In His Time…

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Today’s devotion is actually a devotion I wrote almost two years ago and had entitled it, “Big Changes”. I wrote it in the summer of 2016. The theme of the devotion is about trusting God to guide your decisions and life’s changes, and it  is something I believe wholeheartedly. Taking our lives to the Lord and trusting him to help guide us, allows us to look back on our lives in awe of God’s presence in our life, as well as, it gives encouragement during those times when things aren’t happening the way or at the speed we were hoping.

So today, I share with you a hope and desire which would mean a big change in our life and has been a big unknown on my heart for years. Then next week I will share how these hopes and unknowns have come to pass… in His Time!

Let’s top up our coffees and I’ll share our journey of this faith story…

Big Changes

[Jesus said,] “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6: 9-10

But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. Romans 8:25

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4: 13-14

2017 286We are currently contemplating selling our farm and moving to the lake. This is a big decision due to some farm business commitments we have, as well as, the fact that we love, love, love the farm property and the life we are able to have here. However, moving to the lake has always been a dream of mine.

It has been our hope, especially mine, that we would eventually move to the lake, but not for many years. The reality that the sale of the farm could possibly occur a decade earlier than expected could be one of great turmoil and anxiety. Yet, taking it to the Lord in prayer and leaving it with Him to occur in His time, allows both my husband and I such peace, whether it happens next year or next decade or maybe never. Our trust that if it is to be earlier than anticipated then it is only because He has placed a buyer in our pathway and we are to move on, and they are to be blessed in this place. I also believe that because it will be His timing that the home we are to move to will be available. And if it does not happen, we are content where we are, and I have enjoyed the anticipation of ‘hope’, and hope is a good thing.

2017 020
Often the view from our back deck at the farm

So, giving this whole situation and process over to God, we wait. And in our waiting, we thank the Lord every day for this current home and property – this little piece of His creation – that He has blessed us with and that we enjoy and take pride in caring for on his behalf. We trust that nothing will be done sooner, or later, than He so plans as we are part of a bigger picture, including all the other families involved and their well-being as well. We find peace in knowing that if we will be at the lake, it will be in His time, not ours, and we will be thankful, not regretful, for leaving the farm; and we live in anticipation of watching God do His thing.

I’m sure there are many decisions in your life as well, big or small, that you come across each day. Take heart! God is not separated from your life and its occurrences, where you live and what you do. So, I encourage you to take those activities and life events to him each day, and trust him to assist you. Pray that his will is done. Then, be patient and watchful as he works and guides you and your family. In knowing that you have given him the final outcome in any situation through the words “Thy will be done!” gives no greater peace of mind when a decision is made, especially one that affects your current life and family.

light2Finally, in trusting that God is placing you where He desires you to be also makes you accountable to be his light in that place. So for me, it doesn’t matter whether I’m at the farm or by the lake, I am to be his light. This accountability is transferable to all the places we are placed, i.e. our place of employment, recreational activities, church, and even hospital beds – we are his light to the part of the world in which we are placed. As we give ourselves to the Lord, let him guide you into the places where he would have you serve and share his love. And when you go through a life changing decision, give it to him, trust him to guide you where he needs you to be, and in the end, you will have no regrets, no matter the outcome.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, life has many unknowns and there are so many decisions, big and small, important and not so much, however I ask that you guide my life this day, and assist me with decisions where I do not know which way to turn. Let my days be lived in accordance to your will and walk with me through any of the changes that may be in store. Help me to trust You to place me where you need me and my family to be, and assist me to be your light so that others may see your goodness and not my sinfulness. Thy will be done! AMEN!

decisionsReflection:

What part does God play in your decision making?

Are you needing to make any decisions, big or small, right now?

How are you feeling about the decision: content? anxious? headstrong?

In any case, give it to the Lord. Ask Him to guide you. Give yourself a bit more time to work through this with the Lord. Keep your heart and mind open to his response, either directly or through others He puts in your life. Whether it is what you are hoping the outcome to be or not, trust him to be guiding you.

 

Mothers… My Mom

Good day friends! I pray your week and your weekend went well!

