}

{Join us below for Words of Life Wednesdays with a link-up of your post.
We'd love to hear how God's Word has been nourishing you.}



"For this light momentary affliction
is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory
beyond all comparison"
{2 Corinthians 4:17}

Somehow, by rising before the sun rose in the eastern sky, showering while the birds were singing, then heading out alone to drive in rush hour down to the subway in the city and finally catch the shuttle bus, to arrive for my heart echo three hours later, I thought I would be rewarded with good news.

I lie in a dark room with goop all over my chest. The technician slides her wand looking for the perfect angle, while I'm listening to the clicks of the ultrasound machine and the whooshes of my own heart, thinking of a little three year old girl from our town who is battling childhood cancer. It's the ugly cancer that I had when I was three that brings me to this table.

It's been a year and a half since my last echo when I was told that I have severe aortic stenosis but that it is too risky to attempt to fix it so I've carried on.

Day to day, I don't stop and think a whole lot about how out of breath I become or the dizzy spells that I can get. Life just carries on. Any Mama knows how life goes like that. We count down the hours to bedtime, but the next thing we know the baby is a toddler and then starting school and then moving out! You know what I'm saying, right?

So, the way I have been trying to keep up and keep going, what else would I expect? I've got a thirteen year old, an eight year old, and a four year old who still need their Mama for many years, so why shouldn't I hear that I can keep on pushing it. Isn't that what every Mama would want to hear when she still gets to teach another child to read? And driving lessons will begin in about three years! Oh!! I'm not sure my Mama heart can handle that one!!

Our hearts near explode as we watch our children grow up before our eyes. The way our hearts beat with fierce love and pulse with fear like no other, yes, our hearts were meant to handle this kind of work out.






We all know that the heart is a muscle, and the last thing I was told by the cardiologist was that I should exercise it. So, I did. From physical exertion as well as in the way that only a child can make it race.

I check in with the secretary of my cardiologist. I've never met her and I want to put a face to the voice. I ask her, since it took three hours to get here, if it would be possible for me to not come back down for results unless there is a change from the last echo. The sweet secretary whispers for me to go sit in the waiting room; she is going to grab my file, ask Dr. Yu to look over the results and he'll come out and talk to me right away.

I sit down and take out my phone, and I'm filling time by flicking through Facebook as I wait. I'm not at all expecting to hear that this latest echo shows that the stenosis in the heart valve appears to be getting significantly worse. But, that is what the cardiologist finds and now, he says, putting my heart under any kind of strain is not a good idea. The risk of something sudden occurring is increasing. Alternatively, the risks of any surgical intervention are 'astronomical' he says, and will probably never be an option.

He wishes he had another option, but taking it easy, is the only thing he says he can give me.



Yeah, right. I'm only thirty-seven. Take it easy with three children. 

I'm too young to be told to take it easy.

What do you mean, I probably shouldn't be taking 3 km hilly hikes through the bush with my family and friends? Alright, I promise I will never shovel snow again; and no, I don't cut the grass; and yes, I will get a handicap sticker and try to use it when I should; and yes, of course, my children can help carry in the groceries; and me ask for help? Well, now, I don't know.

I'm ok with my toilet only getting scrubbed once a month. Seriously, I am. Life is more than sparkling porcelain. One of the best things an amazing friend did for me by gifting me a housecleaner for an extravagant eight months was that I was finally able to tell myself that I can't do it all and that is ok.





But, I hate being told that I shouldn't do things that any child needs from a Mama. And how, exactly, does a Mama take it easy?

Yes, many people live years with severe aortic valve stenosis, but most of them have two lungs and are in their eighties and they can sit around all day and they have had their promised threescore ten and they have people looking after them now cause they got to raise their children.

I've already survived childhood cancer. I don't need this too. Really. I've tried to pretend it away for a year and a half. I'm good without it. I don't want to be the young Mama with a heart of an eighty year old, too.

