Friday, July 2, 2010

There Is An Appointed Time...

Every year I like to do something that I have never done before, and last year it was to enter into the world of blogging, my first post being in March of 2009.  It was done completely by faith, believing that it was what I was to do at the time and that if I just rested and trusted in God, that He would use it for His good purposes.

My intention for this place has always been for it to somehow bless, encourage and inspire, and so last summer, as I was ready to embark on my own personal study through the Psalms, I thought I would put out the invitation to others, to welcome them to join with me in 'A Summer In The Psalms'.  I would post on a Monday the Psalm that was to be studied that particular week, and then we would gather together again, through my teaching post on Thursday and share with one another.  It took off like crazy.  Most of the girls were travelling throughout the summer, yet were able to find the time to study and drop in for their Gathering Time on Thursdays... Debbie's husband even purchased a lap-top for her so that she could plug in wherever they could find an internet connection on their bicycle travels throughout BC.  We all fell in love with Takako that Summer through Pure Grace and I believe with all my heart that my prayer for this place to be a blessing and encouragement to others was met.

As the months went on, a few new rooms were opened through Pure Grace - The Room to Grow, The Room to Read, The Little French Sewing Room, The Bible Study Room.  I have enjoyed so much sharing with you this past year from all of these rooms, however, over the past few months, as God has begun to open other doors to me, I have begun to sense that perhaps it is now Time to move on.  

The doors of Pure Grace will continue to remain open until July 15th, at which time it will then become a private site.

For those of you that dropped by for a visit and took the time to bless me with your words of encouragement and appreciation... I thank you.  For those of you that quietly came and quietly left... I bless you.

There is an appointed time for everything.
And there is a time for every purpose under heaven -
                                                             Ecclesiastes 3:1 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Women Who Show Up... for Life (4)

Good Monday morning to you!  Life is good and I'm ready to muse, so I'm glad that you showed up!  I hope that you feel comfortable enough to go ahead and muse right back, I never know where these words are going to land on any given day, so my prayer is always that they will bless you in some way, and always point you to Jesus.

In Women Who Show Up... for Life (3) we looked at Jesus as being The True Bread of Life.  "Jesus said to them, 'I am the Bread of Life: he who comes to Me will not hunger...'". (John 6:35)
We discussed our daily need of Spiritual Food, comparing it to our daily need of physical food, and how as Jesus showed compassion towards those who were physically hungry by feeding them, He was actually pointing them to the deeper truth of their spiritual hunger - a hunger that only He could satisfy.  We also saw how the people missed the Bread of Life because they were too preoccupied in looking for... bread.  "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."Matthew 6:33

This week, I am happily embarking on a Summer Bible Study in the book of Ruth - on so many levels, it really is a beautiful love story, and yet, at the outset, I find it also to be a story of a fascinating pilgrimage.  

After just reading through the first few verses of Chapter One, my musings before the Lord have already begun, for in the very first verse we see a family of four - a husband, his wife, and two sons - making a pilgrimage from their homeland of Judah to the land of Moab.  

"Now it came about in the days when the judges governed, that there was a famine in the land.  And a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the land of Moab with his wife and his two sons.  The name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife, Naomi; and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem in Judah.  Now they entered the land of Moab and remained there."

In Hebrew, Bethlehem means 'House of Bread'.  And so, because of the famine, this man and his family left the House of Bread, the land of Judah (Israel) to go into the land of Moab; a land that the nation of Israel was in direct hostility with, at best. (Deuteronomy 23:3-6, Judges 3:12-14

A quick read of the account in Genesis refreshes us in the fact that God had, years earlier, freed the nation of Israel out of the captivity and bondage of Egypt and after their wanderings in the desert, brought them into the Promised Land.  It was an abundant land, a land flowing with milk and honey, a land that was to be their permanent home... they need not look anywhere else.  So, the question arises, why was there now a famine in the Promised Land - famine in the 'House of Bread'?

It was because the nation of Israel had turned from God and followed after, and served, the gods of the nations around them. (Judges 2:11-19)

So, now we see Elimelech and his family leave the 'House of Bread' and go to Moab to find... bread.  Sometime after their arrival in Moab, Elimelech dies.  Naomi is now left with her two sons; the two boys, as inevitably will happen, meet cute little Moabite girls, and eventually, marry them.  Within ten years of living in Moab, the two sons also die, which now leaves their mother Naomi, in a foreign land, destitute, without her husband or sons, only her two, widowed, daughters-in-law.  Naomi, in her grief, hears that "the LORD had visited His people (Israel) in giving them food".  In other words, the famine in the 'House of Bread' is now over.  So, Naomi decides to pack up and leave and to journey back home; her two daughters-in-law go with her.