As Mother’s day approaches, I begin to think of all the wonderful women in my life; my daughter, my girlfriends, the amazing women in my church, the women that affected my husband’s life to be the man he is. I also think of those that have passed on, especially my sister and my Mom.

My Mom passed away from cancer on Thursday, August 11, 2005. She was 72 years old and I was 36 years of age. She loved crafts and shopping, which are traits that are characteristic of my daughter and a couple of my nieces, which is very heart warming. My Mom also loved the Lord. She wasn’t a theologian and she wasn’t perfect, but she trusted that in Christ she was redeemed and going to spend eternity with her Lord in heaven. I think too that she was excited to see her son, my brother, who also had passed on due to a car accident around the age of 21 approximately 34 years earlier.

Yes, I think often of my Mom and the life she had and the pain and sorrow she endured. During my lifetime, my Mom clung to her Lord, especially after my brother’s passing and that faith took her home, and I have no doubt that in heaven my Mom and Dad and brother and sister have been reunited. What hope and comfort the thought of such a reunion is for me, for all of us, especially as we are faced with the reality of our final days.

The final faith story I received regarding my Mom, and my assurance that she is where we believe our faith in Christ takes us, is one of joy and hope, and one I will always remember. It is as follows…

On the day of my Mom’s funeral – Saturday, August 13, 2005 – while I was waiting in the church prior to the funeral, a church elder, who had also been a close friend of mine in our youth days, took me aside. He said he had something he wanted to share with me. It turned out that two nights ago, while he was sleeping, he had a dream. In his dream, he was walking through the entry foyer of the church and he saw my Mom sitting on a chair there. chairAs always, they greeted each other with hellos. He then asked, “What are you doing here Marie? Church isn’t for a while.” She looked up at him and said, ” I’m waiting to go home.” At that moment, he was startled awake with the ring of the telephone. Without question he knew why he was receiving a call so early in the morning. He picked up the receiver, and as expected, it was Pastor calling him and all the elders to share the news that Marie Fyfe had passed on.

church8That story has brought me much comfort during many days: days where I especially miss my Mom and other loved ones, days where I may be questioning my own faith or my own worthiness. For my Mom, her church is where she met with her Lord. It was where she found peace and forgiveness when she felt or thought the rest of her life wasn’t quite as peaceful. Her church home was where the Lord met her to take her to be with him. I am thankful that she passed on to me the importance of having a church home, and that one day I too may walk through its doors into my heavenly home.

 

mother2

So with Mother’s Day right around the corner, reflect on those major things in your life that your Mom has passed on to you through her words, but even more so through her actions, especially as they relate to her relationship with her Lord. Then take time this Mother’s day to tell her you love her, and spend time with her if you can, while you still can. Let all those little things she does that annoy you melt away, because when she’s gone, you’ll miss that she’s not there doing those exact things that have annoyed you all these years…like cleaning the oven at the most inappropriate times… Boy do I miss that! Happy Mother’s day, Mom! I love you!

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank-you for the women in my life that have guided, corrected, and supported me. Be with them and stir their hearts to know how much they are loved and appreciated. Thank-you for my Mom! She’s not perfect but she’s mine and together we are loved by you. Help me to be whom I need to be for her on your behalf. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN (p.s. For those of us whose Moms are with you, can you say ‘hi’ to them for us, please.)

mother.jpg

 

Reflection: Take time to call or visit your Mom over the next couple weeks. Be patient and gracious towards her. Lay aside any annoyances you may encounter and simply enjoy the memories you are making with her. There is no one else in all the world with whom she would rather spend time.

Budgeting is a Thanksgiving Necessity

offering5.jpgGood day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Well, today – April 30th – is tax day in Canada. Therefore, it just seemed like the perfect time to connect our stewardship to our treasures for this week’s devotion.