And, this, this is all you've got for me?

Dr. Yu looks directly into my eyes and says, you need to take it easy so we get to keep you around, and I look down at his shiny navy shoes tied with bright cobalt blue laces and choke back tears.

Take it easy this summer. The gracious doctor says it again and one more time as he walks into his office after asking me to come back in four months for another echo or earlier if I faint. I tell him I appreciate his honesty and I'll try.

I say, 'I'll try' for a reason; I'm not so sure I know how.

There are things to do—like raising my children, and places to go—like fly to Africa and people who have needs, more than I do.

I don't want to take it easy.





Hear me on this one. I have no real fear of the future. I long to be with my Lord. I totally get those words Paul penned in prison to the Philippians, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

But laugh at the days to come? Honestly, I'm not sure I'm there yet. I hurt for my children. 'Be content in every situation'? That's what Paul had learned. 

But this is how he did it: "I can do all things through him who strengthens me."



I know God is good.

I know medicine can only go so far.

I know miracles still happen.

I also know and believe with all my heart that God is Sovereign.

Life is a vapour.

But, He will give me strength.

So, why not slow down and take it easy?

Give in to my weakness.

What if I do get two, five, ten, fifteen years added to my life here by taking it easy?

But, something tells me, the way I need to take it easy is resting in my Saviour?

I don't need to keep going and keep pushing it.

I just need to rest.


I swing my bag onto my shoulder and walk around the maze of the big city and find my way home. It's one of three bags that I got last August when Ann invited us to her farm to celebrate her 40th birthday with her by having the opportunity to rescue women from slaveryI haven't even used it yet until I rummaged in the dark closet early in the morning to bring it downtown Toronto.

For some reason, I pulled out one for me today.  Before I knew what this day would bring and what I would need to remind myself of.

It is exactly the message I keep telling myself as I make my way through the city back home with the bag on my shoulder declaring this bold truth to me in downtown Toronto:

God is always good and you are always loved.

He's got my days and the days of my husband and children numbered.

Why should I expect blessings and not any pain?

Should I thank God for days of sunshine and grumble on days of rain?


"Shall I trust when I reap a harvest
But when winter winds blow, then doubt?"

God's got this one in His hands.

I don't need to worry; I need to surrender.

I don't pray for a miracle for my heart to start working better.

I pray for a miracle for those hearts of dear ones close to me to be made new.

I pray for a contrite heart and one filled with compassion.

I pray for a heart that is strong and courageous because its hope is in the Lord.

He is with me. And in Him, He will make me lie down in green pastures and quiet waters.

And I will learn to take it easy.

I let the tears flow down my face and sing in brokenness as I drive home and let the music wash over me.

"Oh let Your will be done in me
In Your love I will abide
Oh I long for nothing else as long 
As You are glorified"


When I finally arrive home, I throw my bag on my bed. My thirteen year old picks it up and says she likes it. She has no real idea what I've heard today or what I wrestled through, but she knows something is up. She reads the white words on the blue bag. Mom, she says, it's the perfect bag for you to take to Toronto. 




God is always good and you are always loved.

It's a message to declare over and over to quiet our restless hearts.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Intentional, Available, and Vulnerable ~ Are You In? ~(in)courager Community Groups~ {Meditation of My Heart Mondays}


We all know what it is like to move into a new community.

It's not always comfortable, safe and secure. Cause where there is community there are people. And unknown people are scary! Right!?

We convince ourselves a woman doesn't like us before we've even shared one word.

We are sure the other woman has it all together even when we don't know how she's falling to pieces on the inside.

We are scared to let ourselves truly be known, because the rejection we fully expect will hurt too much.

And all the while, we are women crying out for community. 


A place to let down our hair and breath a little lighter;  to be real and laugh out loud and cry big ugly tears; and ask hard questions and not have the all answers.

A place that takes us just as we are, but spurs us on to become more like Christ; and get down on our knees together and pray continually with thanksgiving.