And it is here, on the journey to the 'House of Bread' that we see something amazing happen.  At a certain point in the journey, Naomi tells the two girls to go back to their families, and their gods.  That being with her will hold no future for them.  One of the girls kisses Naomi and returns home to Moab - but the other girl, Ruth, clings to Naomi and says this... "Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I go, and where you lodge, I will lodge.  Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God."  Ruth had no way of knowing that this clinging would one day result in her name being forever entered into the royal messianic line - that she herself, a Moabite woman, would one day become the great-grandmother of King David! 

So what does this have to do with Women Who Show Up... for Life?

Well, I believe that in Ruth and Naomi we see a picture of two very different kinds of women, women that we may know today.  Ruth had not yet been to the 'House of Bread', but was intent on going, as she saw Naomi heading in that direction herself.  As a little girl, Ruth would have only known the hostility of her nation towards Israel and their God, never having had an opportunity to know God in her childhood.  And Naomi, well, she had once lived there, yet had left the 'House of Bread' and was now intent on returning.

Both of these women, whether they realized it or not, were preparing to make the journey... to Show Up for Life.

Whenever I study the Bible, I remind myself frequently that what was true physically regarding Israel, is true spiritually of us today, on this side of the cross.  The physical famine of Naomi's time can be correlated to the spiritual famine of our time.  

So often, circumstances can cause us to seek people, places, things, other than God, for our relief.  It was physical hunger that caused Naomi and her family to turn and leave the 'House of Bread', yet that physical hunger could have been the very thing that prompted them to seek out, to worship, to praise, the One Who Supplies All needs.  Turning to the things of this world may seem right at the time, particularly when our bellies are grumbling with physical hunger and the smell of freshly baked bread is wafting through the air from another direction!  But to seek after bread and miss the Bread of Life will more often than not, result in remoteness from God.  It can be so subtle at first, our need is met and we feel satisfied, but our souls begin to languish apart from Him.  It may take only hours or days to realize this languishing of the soul, although sometimes months or even years, and then, like Naomi, perhaps one day you hear of the provision of God among His people, you hear of the Bread of Life giving nourishment to not only the body, but the soul... and you find yourself with an undeniable hunger... and longing.

So here is what I am musing.  Any kind of need, whether physical or spiritual should be my springboard to Christ.  Either way, a time of need is not the time to be turning and seeking filling or fulfilling apart from Him.  Yet, where the body goes, the heart/mind has in all probability gone first.  If the hearts and minds of Naomi and her family had already turned from God in disobedience (which brought about the famine in the first place) it would have certainly paved the way to their actual physical leaving from the 'House of Bread'. 

Remember to, the children of Israel were in a place of blessing when their hearts began to wander from God, they had actually left the 'House of Bread' in their hearts long before the physical famine came upon them - the physical famine simply mirrored and pointed to the truth of the reality of the spiritual famine of their souls.  

Do you find yourself in a place of blessing or a place of need during this season of life?  Your need may not be the result of a wandering heart, just the plain, natural outworking of living here on planet earth.  Wherever you may find yourself, a good question to ask is this... does my place of blessing, or my place of need draw me closer to, or farther away from God?

Personally, I find myself in the season of both blessing and need!  Because of the hearts propensity to wander, both blessing and need have the potential to distract me from Him, yet, continually, my overwhelming desire is to draw even closer to Him in intimacy through prayer and His Word and in living this thing out... faithfully, joyfully, fruitfully!

Joining hands with others heading in the same direction, on the same path, intent on Showing Up... for Life!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Witness

I found this entry tucked away in my draft file, written a few months ago.  I had fully intended on posting it at the time and then hesitated - changing my mind - thinking that perhaps it might be a little too much musing if someone was just dropping in for some pretty pictures and a bit of a light read.  I had the choice whether to just delete it in order to clean out my file, or post it... I've decided to post.  So here it is, such as it is...

Today's Musings flow out of a conversation that I recently had with my friend Marnie, who works part-time at a transition house for women and their children leaving abusive relationships.  She shared with me the stats which indicate that children who witness abuse are more likely to become abusers themselves than those who actually experience the abuse.  This is profound to me, in that, there is something very powerful about 'the witness'.