Let’s top up our coffees and peel away this last layer for our final devotion on Stewardship…

Budgeting is a Thanksgiving Necessity

He ordered the people living in Jerusalem to give the portion due the priests and Levites so they could devote themselves to the Law of the Lord. As soon as the order went out, the Israelites generously gave the first fruits of their grain, new wine, olive oil and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great amount, a tithe of everything. The people of Israel and Judah who lived in the towns of Judah also brought a tithe of their herds and flocks and a tithe of the holy things dedicated to the Lord their God, and they piled them in heaps. 2 Chronicles 31:4-7

“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. … Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” ­Malachi 3:8-10

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

offering6.jpgI am the budgeter and bill payer in our family. Looking after a home and family financially is a constant task. I am thankful for the employment of both myself and my husband to be able to cover all the bills and expenses. On occasions, I need to review our spending pattern and consider how we can cut back or change bad habits we have been displaying. We need to prioritize renovations and maintenance activities according to our available income. However, in all financial seasons, I give thanks to God for a warm/cool home we can come to at the end of a day.

A church home is no different. It has bills it needs to pay. It has expenses no different than your home whether you pay rent or a mortgage and taxes. It has to be able to pay for utilities, maintenance, cleaners, office supplies, the church staff that serve their members, and any activities in which the church members desire to participate, in order to further the gospel. Just like your home and my home, no one is going to pay those bills except you and me.

altar.jpgLike most of God’s laws, tithing is a very practical rule for the people of God to follow. In fact, tithing was given by God to the Israelites which assisted in the care of the Temple and the Levites, who served and maintained the temple. Offerings were not invented by man, but instituted by God himself as a means of thanksgiving back to him from his children, and as a result, it cared for his church. Do you, your family and your congregation view your offerings in this way? If not, perhaps it would be a good time to start considering such a thing.

offering3.jpgThink about it, if all families/households of a congregation willingly tithed – gave 10 percent of their  income – the needs of the church, the outreach of the Gospel and the spiritual care of those who come through its doors would be amply supplied. Even if it was 10 percent of our net incomes, as opposed to our gross incomes, I would bet that all expenses would be paid. Unfortunately, I would bet most families do not tithe. (To be honest, we do not give quite a full tithe either at this point in time, but it is something I am striving for.) We can come up with many excuses not to tithe. Let’s be honest; they are excuses, because whatever the reason, we are putting a greater priority on something else financially than giving back to God what He first entrusted to us.

praise.jpgWith that in mind, the Lord does not want our financial gift of thanksgiving to be one of bitter begrudging or complaint, but one of willingness and joy. Therefore, give with a joyful heart what you have set apart for the Lord. This takes practical steps in order to be aware of returning to the Lord with what he has blessed you, and then including it as part of your household budget. Just like budgets don’t just happen, neither does tithing. Be aware. Be diligent. Satan, the world, and our sinful selves will easily keep that money spent if we are not diligent in setting it aside.

offering7Once you have calculated an amount, make a commitment to put that amount in your offering envelope every pay period, right away. It may help to keep in mind that your offering is a very important part in keeping your church home operational, at the least. I would bet that many church closures now-a-days are not just due to the lack of people, but due to the lack of financial offerings that are required to keep a church home operational, even though we are living in a time of plenty. We are so comfortable in our lives of excess, that it is hard to give up the extras. But I challenge you to challenge yourself, get a bit out of your comfort zone, just as Christ did for you that day on Calvary. Remember, you can never out give the Lord.

Prayer: Dear Lord, you have blessed me in so many ways. All I have is from you. Stir my heart to be joyful in giving back to you the first fruits of what you have given me with my treasures. Being a good steward first means acknowledging your bounty and giving thanks to you through my offering. As a result, just like the offerings of the Israelites were to support the care of the temple and those serving you through its work, I know, like any home, my church home needs to be cared for and requires the means to be able to cover its expenses. I also know that I am an important part in helping to make that happen. My church home, your holy house, is a blessing to me and I thank You for it and the work we do to proclaim Your Gospel of love and salvation. Lord, help me to be a good steward of the financial resources You have blessed me with so that I may proclaim my thanksgiving to you, and be a blessing to my congregation. Guide my heart and mind to make my gift-giving a priority and to set an amount as a priority in my own budget as the first fruits of my financial blessing. Thank-you for your love and patience! In Jesus’ name I pray! AMEN!

