I have heard it said that giving is receiving. This has proven itself true many times in my life.
In previous years I have given my time as a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Due to changes in my life, this is no longer possible. BBBS has a vision that every young person realizes their full potential. This was something I couldn’t easily walk away from.
God showed me a way that I could still support this worthy organization. He had given me the words needed to write a book of short inspirational stories. Two of the stories were based on my mentoring experience with BBBS. While the book was in the publishing stages, I felt a strong desire to use it as a way to give back to my community. After much prayer, I approached BBBS with the idea of giving them $2 from every book I sold. They are a donor supported and volunteer driven organization so didn’t hesitate to accept my offer.
In late June, just four months after ‘Inspirations From The Everyday’ was released, I was able to present them with a cheque for over $500. The joy I received from giving this gift was incredible. I knew that this little book, privately sold, was making an impact on the lives of many who would never come in direct contact with it. I am blessed to be able to honour God by willingly sharing the gifts that he has given me.
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 NIV
In many churches today the words of the songs are projected either onto a large screen or a wall, making it easy for people to follow the words and sing along.
My husband and I were attending a large gathering where we were invited to sing along with the person on stage. There was no projector for the words and we were told we’d need to sing “off the wall.” That meant that we couldn’t rely on the words on the wall. Instead we would have to go by memory which meant singing the words “by heart.”
The words “off the wall” also had a different meaning for me. When I’m not doing what others expect of me, I might be referred to as “off the wall.” On occasion, my sense of humour has also been referred to that way!
Thinking about this, I realize that my “off the wall” times have been when I haven’t relied on outside prompts. They are the times I have been my true self, and done things “by heart.”
To me, this is the best way to honour God. He wants me to depend on Him and what He has planted in my heart, and not on outside influences. This is accomplished by praying and then waiting for His leading. When I do this, I am “off the wall” in the best way possible.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3 NLT
picture from bing.com
Camping is something that our family enjoyed for many years. Our methods of camping have evolved over time. We started by camping in tents, using camp stoves for cooking and kerosene lanterns for light.
There was great excitement when we moved up to a tent trailer. Now we had foam mattresses under our sleeping bags and a sink and icebox right in the trailer. Many happy hours were spent as we traveled with our tent trailer.
Eventually the stitching on the canvas started to deteriorate. Repairs took many long hours and were not long lasting. Our children were growing up and no longer wanted to camp with us. The tent trailer was abandoned.
In the past few years we have started camping again, now with our children and grandchildren. Our camping has changed as each family has their own large trailer. These ones have all the amenities of home. It is inevitable that one day these trailers, too, will become outdated and replaced by something new.
The camping abodes we have used over the years remind me of my earthly body. It, too, has become worn as it has aged. The difference is that when I am done with this body, God has a new heavenly body waiting for me. The one he has prepared will never become old or outdated.
For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. 2 Corinthians 5:1 NLT
Our strawberry plants have flourished this year. We have already harvested more berries than ever before and there are many more still growing. After some very sparse years, it’s exciting to be reaping this bounty.
We haven’t done anything different with the plants this year. They have been cared for in exactly the same way as previous years. Perhaps it just took them this long to mature to their full potential.
This is a fairly accurate description of my life. There have been times that I have worked hard but not obtained the results I had hoped for. Sometimes the disappointment has been enough to make me quit. I may have even been in reach of my goal but just not realized it. Dreams and goals will never be achieved if I give up.
Fortunately, God has never given up on me. No matter how long it takes to mature into the person he wants me to be, he is always there nurturing me. In his loving care my life can reap a harvest like never before.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
The regular aquasize instructor was on vacation and the one filling in introduced a few new exercises to the class. At one point she was talking about using the resistance of the water to get better results from the workout. When she said, “Resistance changes your shape,” my mind went in a completely different direction.
Over the years I have learned that when I resist things that are good for me, my shape does change. If I resist the apple and have a couple of chocolate chip cookies instead, it’s my physical shape that changes.
Overall, I believe that it’s my emotional well being that has suffered the most due to my resistance. When I refused to accept something new or different, I got ‘bent out of shape’. Certain that my way was right; I was not willing to consider other options. My stubborn attitude didn’t make me pleasant to be around. This resistance caused me to miss out on new experiences.
Looking back, I can see that my resistance has often come from a fear of the unknown. Once I learned to put my trust in Jesus, the fear and the resistance lessened. When I relaxed enough to trust him with the outcome, my life has been far more fulfilling. He has proven over and over to me that when I pray and rely on him, he can accomplish so much more than I ever could on my own. My shape has been changed, not by my resistance, but by the loving guidance of Jesus in my life.
I have commanded you, “Be strong and courageous! Don’t tremble or be terrified, because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 GWT
My husband and I attended the Canada Day parade in our city. The crowd of spectators was composed of people of all ages who had come out to celebrate the birthday of our country. Flags were waved and many wore red as a sign national pride. All were in a very festive mood. It was clear that those gathered were proud to be Canadians and to live in what we consider to be one of the best countries in the world.