There are basically two kinds of witnesses in the world - those who bear witness of the Light and those who bear witness of the darkness.  Paul's encounter with Jesus in Acts 26 resulted in his being appointed by Jesus to be a witness of the Light to others, that the eyes of those living in darkness would be opened that they might turn from darkness to the Light, receiving "forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those that have been sanctified (set apart) by faith in (Christ)".

To bear witness, or to testify, is to give voice to, or act out of, that which you have witnessed, observed, or had an encounter with.  

In John 1:7 we see John the Baptist coming as a witness of the Light, "to testify about The Light so all might believe...".  This Light, that John was a witness to, was Jesus, "the Light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness (does) not comprehend it."  Jesus said, "I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness."(John 12:46)  There is a purpose to the Light.

Proverbs 21:28 tells us that "A false witness will (ultimately) perish...".  A false witness is simply a witness that does not bear testimony of the Truth of the Light.  On the other hand, Proverbs 14:25 tells us that "A truthful witness saves lives."  And this is what Jesus is all about... saving lives. 

As people who presently occupy this planet, we are daily witnesses to an enormous bombardment of audiovisual stimulation.  TV and the internet are definitely major contributors in this, and have caused us to become a culture of voyeurs, who, while not really 'experiencing' the reality of what we are watching, have become occupational witnesses to shootings, rapes, psychotic episodes, vulgarities, abuse, terrorism and... 'reality TV'.

We are also subject to witnessing a wide array of behaviours, images and voices,  just by taking a trip to the local grocery store to run a few errands.  We are also witnesses to the beautiful and lovely as well.  We find this in nature, in others, in things.  Yet, how much of what we witness in a single day is representative of darkness and how much is representative of Light?  Is it always so easy to discern?   There are many who say that there are those 'grey' areas of life, where things are not that easily identified as being either Light or dark.

Revelation 3:14 and 1:5 tells us that Jesus is not only The Light, but He is also The True Witness and The Faithful Witness.  He also has a Voice, for He is The Word of God, so we can be assured that by listening to Him we can have a Faithful and True Witness of what is Light... and what is not.

And so here is where my musing took me - obviously, being a witness is a powerful thing, whether we are passive in our witness, or whether we give voice to our witness.  Whether that witness is of the Light or whether of the dark.  From my study in Scripture, I understand that Light overcomes darkness, so, as powerful as darkness is, Light will continue to be The Most Powerful in Overcoming, amen!  So,... as much as I may witness darkness in my daily living, I purposely choose to position myself in such a way as to be a witness to the Fullness of The Light... that The Light might then shine through me, that I might then become a witness, a testimony, a voice, of the Brilliant Light which Overcomes utter darkness. 

Light and darkness. True and false.
A Truthful Witness saves lives...

Yes, there is something very powerful about the testimony of... 'the witness'.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Women Who Show Up... for Life (3)

I don't know about you, but every so often I find myself in need of refreshment.  We frequently tend to think of refreshment in terms of beverages and food; Jesus fully understood this very physical way of thinking, and so He used it, so to speak, as a springboard, to point to a deeper spiritual truth - to point to Himself as being The True Bread and Water of Life... 

"Jesus said to them, 
'I am the Bread of Life: 
he who comes to Me will not hunger,
 and he who believes in Me will never thirst'".
John 6:35

"...Jesus stood and cried out, saying, 
'If anyone is thirsty, 
let him come to Me and drink.  
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 
'From his innermost being will flow rivers of Living Water.'"
John 7:37-38

Just as our bodies are in daily need of food and water, so our souls are in daily need of spiritual Food and spiritual Water - and just as we daily show up for our physical food and water, we also need to daily Show Up for our spiritual Food and Water.

Though we may not be able to 'see' our souls, even the most well fed, health conscious person, someone who is diligent in meticulously taking care of their physical body, if they have neglected the care of their own souls, are spiritually emaciated and heading towards ultimate spiritual death.  If this sounds harsh or offensive to you, take a moment and ask yourself why.

In John 6, Jesus shows compassion for the physical needs of the people; they were hungry and, miraculously, He made sure that they were all fed.  The following day, these people showed up for breakfast, fully anticipating that Jesus, once again, would provide for their physical need - they had missed the Beauty of the 'sign', of the miracle of their feeding, from the day before.  They had all received the blessing, yet had not received the Source of Blessing.