Reflection: Do you have a set amount that you offer on a regular basis? Commit to give greater attention to your gift giving. Turn your response to God through your offering and make it a priority, not the left over. To do this you may wish to follow these steps:

  1. Calculate your annual offering amount to be 10 percent of your net annual income, or 5% or 3%, or any percent you feel comfortable with. (To do this multiply your net (after tax) income by .10 for 10%, or .05 for 5%, or .03 for 3%, etc.
  2. Divide that annual offering amount by the number of pay cheques you get each year. This will be your offering amount per pay.
  3. Once you have your offering amount per pay, then divide it up how you wish to cover the number of Sundays until next pay.
  4. JOYFULLY return this thanksgiving offering back to the Lord.
  5. Watch as God fulfills his promise in  Malachi 3:10, Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

 

Sometimes it’s No

NoGood day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

So how did your time of reflection go this past week? Were you able to consider those interests and abilities with which God has blessed you? Are you asking yourself, “where am I going to find the time?”, “this is a need, but it really is not something I feel God guiding me to do, even after I have prayerfully and honestly considered serving in this capacity. But do I still say ‘yes’? I can’t say ‘no, can I?” … Oh yes you can! And you can say ‘no’ with a clear conscience too!

Let’s top up our coffee’s and peel this layer away….

Sometimes it’s No

All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. Matthew 5:37

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 1 Corinthians 12: 4-6, 12-14

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

Yes2How hard is it for you to say ‘no’? For most of us, we feel by saying ‘no’ that people will see us as being weak or not very accommodating. So, we say ‘yes’ to helping on school boards, more work in the office, coaching another season and the requests continue. Although others may see us as ‘Super Heros’, this is not a healthy way of living. It only leads to burnout, a deprived family, and bitterness. This frantic pace is not at all how God desires us to live our lives.

This feeling of needing to say ‘yes’ is especially present within the church. We can be bombarded with requests to help at an event, lead a devotion, make sandwiches, be on a committee, and the requests go on and on and on. Therefore, when it comes to serving the church, it is so easy to become bitter and burned out. There are so many jobs and so few people willing to serve. Many times we feel we just need to keep saying ‘yes’ to duties; if I don’t do it, who will? What will the other members think if I don’t do it? Again, these ways of thinking are not healthy or beneficial for anyone, and certainly are not the mindset God wants us to have towards serving in His Church and His children. In fact, it is quite a self-centred thing, and a tactic satan uses to keep us from focussing on what is really important.

Despite what satan would have us believe, if something is to happen in the church, than God will raise up the workers to do the work, and if there are no other workers for the task, then perhaps it is something that is not meant to occur at that point in time. Satan would love for us to be run ragged, bitter, non-joyful and cranky with each other. praying4.jpgHowever, clearly these attitudes are not God’s desires for His Church, as they keep the light of Christ hidden and reflect poorly His love for us and others, not to mention, inhibit the nurturing of our own relationship with the Lord. Therefore, it is important to give yourself boundaries and guidelines, like the ones in the previous devotion, especially taking each request to serve the Lord in prayer, and, if need be, get used to saying ‘no’ guilt-free. Saying ‘no’ is not a bad thing. On the contrary, it is an honest statement when said after an honest time of prayer and self-reflection. Therefore, let not your ‘no’ be meant as an easy response because you just don’t want to be bothered, but an honest response guided by the Lord’s nudging. If the answer is ‘no’ to one area, he may be guiding you towards another area of service. You just need to be honest and open to his gentle nudges.

friends-e1523710985492.jpgFinally, pray for all the members and families of your congregation to seek to build a strong relationship with the Lord and to be open to fulfilling the duties that God may be calling them to do. If each member of His Body is doing his/her part, than we can trust that God is fulfilling those things He has prepared in advance for you, us, his church to do.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, There are so many things to do. Help me to be honest about the things I should add to my daily schedule and those that would inhibit my time with you, my family and my other responsibilities. For those things I am not able to do now, which may include taking something from my current tasks, please give me the courage to say ‘no’. Open my eyes and heart to joyfully serve in the church and in all aspects of my life that You have prepared for me to do. Please do not let my sinfulness keep me from fulfilling what you would have me do. Please be with all the members of my congregation to seek You, and to have honest and willing hearts open to serve in all the tasks You have prepared for each of them. Help me to be loving and understanding when others say ‘no’, and to trust that you are guiding them too. In Jesus’ name alone! AMEN

No2.jpgReflection: Do you have a hard time saying ‘no’? Are you doing things in the church or in some aspect of your life, where you are feeling guilt-ridden or bitter towards it? Have you been recently asked to be part of something? Do you feel a need to serve, in some aspect, in the church? Take each of these responses, individually, to the Lord. Lift them to Him and let Him guide your thoughts and heart. Just like any conversations with a good friend, He will help you come to a resolve. Be patient, listen and be attentive as he guides you and answers directly to you and/or through others in your life.