But, this doesn't just happen. You have to be intentional and available and vulnerable.

Are you interested?




The last time we moved, I was three months pregnant with our third child.

We had moved further from family, friends and found ourselves in a new neighbourhood and church where we knew no one.

I was incredibly lonely.

We were busy with settling in, home educating, home renovations, and with all the other obligations of life. I was ill a good chunk of the pregnancy, and had a good healthy dose of pregnancy hormones followed up with some post partum depression, so when I look back I wonder how I made it apart from the grace of God.

The crazy thing is, I didn't realize how lonely I was until I had finally made some connections with some other women.

I isolated myself—a natural thing to do as an introverted Mama—but I needed to be intentional.

I was never really alone, but I was lonely, and I needed to be available.

I didn't really want to share my pain, but I needed to be vulnerable.


Are we willing to be vulnerable and open the door in a new community to welcome others into out lives?

We need one another, whether we realize it or not.

Only Adam knew what it was to be alone and His Creator said it was not good for him so he fashioned a helper who was perfect for him.

We are not alone, but we are lonely.

We are women living behind closed doors, scared to make connections, making critical comments when we really don't know one another, and desperately desiring to be in a loving community.

We have to open our doors.




Start connecting. And listen to the hearts of other women.


Stay in the conversation. And Love one another.
We are doing this thing called life together. It's not a game. This is real life.

We are not competing with one another. We are completing one another.

We don't need to be lonely. We need to love and be loved.

We need to encourage and edify one another up in the Lord;
 to consider how to stir up one another to love and good works; to rejoice with one another and weep with one another; to build up and strengthen one another with our words.

We need to hold one another's arms up

with acts of kindness

with joy, patience, goodness, self-control, faithfulness

with truth

and prayer.

In all this we need grace. Lots of grace.

Passing it on from one to another as we reach out in trust and build community.

Are you in?




I dare you to be intentional, available, and vulnerable.


There's a place at the table for you.

Open your door and be (in)couraged.






What are (in)courager community groups?
"Groups of like-minded women doing life together in small online communities began in the fall of 2012 with great excitement. And we continue to be amazed at the remarkable women who connect, encourage and champion one another in so many walks of life."
Come on over here and find a community of women where you can encourage and be encouraged. There are over 70 groups—you will be sure to find one for the walk of life you are in right now.

We will meet for the six weeks this spring/summer session on secret Facebook pages where we share and encourage one another in safe online communities.


If you have questions, you can find the answers here.


***

This session, I am privileged and excited to be co-leading an (in)courager group that we've named "Inklings (in) Christ".


Here is the description for our group:
"Whether you’ve just dipped your pen in ink or have ink stains up to your elbows this group is about connecting writers in the Word. It will be a safe place for all writers to grow in the craft of writing and build one another up in the Lord all to the glory of God. 
Once a week, you will have an opportunity to share your Christ centered writing (by linking to your blog post) and receive and give encouragement and loving, honest critiques of the posts shared through the Facebook page. You will have the option to read “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lammot as we will discuss Part One of this book on the craft of writing. We will welcome you to share your thoughts, tips on writing, pose your questions and pray for one another as we (in)courage one another in this community of women who dabble in ink. 
So, put on the kettle, grab your favorite teacup for a large cup of tea, find a cozy seat, and connect with other Inklings, grow in Christ, and learn to better communicate with written words the Good News of Jesus Christ. We’ll share our stories and say, along with C.S. Lewis, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.”
If this is an area where you would like to be encouraged, I would love to connect with you. You can sign up here.

But, remember, there are over 70 other groups, so take a peak around and find a cozy spot and lots of encouragement.







A Soft Gentle Voice

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Words of Wisdom for the Weekend ~ Do You Resemble Your Father?

"That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:
for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good,
and sends rain on the just and on the unjust."