Signs are meant to point to something.  The signs of Jesus, throughout the book of John, had a purpose too... they always pointed to Jesus.  In missing the sign which pointed to Jesus, the people missed Jesus, and in missing Jesus, their minds remained on the hunger of their physical appetites and not on the hunger of their own spiritual souls.  So, when they showed up for their early morning miracle breakfast, Jesus said to them,

"Truly, truly, I say to you, 
you seek Me, 
not because you saw signs, 
but because you ate the loaves and were filled."
John 6:26

How often do we come to Jesus for our physical needs, or someone else's physical needs?  We tend to think that our comfort, our security, our health, our happiness, our life, depend upon the things of this world.  It's like coming to Jesus to play the game, 'Do This, Do This, Do That'.  There are some people that have come to Jesus, thinking that by receiving His Invitation, they will automatically have all of their physical needs and appetites, met.  Yet if their eyes were never really on Jesus, their eyes will continue to remain on their own physical appetites.  Someone once said to me, "Listen Cathie, if God would fill my bank account and make me a millionaire, then sure, I'd get up on a Sunday morning and go to church and praise Him too!"

Somehow, I doubt it.

But listen, of course we can go to Jesus for our physical needs!  My goodness, that's a well worn path that I've trod myself, many, many times, over the years, and will continue to do so!  But here's the thing... there is comfort and there is The Comforter, there is security and there is The Saviour, there is health and there is The Healer, there is happiness and there is The Joy of the Lord, there is life and there is The Giver of Life, there are the things of this world and then there is The Creator of All Things.  To go to Jesus for Who He Is, leaves everything else in the dust and is peace beyond understanding, indeed!  He is your Comfort, He is your Strength.... He Is.

I don't know about you, but every so often I find myself in need of refreshment - and as my spiritual eyes look past the things of this world, my heart is set upon the pilgrimage of Showing Up, and partaking of, The Bread of Life and The Living Water!

See you at the Banquet Table!

"But seek first His kingdom 
and His righteousness, 
and all these things will be added to you."
Matthew 6:33

Monday, June 7, 2010

Women Who Show Up... for Life (2)

Showing up for something, when you are already tired, can be daunting.  Showing up for anything when you are exhausted is... well, you fill in the blank... because I can almost guarantee, that if you are at this moment, drawing breath into your lungs, you've been there.  Tiredness, exhaustion, weariness, you see it  everywhere, reflected back at you from the mirror in the morning and there to see you off to bed again at night.  It's reflected in our society, in our Blackberries... in our souls.

And then, an Invitation is given.  It is an Invitation like no other.  As the Invitation unfolds it reads:

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find REST for your SOULS.  For My yoke is easy and my burden is light." 
(Matthew 11:28-30)

This invitation, with it's very first Word, is both inviting and commanding.  The Word says, "Come...".   If you are like me, whenever I receive an invitation to something, I always look for four specific things -   The Date, the Time, the Location and the Purpose.

As we look closer at this invitation we can see that, The Date is Today, the Time is Now, the Location is Jesus, The Purpose is Rest.  

Date: Today 
"Today if you hear His Voice" (Hebrews 3:7-13)
Time:  Now 
"Behold, now is the favourable time; behold, now is the day of Salvation." (2 Cor. 6:2) 
Location: Jesus 
"Come to Me" (Matthew 11:28)
Purpose: Rest 
"...I will give you rest."  
" will find rest for your your souls." (Matthew 11:29)

Look at who this Invitation has gone out to... the weary, the heavy-laden, to those who are in need of rest.  Why are we in such need of rest?  It's because of (drumroll), sin.  

I'll tell you something, nothing causes eyes to roll and heated discussions to rise up like throwing the word 'sin' into a conversation!  And something else I've noticed... nothing clears a room faster than mentioning the Name of Jesus... and I'm not talking about using it as an expletive either, no problem it seems, when you throw His Name around like that!

If the word 'sin' sets your teeth on edge or causes you to think of me as one of those 'extreme Christians', (you know, the type that don't remember to do their Christian thing on a Sunday behind the closed doors of the church, and leave it there) think about this...  'Sin' is simply an archery term.  Whenever the arrow misses the mark, it is called 'sin'.  