 

‘To Serve or not to Serve?’ … Is that really a question?

candle3.jpgGood day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

Last week we began considering our call as a child of God in Christ to serve those in our life and to serve in our church homes. As I reflected on the needs of my own church this past week, I couldn’t help but think of the importance of responding to God’s call to serve his church and its ministries, as his light in this world.

Let’s top up our coffee’s and continue pulling back the layers of this onion….

‘To Serve or not to Serve?’ …Is that really a question?

Bible2 …who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? Esther 4:14b

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

As a Deaconess, the life of the church, and the service required to fulfill its needs, is something that was and continues to be very dear to me. The church’s survival is dependent upon its family members and their care of their physical church building and each other; its dependent upon each members service, and each member’s service is as unique and God-given as that individual.

As a deaconess, I had the privilege of encouraging members in their everyday life and their faith life outside of Sunday worship service. I found it a blessing and honour to be welcomed into each person’s and family’s personal life, to learn of their interests, desires and abilities, and to see their love for their Lord in their everyday life. Then, as needs within the church arose, I was able to present the need to a particular member who had the ability to fulfill the need well. If it was something that was to occur in the church, God always provided someone to fill the need. It was such an honour to see the church family working and serving, loving and growing in their love and service to their Lord.

candle2.jpg

There are so many needs in a congregation that there is something that fits everybody’s abilities and time availability. Remember the church is the Lord’s. He’s created the to-do list and he’s provided each of us with the abilities to accomplish some of those items on that list.  We should never feel like we don’t need to serve. It would be like that child who is lounging all around the house, desiring to reap the benefits and blessings that his/her parents provide, but can’t be bothered to even put dirty dishes in the sink, or tidy his/her room, let alone take out the garbage or prepare a meal. On the contrary, even the smallest task done by a child is appreciated by parents. In Christ, we all are called; we all are needed, even if it is something little.

On a final note, God has prepared good works in advance for each of us, but it is not always easy to be able to see or know how to fulfill those good works, and believe me, satan is working very hard within the church to keep us from following through with those good works. So, sometimes we need someone – like I was – to help become aware of the need, see our ability,  pray for us, and trust that the final decision, to serve or not to serve in that capacity, to be guided by God. (We will talk more about saying ‘no’ next week…) If your congregation does not have someone to help guide its members in their service, then may I suggest you prayerfully consider this service, or at the very least, pray specifically for your church members to be able to personally, prayerfully consider jobs/tasks/needs within the congregation as they arise.

love lanternPRAYER: Dear Lord, You have guided me through my days and bestowed upon me the abilities and skills to accomplish all that I need to accomplish with the many responsibilities I have.  Open my heart to be willing to see and personally respond to the needs within the church with which I can help fulfill. Guide me to be honest about where you would have me serve. Help me to be willing to joyfully and gladly give of my time to serve you; to help your love shine bright in this world, as a member of your body, your church. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

REFLECTION: This past week you reflected on why you serve, with the focus on serving joyfully, with thanksgiving, not out of obligation. To do so, it helps to seek those duties in areas where you have interests and skills. So this week, consider what attributes and skills you possess now? What type of activities bring you joy? Then check whether there are any needs in your church that require such skills?

 

Stewardship: His Call, Our Response

helpingGood day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

As we settle into the Easter season and as I think about the reality of the new life we have in Christ, I can’t help but reflect on our new identity in Christ, and our call by God, to serve and love others and his church, his Bride. In the church, we call this stewardship – the use of our time, talents and treasures to serving the Lord. Over the next few weeks let’s look at our stewardship, in response to our life in Christ.