Since it was a holiday, people were free to take part in the many activities happening around the city. The finale to the day was a spectacular fireworks display at dusk. It was a fitting end to a day of celebration. Such displays of pride in our country took place all across this vast nation.
We are not the only country to feel this way. Many countries have days set aside as national holidays, to celebrate the uniqueness of their homeland. Each has people proud to be citizens of that country.
No matter what country we live in, we are citizens of heaven. One day we will all be reunited in heaven with our Lord Jesus Christ. That is the best cause for celebration.
But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. Philippians 3:30 NLT
School is officially out for the summer. The graduation ceremonies have come to an end for this year. Ceremonies are an important way to honour the achievements of those moving on to new areas in their lives.
What used to be exclusive to those leaving high school and university has now been extended to many other levels as well. My husband and I recently attended ceremonies for grandchildren leaving both pre-school and kindergarten. One of them invited us to come to her “Congratulation Day”.
This seemed to me to be a very appropriate term. The purpose behind the ceremony is to present certificates, awards and offer congratulations to those that have reached this milestone in their lives.
Thinking about congratulations, I realize how important it is to recognize and celebrate achievements. What may seem insignificant to one person may be a milestone to another. The milestones in my life will not look the same as they do in the life of someone else. I have learned that each small step forward enables me to take another one. As these steps accumulate, I am able to reach goals and dreams that wouldn’t be possible if I stood still. Therefore, each step is one to be celebrated.
Jesus is the one who celebrates each step with me. He gives me the confidence to move forward. With his guidance I will achieve greater things for him that I ever thought possible.
Blessed is the person who trusts in the Lord. The Lord will be his confidence. Jeremiah 17:7 GWT
A person’s steps are directed by the Lord, and the Lord delights in his way. Psalm 37:23 GWT
My husband and I enjoy classic cars. We’ve spent many hours going to previews and auctions of these vehicles. When my son was young, he and I attended an auction, got caught up in the excitement and started bidding. My husband was very surprised when I called him at work to say we’d just bought a 1957 Cadillac!
The car was very large compared to the more modern ones we owned. Enormous chrome bumpers made it even more so. Our carport was not quite deep enough for a vehicle of this size and the back bumper was exposed to the elements. The chrome started to rust. Our plans to restore it to its former glory didn’t materialize and we hated to see it deteriorate. Eventually we sold the car to someone who wanted to do the restoration.
Thinking of that car has brought back many memories. It also has reminded me that although things many start out shiny and new, they don’t stay that way. When chrome is not maintained, it needs to be stripped down and re-chromed.
The same is true in my life. When I don’t treat my life with the care and attention it deserves, rust spots start to appear. If not dealt with, they will spread and take over what was once shiny and bright. Restoration can happen, but the process may not be easy or pleasant.
Jesus can take this blemished life and restore it. He will not just paint over my rough spots, but will do what is necessary to remove them so there’s a better chance of the restoration being permanent. He cares enough to want the very best for me. When I pray and stay in close contact with Jesus, my life will be bright enough to reflect him to others.
Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:20 NLT
Photo from reinventingottowa.blogspot.com
I have frequently looked at the makeover stories in magazines and wondered what it would be like to experience one of these makeovers. Before and after pictures capture a remarkable transformation. The first picture usually shows a woman in drab clothing with no makeup and unkempt hair. The follow-up pictures show a beautiful woman who not only looks younger and thinner, but also has a fabulous wardrobe.
It all looks wonderful, but I wonder if it is something that can be maintained when all of the stylists are not there to help.
Thinking about this, I realize that I have undergone a complete makeover that had nothing to do with a magazine contest. When I gave my life to Jesus, he transformed me from the inside out. He took my drab, boring life and turned it into something far more beautiful than anything I could ever have imagined.
This was not a temporary change, but a permanent one. I don’t need a team of stylists to maintain this makeover. Jesus is my constant companion and when I walk with him; my life is anything but drab.
Looking back, I see just how big a transformation has occurred. The most exciting part of this is that I know he’s not finished with me yet.
. . . to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:3 NIV
photo from BIng.com
My husband and I were driving along the highway that is the main corridor between Calgary and Edmonton. The traffic ahead started to slow and looked like it was coming to a standstill.
It didn’t take long for us to find out the problem. Two calves were running down the middle of the highway. A couple of vehicles drove along the median to get in front of the calves. They then attempted to block their way, forcing them to move to the grassy verge and safety. The calves were obviously frightened and got around the truck that had parked sideways along the lanes. They kept running as other vehicles came alongside. The rescuers persisted and soon got the calves safely off of the highway.
This rescue was not only interesting to watch, it also illustrated life lesson for me. Like these calves, I have occasionally found myself in a foreign and unsafe environment. God relentlessly pursued me to bring me to safety. There were times that, frightened, I keep running straight ahead, unaware of the rescue attempt. It was only by submitting to God that my peace and security were found. He is the one that sees what dangers may lie in my future. By staying close to God, there is less chance of straying. If I do take a wrong turn and end up where I shouldn’t be, I know that I only need call out and He will rescue me.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; Isaiah 53:6 NIV