So, with that in mind, let's look at Matthew 15:7 taking out the word 'sinner' and replacing it with its definition... "I tell you that in the same way, there will be joy in heaven over one sinner who has missed the mark, who repents..."  Oh brother, there's another word that causes heads to spin - 'repent'.  OK, so here is the definition of 'repent'... it means 'to turn from'.  To turn from what?  To turn from missing the mark, turning towards the bulls-eye (so to speak).  But which way do you turn?  Where is the mark that we are to be aiming for?  It's not a where... it's Who.  The only way for an arrow (sinner) to not sin (miss the mark (Jesus)), is for the sinner to find herself hidden, deep within Jesus (Colossians 3:1-3)... Bulls-eye!

So, The Invitation requires that those who are already tired, already exhausted... Show Up.  Is this Invitation just another burden to weary already bent and depleted souls?  Not when the Invitation says, "Come to Me" and both the "Invitation" and the "Me" is Jesus!

Think of all the ways that you try and give your soul rest.  Go ahead, I'm serious, take a moment and list what you do, apart from Jesus, to give yourself rest.  I'll wait for you...

I'm almost sure that everything that you listed, apart from Jesus, was or is, temporary, at best.  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being." (John 1:1-3) NOTHING!... and that includes True and Lasting Rest!  The Word is saying "Come", the Word is saying, "Come to Me", the Word is saying, "Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden", the Word is saying, "Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you Rest...for your souls."

Both the Word and the Invitation are Jesus, just as He is... The True Rest.  

Will you Show Up for The Life that the Invitation extends to you by turning and receiving Him, and finding The True Rest for your soul?  If you believe that this Invitation is for you, then you need to know that Jesus Himself is the Initiator of all things faith (Ephesians 2:8), ask Him for the faith to believe all that His Invitation, His Word has promised.  In other words, sweet thing, exhausted as you are, if you find a longing in your heart to Show Up, Jesus has promised that He Himself has already accomplished all that is required for you to, Show Up.  After all, He is the Author and Finisher of all things faith (Hebrews 12:2).

Monday, May 31, 2010

Women Who Show Up... for Life (1)

Isn't it amazing that God, Who never changes - Who is the same yesterday, today and forever - is all about change... in us?  And isn't it also thought provoking, that while mankind is out to change the world, God would desire change in mankind first.  God is not limited by our finite understanding, yet it seems apparent that before He moves to change our circumstances, He moves first to change our hearts and minds.  What eternal value would be gleaned from our circumstances being changed for the better, if we were to only remain in the same state, unchanged in heart and mind?  God never wastes a thing, and most often it is through our circumstances that He sets about to accomplish the most amazing change of all.

I've heard it said, and I believe it to be true, that God's purpose in our lives is not to make us comfortable but rather to make us conformable. This conforming that He desires is intended to bring about the most wonderful of changes... the conforming of the human mind and heart into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29) - the character of the Son of God found evident in the children of God.

I've been thinking recently about the words that I place here, in the main room of Pure Grace, and about those of you who happen to drop by from time to time.  I've also been thinking quite a bit about the topic of Women Who Show Up... for Life, and like any Biblical study that I have ever done and then taught - the lesson itself must first go deeply within me, and that's exactly what's been happening over the past few months.  I would not be a woman who is showing up for Life if I was to begin 'playing to an audience' when I share my thoughts here at Pure Grace.  God's Word is powerful, it is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).  It has the power to go out and accomplish all that the Lord intended it to -  every single time.  It is my intent to always share with others what the Lord has so graciously given to me and to not try to repackage the offering in a way that will somehow make it more palatable to all people, at all times... that would be nothing more than an exercise in absolute futility and put me in the unenviable position of being a 'people pleaser'.

Women Who Show Up... for Life, are women that have heard and received the Invitation of God.  Perhaps you are just at the stage of Showing Up, or maybe you've just received the Invite to show up.  Any way you look at it, one thing is certain - no matter what kind of circumstance you may find yourself in today, The Invitation of Life has been sent out - and those who receive this Invitation and show up for The Life extended by it, are changed... for Life and through Life.

Isn't it amazing that God, Who never changes - Who is the same yesterday, today and forever - is all about change... in us?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sniffle, Sniffle

This sudden shift in the weather, to cold winds and rain, has blown a cold my way... three tissue boxes worth!  I thought a full day of exercise, out in the fresh air, would rid me of my malady, but it looks like it will take another day or so until it bids me adieu, so-o-o, I've decided to take advantage of this unexpected visitor by having it join me in my Little French Sewing Room today to sew together a quilt that I've been working on - and once this cold blows off (so to speak) I'll have a completed quilt to show for time well spent.