Let’s top up our coffees and dig in…

Stewardship: His Call, Our Response

praying2

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58

 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:8-11

at the crossI live in awe of the love that God has for me, for you, for mankind; that he would take upon himself my burden and punishment of sin and pay that hefty price tag, just so that he could make the way for me, for you, for all, to be with him for eternity, as he intended man’s relationship with him to be. He purchased us with his life and for that I am ever thankful. Then he promised never to leave us nor forsake us; he desires to continue to watch over, bless, and care for us. Then to top it off, he uses us – broken, ragged, imperfect individuals – to be his light and blessing to others. It is then our privilege to give him thanks and praise. It is my desire to serve him with all I am. May it be your desire too! But what does this service, this thank offering of ourselves, this call as his bride, look like?

helpingWell, practically speaking, over the years I have come to acknowledge two very important aspects of serving. The first is the ongoing service to those that God puts in our life. We serve the Lord by all we do in our days that helps others, whether it’s at work, in our home, at the grocery store, or anywhere. We serve others as if serving the Lord Himself.

The other aspect of serving the Lord is our intentional service and care of Christ’s body- our Church and church family. Just like any healthy household and family, we need to work together in unity to care for those within the family of individual Christians, and to take responsibility for the practical needs of maintenance and expenses, as well as, to further the gospel.

church1

[Side note: Please, let me clarify that a church, with it’s programs and Worship, isn’t an organization where you simply go and utilize its services, like a grocery store or fitness centre. With or without the building, church is the people – the coming together of Christians to worship their Lord and fulfill Jesus’ command to go and make disciples, and to grow and be fed in the Word TOGETHER. It is a household with a mission and each family member, living in the trust of God’s love, grace and salvation in Christ, responds in unified thanksgiving to serve within the congregation to fulfill its needs. Faith in Christ’s salvation automatically makes you a member of his body, a member of his church; not to live alone in your faith but to be an active part of the body. For what part of the body can survive when separated from the whole body? So, if you currently do not have a church home or have not thought of yourself as a needed and important member of your Christian church body, perhaps it’s time to make that shift. Do you believe in Christ as your Lord and Saviour? Do you wish to respond to his Easter sacrifice with your words and acts of thanksgiving? If you said yes, then I encourage you to respond to God’s call as a member of his body, of which Christ is the head, and become a member within a Christian congregation; a family member that works and grows and helps for the good of the gospel.]

church7In the past, many of these two aspects of service – serving those around you and serving in your church- were all part and parcel of the same community of people, and the church building was a prominent part of that community. However, for many Christians today, the church, its members and its needs can be distinctly separate from people’s everyday lives. This is not a bad thing; it’s just the way it is. However, God’s call for us to serve has not changed. So how does that look for you?  Do you take time to worship him regularly with other fellow Christians? Do you or can you share your time and abilities with needs within your church? Do you serve because you feel obligated, or because you desire to show your gratitude and love to him and his children? (Remember God does not desire for us to serve him because we ‘have’ to.) These are big questions and if you have not truly thought of your position in the family of God through Christ like this, than it can create a shift in your thinking – and in your life’s schedule. You are needed. You are an integral part of Christ’s body and God has prepared good works in advance for you to do which are displayed as you serve in thanksgiving to all he has done for you. It is our privilege to serve him, his Church and others. It’s what he’s called us to be and do. May God bless your service of time, talents, and treasures to his glory for his church and to all those he puts in your life.

handsPrayer: Dear Lord, you have called me to serve you and there is a lot involved in that word ‘serve’. Help me to first and foremost be open to serving and loving those you put in my path throughout my day. Help me not to be so busy that I can’t see the needs of others. Despite my shortcomings, may my service provide an opportunity for those to see your love for them. Also, guide me to be honest about my serving at ____(name of church here)_____. Help me to see the needs of the church. Help me to regularly worship you in weekly services with my fellow family members in Christ, as my thank offering of myself back to you.  In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Reflection: May the next few days give you an opportunity to reflect on your service to those in your life, and to reflect on your service to the church family.