"The Christian man has seen himself as utterly hopeless and condemned ; he has seen himself as a man who is utterly guilty before God and who has no claim whatsoever on His love. He has seen himself as an enemy of God and an outsider. 
And then he has seen  and understood something about the free grace of God in Jesus Christ. He has seen God sending His only begotten Son into the world, and not only that, sending Him even to the death of the cross for Him, the rebel, the vile and guilty sinner. God did not turn His back on him, He went beyond that. 
The Christian knows that all this happened for him, and it has changed his whole attitude towards God and his fellowmen. He has been forgiven when he did not deserve it . . ." 
"The Christian is a man who believes he is going to look into the face of Christ. And when that great morning comes, when he looks into the face of One who endured the cruel cross for him inspite of his vileness, he does not want to remember, as he looks into those eyes, that he refused to forgive someone while he was here on earth, or that he did not love that other person, but despised and hated him and did everything he could against him . . . " 
"I will tell you what a Christian is. He is one who has become a child of God and is in a unique relationship to God. That is what makes him 'special'. 'What do [you] do more than others?' He should be special, you should be special, because you are a special person. 
You say breeding counts. If this is so, what is the breeding of a Christian? It is this, he has been born again, he has been born spiritually and he is a child of God. Did you notice the way our Lord puts it? 'I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.' Why? 'That you may be like God'? No: 'That [you] may be the children'—and not even of God—'[you] may be  the children of your Father which is in heaven.' God has become Father to the Christian. He is not Father of the non-Christian; He is God to them and nothing else, the great Law-Giver. But to the Christian, God is Father. Then, again, our Lord does not say, 'Be ye perfect, even as God in heaven is perfect.' No, thank God, but 'Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Gather which is in heaven is perfect.' 
If God is your Father you must be special, you cannot help it. If the divine nature is in you, and has entered into you through the Holy Spirit, you cannot be like anybody else, you must be different. And that is what we are told about the Christian everywhere in the Bible, that Christ dwells in your heart richly through the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit is in him, filling him, working His might power int he depths of his personality, teaching him His will. 'It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do.' And, above all, the love of God has been shed abroad in his heart through and by the Holy Spirit. He is bound to be special, he must be unique, he cannot help it. 

Is there anything special about you? 

I am not asking whether you are living a good, moral, upright life. I am not asking whether you say your prayers, or whether you go to church regularly. I am asking none of these things. There are people who do all that and still are not Christians. If that is all, what do [you] do more than others, what is there special about you? Is there anything of this special quality about you? 
Is there something about your Father about you? 
It is a fact that children sometimes do not resemble their parents very closely. People look at them and say: 'Yes, there is something of his father there after all.' or 'I see something of the mother; not very much, but there is something.' Is there just that much of God about you? That is the test. If God is your Father, somewhere of another, in some form or other, the family likeness will be there, the traces of your Parentage will inevitably appear. 
What is there special about you? 
God grant that as we examine ourselves we may discover something of the uniqueness and the separateness that not only divides us from others, but which proclaims that we are children of our Father which is in heaven."
~ David Martyn-Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount
[emphasis added]



{email subscribers: listen to 'Keep Making Me' by Sidewalk Prophets by clinking here.} 
"Make me broken
So I can be healed
‘Cause I’m so calloused
And now I can’t feel
I want to run to You
With heart wide open
Make me broken

Make me empty
So I can be filled
‘Cause I’m still holding
Onto my will
And I’m completed
When you are with me
Make me empty

[Chorus:]
‘Til You are my one desire
‘Til You are my one true love
‘Til You are my breath, my everything
Lord, please keep making me

Make me lonely
So I can be Yours
‘Til I want no one
More than You, Lord
‘Cause in the darkness
I know You will hold me
Make me lonely"



A Soft Gentle Voice

{Words for Wisdom for the Weekend: These are words that I have been challenged or encouraged by that I have read throughout my week that I kept pondering; words that I couldn't get off my mind and heart throughout my week. 


For other Words of Wisdom for the Weekend posts see here.}

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