My Monday Musing for today... give thanks in all things!
...sniffle, sniffle...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Welcome to Hope!

At my dental appointment yesterday I noticed posters and pamphlets promoting the wonders of Botox injections which are now available and given by my dentist, upon request.  As I asked around it quickly became apparent that every one of the girl's in the office had had it done and were regaling it's benefits.  The receptionist told me that, "Women have been hoping for years for something like this and now here it is and it's readily available and affordable for everyone!"

Later, my dentist and I were having a general discussion regarding the world in general and the difficulty facing young people in trying to navigate their way through life, and all the information thrown at them from every possible direction.  My dentist is a Christian woman and understood when I said what a comfort and assurance we have in Jesus, Who is our wisdom and our discernment and how living out our faith before others points them to Jesus as well.  I cannot remember how it came about, but as she was leaving to attend to another patient, my parting words to her were, "We live in Beautiful Hope".

A few moments later I found myself sitting up, while my mouth was being meticulously filled, by the hygienist, with trays of pink goop that I was told would turn magically white and solidify within mere minutes if I did not move.  While this procedure was being carried out she was chattering on about what a long trip I had taken to come to the dental office that morning....what?  Was I going to be spending time in town for a few days before heading home?...What?  Was there not a dentist in Hope that I felt comfortable with?  Again...What?  She chattered on about having once driven through Hope and though lovely, she would not want to live there... wha? it!

My brows furrowed and I gently shook my head to show her that she had misinterpreted what she had overheard me say.  Misunderstanding the universal language of a non-botoxed forehead furrowed in expression, she nodded while saying that because I lived in Hope and that it was my hometown, of course I was partial to it just as she is to the lower mainland.  Get this goop out of my mouth!

After she had removed the trays and as I quickly wiped my mouth, I was able to explain to her that I do not live in Hope the place, but rather I live in HOPE The Person... and right there and then that hygienist was pointed to Jesus.  I have another appointment next week and she has requested that she be scheduled as my hygienist that day.

Welcome to Hope!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Go Be That Woman!

This Mother's Day Weekend, the message of what I wrote last year still rings true in my heart, and so, I offer it here again in the hopes that it will bless and encourage you...

Mothers...the one thing we all have in common is...we all have one! Mothers come in all shapes, sizes and nationalities...some are good, some are bad, some are indifferent. Biological motherhood is not a given to all women...some cannot, some will not, some simply long to be. Some mothers are ready and some mothers are ill-prepared.

This weekend we will be celebrating Mother's Day, not the day, but the women each one of us have come through. For many of us, this will simply be a time to remember...for others of us, it will be a time to make phone calls, send flowers, buy gifts, write out cards, perhaps take our mothers out for brunch or dinner. We will probably find that our attempts to communicate our love will seem so little, but to a mom...well, a little is HUGE!

Mother's Day can also be a time to honor those women who did not give birth to us physically, but who have loved us and poured into our lives as if we were their own.

In Exodus 20:12 we are told to "Honor our father and mother...", of course the original intention was not just one day a year, but every day! This word honor carries with it the meaning of 'giving place to'. We are to give our mothers 'place' in our lives, we can do this in a variety of ways, and yet there are some that have mothers, that to give physical place to them would be unsafe and can still 'honor' your mother and give place to her by thoughtfully and faithfully praying for her.

I think it is telling that the original meaning of the word "mother" is... "a point of departure or division; one who gives birth to; one who gives rise to".

From the moment that a mother gives birth to her child she herself, has begun the journey of learning to let them go. Birth itself is twofold, the birth of a new life...and the birth of a new mom! Once the "departure or division" has occurred through birth, next comes the mother's responsibility of "giving rise" to that child. Needless to say, mothers need the wisdom of God in the "rising" or "raising" of their children!

We women can all be mothers, in the sense that we can all, pour into the lives of those around us...we can give "birth to" and "give rise" to many. Has there been a woman, perhaps your own mother, who has poured into your life that, which has given you rise? Then tell her, share with others and pass the blessing along! Today, give thanks to the woman or women that have given birth to and continue to give rise to you, and perhaps be determined to be that woman, to another...someone whom God has placed in your circle of influence...pouring into their lives all that the Lord has poured into you!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Women Who Show Up... for Life

I was recently at a church ministry meeting and during the course of conversation I happened to use the phrase, "Women who show up..." I was using it in the context of women who are available for, and women who are available to, Jesus. This phrase has stayed with me over this past week and I am presently still in the 'musing' stage.