  • Consider the ways you serve your Lord and Saviour by serving those in your day.
  • Do you serve in some capacity in the church? If not, why not? If so, why are you serving; what is your attitude towards your service?
  • Consider your service to your church and activities, to the members. Reconsider those acts of service where you feel you do it because you ‘have’ to. Remember: God does not desire us to serve because we feel that we ‘have to’. He desires us to serve him willingly and joyfully. Pray that God fills you with a heart of gratitude, love and eagerness as you consider your service to him in your church and in your every day.

It’s all about the Rising!

empty tombHe is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Good day Friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

Happy Easter!!

If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead! 1 Corinthians: 13..20a

Although the word ‘Easter’ derives itself from pre-Christian rituals, it has become universally known as the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. (For more details on the origin of Easter visit http://theconversation.com/why-easter-is-called-easter-and-other-little-known-facts-about-the-holiday-75025)

Cross3What does Easter- Christ’s resurrection- really mean for us? In today’s North American society, mankind can be so caught up in present pleasures and instant gratification, that we can miss the big picture of what Christ has done for us through his resurrection. I know that much of what I share with you in my devotions is to hopefully encourage you in your trust and relationship with the Lord and those around you as you walk your earthly walk. However, all of that is ultimately meaningless if your foundational hope and trust is not resting on the fact that because of Christ’s resurrection, when you die – and you will die – that you too, having faith in Christ’s redemption, will rise with him. In Christ there is a life eternal in the presence of God that is awaiting you. There need be no fear or hopelessness when living in the resurrection of Jesus. Don’t you see, there is nothing that can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus, not even death anymore. No it’s not a here and now thing, per say, but it is an eventual reality, and can be the confidence behind everything you now do.

sunrise2In knowing that we have the assurance of eternity, allows us to live each day in confidence of being God’s beloved child and that nothing, “neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)  NOTHING! This reality allows us to focus our days in serving our Lord in word and deed, to giving thanks for all his blessings, to loving those he puts in our pathway, and to proclaiming with joy his love and salvation. He has taken care of the most important thing – death and eternal separation from our God, which frees us to live for him.

cross-2.jpgAlthough we may fear the pain of dying and/or separation from earthly loved ones, there need be no fear of unknown days and our eventual passing, sickness and disease, natural disaster or famine. For Christ has overcome them all for our sake. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! 

 

Prayer: Thank-you Lord for loving me so much that you willingly went the road of suffering, scourging, pain, and death, to be the sacrifice that my sins deserve. Then if that weren’t enough, in your death, you overcame death through your ressurection, so that when I die, I too will rise with you for eternity. Help me to live in this confidence and assurance today and always, no matter what may come my way. Help me to trust that you are with me always and that nothing can separate me from you, in Christ Jesus my Lord and Saviour! Amen!

Reflection: Do you think about the reality of death and your salvation in Christ Jesus? Do you talk about the reality of death and your salvation in Christ Jesus? Take time to reflect on this reality, and, if you are moved to, share this reality with someone this week, rejoicing in Christ’s resurrection.

New Life Beneath The Snow

winter crocusGood day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!

As we come to the end of March, the anticipation of warmer days is mounting. And although we still have many cold, snowy days left, I can see life springing up through the snow covered gardens; determined, resilient, beautifully colourful life.

Let’s top up our coffees and uncover this beauty…

New Life Beneath The Snow

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 55:18b

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.  Romans 6:13b

Towards the end of winter, when I have had enough of the cold winter and the anticipation of spring is mounting up within me, I like to go for a walk among my gardens. It is here where I will find the wonder of wonders; beautifully fragile and elegant sprigs of life diligently working their way upward towards the sun through the dead hard, frozen ground and the cold covering of snow. These colourful creations give me hope! They also remind me of the life that springs forth in us in Christ.

Just as the ground is dead, frozen, and seemingly useless, so is mankind dead and frozen in sin. Yet, as we lay there with that hard, crusty covering of sin, Christ lays on us a pure blanket of forgiveness, just as the snow lay like a garment over the ground and gardens. There was nothing the ground did to attract the snow; it just lay there and was covered by it. In Christ, “though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 55:18b) ; covered, cleansed, and purified.

 

crocus 3Then as if that weren’t enough, God through the Holy Spirit works life and beauty from within that cold, dead soil and brings about beauty in us. God’s life springs forth in us to bear beauty and colour, blossoms and fruit which proclaim his beauty and glory, and blesses the world through a unique garden of resiliency and hope, forgiveness and salvation, as it breaks through the crust and stretches its face towards the sun. This garden is your life, uniquely created by God.

garden

In Christ, you and I are dead to sin and alive in him, and by him we are made alive to walk with our eyes fixed on him, bearing fruit which he has prepared for us to bear. Therefore, take comfort in resting under his pure white blanket of forgiveness. Lay all your guilt and sin in the open for him to cover and cleanse. And then be prepared as your life becomes a beautiful garden where he bears eternal beauty from within you, as you proclaim his life, even in the midst of death.

daisy

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, thank-you for the hope you give us through your beautiful creation of spring flowers that spring forth in the midst of the cold of winter. Thank-you for covering my sins and making me alive and beautiful. May I bear your beauty in my life through my words and actions. May the events of my life- the highs and lows, joys and pains- become the garden of beauty you prepared it to be, and may I proclaim this life of hope and salvation that is mine, both now and forever more. Amen!

Reflection: Do you live where the ground is still seemingly frozen and snow is covering it? Take time to find life pushing through. If you live in a place where there is no snow or deep cold, take time to find that sprig of life that has sprung forth on an area like a rock or side of a mountain. Enjoy the reality that, in Christ, you are bearing life eternal, in the midst of sin and death in this world.

Family’s home

church6

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

img_5050.jpg

We just returned home from visiting my husband’s father and step-mother in New Brunswick. What a joyous time with family!

I love being with family. I especially love when our children, spouses/partners and grandchild come home. It may be busy and chaotic but it is among the most treasured activities I experience. I would bet this is how God feels when we go to his house.

Let’s top up our coffees and unpack this thought….

Family’s home

church6

The Fellowship of the Believers: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God….  be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:1-2, 18b-20

img_3154.jpgOur eldest son lives in Toronto, a couple hundred kilometers from us. We see him about once a month. When I receive his homecoming text, “Hey Mom, I’m coming home next weekend,” I usually text the others to invite them for a family dinner during one of the evenings he is home. It doesn’t take long for the replies to come and in minutes, a family gathering has been arranged.

For me, having the whole family together is such a joy; it literally warms my heart. I am finding that it is not only the joy of having them all home enjoying my meals, but seeing the joy they have in seeing each other. I love listening to them catch up, giggle together, poke at each other, and reminisce – which usually includes poking fun at my husband or me.

church3How the Lord must love when His children come together to be with Him in Worship and Praise but also as they come together to catch up on their own lives with each other, and care for and love each other. It must thoroughly warm His heart. However, do we see going to church in this light? Although God extends the family invitation every week, how often do we see it as an invitation or privilege to be in His presence and the presence of our brothers and sisters?

When our children were young and asked, “Why do we have to go to church?” I would respond, “We don’t have to go, but we need to go, and I want to go. It’s no different than if Grammie asked us to come for a dinner and visit; would we not want to go? Would we tell her ‘No, we don’t want to?’ Absolutely not! It’s the same with God. He has invited us to be with Him and the family that we will be spending eternity with. It is our privilege and honour to spend time with Him and his family at His house.

church5You are a very loved member of the family of God and missed when you are not present to share in the worship, fellowship and praise to our Heavenly Father, where He also bestows blessing and peace, comfort and wisdom to you at each visit. It’s always nice to have our daily individual chats and devotions with Him, but there is something holy about the whole family coming together hearing the family stories of how salvation was attained for us, receiving His blessings and sharing in His love for us. He is extending the invitation: Do you want to go to Dad’s this week for a visit? The whole family will be there!

church4Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for my family and the cherished memories we have. Thank-you for inviting me to be with You and my brothers- and sisters-in-Christ. Forgive me when I take Your invitation for granted or disregard it. Please help me to be thankful for the opportunity to come and be spiritually fed by You and to share in the lives of Your whole family. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Reflection: Reflect on how you view attending worship. Do you have a church home? If not, perhaps it’s time you find a church home, or attend with a friend that does. The invitation is always open. If so, do you feel like you are with family when you attend worship? Why or why not? Pray for your church family. How can you help make your church members see and feel like they are part of the family of God: His children.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