'Women Who Show Up... for Life', are women who show up for Jesus. What exactly does this mean and what are the implications and applications in our every day life? As I have been looking through God's Word, I realize that He has a lot to say to us regarding this subject and so, this morning, I wanted to ask you a question... as I continue to look further into what it means to be 'A Woman Who Shows up... for Life', would you be interested, over the course of the next few weeks, in me sharing with you what I have found?

Hoping to hear your thoughts on this...

with love,

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hi, this is Jill with my mom Margaret!
We have waited for a long time to have a chance to visit with Cathie,
 see her lovely Little French Sewing Room and catch up on family news.  

Thanks for the delicious Lemon and Blueberry Muffins, Cathie!
Sent from Cathie's Little Room that I (Jill) call the 'Girl's Room'.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Musings

To borrow, and then alter, the words of William Shakespeare....

To blog or not to blog;
That is the question...


Monday, April 19, 2010

In The Beginning

Good Monday morning to you!  My day is promising to be full, however, I wanted to take a few moments and offer you, such as they are, my Monday Musings.

This past weekend I spent the majority of my time in the garden. Saturday was wonderful, it simply poured with rain and there I was mucking about, dividing the hostas and irises, planting gladiola bulbs and digging out sod to enlarge the side garden... it was wonderful!  I was wet and muddy and completely in my element!

Sunday was just as enjoyable, although the weather was the complete opposite, being beautifully bright and sunny and warm!  I continued to dig and plant and plan out my garden, the grass was newly cut and the trees are beginning to show their new life in an amazing show of fresh colour, the deep russet of the Split Leaf Maples and the yellow greens of the Honey Locust.  New Beginnings are all around me... and within me.

We all have beginnings that begin somewhere, whether it's the beginning of our day, beginning a new friendship, a new resolve, a new career, a new way of life, life itself.  Sometimes our new beginnings are hidden deep within and although they have already begun, their season to bloom yet lies ahead.

Even the name of the first book of the Bible, "Genesis" comes from the Hebrew word 'bershith' meaning 'in the beginning'.  Throughout the years I have continually found comfort and direction in the first four words that begin the Bible...

"In the beginning God..."  (Genesis 1:1)

Before anything was... God Is.  All things have been created and have a definite beginning point - God.  In the words of the song of 'Maria' in The Sound of Music...

"Let's start at the very beginning
A very good place to start..."

Of course the difference is that instead of beginning with the abc's of the alphabet like the song suggests, our intent should always be to begin with The Very Beginning of all things - God Himself!  He is the Alpha (The Beginning) and the Omega (The End).  He knows the end from the beginning!  A Very Good place to start indeed!

The verse in Genesis 1:1 continues on and says...

"In the beginning God created..."

God is the Creator, not us.  When I was out in my garden this weekend, I was not creating, it was God creating through me, and it was a sweet time of reflection on the Beauty and Wonder of my Creator God, Who invites me to join Him in the joy of His Creation.

What is it that you have been trying to create?  A good life, loving and healthy relationships, a beautiful garden, a beautiful you?  Cease your striving, and know that He Is God!  Begin all things with Him and bring all things to Him, then watch as He leads you through Life, like an abundant garden, and shows you the vast and beautiful array of the unfolding of His purposes.

I encourage you to join with me and begin this day, and all days, with God... after all, He is the God of New Beginnings.

New Beginnings are all around me... and within me.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Crossing the Line

We took The Fun Bug across the line this past weekend to check out the Tulip Festival in La Connor.  

There were absolute masses of them... tulips and people!   

I had no idea that this Tulip Festival was so popular!  

There were helicopters for hire flying through the air, police traffic controllers at country intersections, cars parked in fields, balloons, food... and did I mention the masses of people and tulips?  

We did eventually park and have our walk through, but then we headed on our way - to take in the other sights in a quieter part of the countryside.  

As we left the fields of tulips behind I was thinking of how the beauty and the simplicity of the 'one' can be lost in the masses of the 'many'.  I thought that I was going to love seeing those fields, but really... not so much.  I still prefer just a few tulips from my garden in a vase on the table... 
for some reason I tend to see the beauty in just the simplicity of a few.

It's kind of the same thing when it comes to people.  As much as I can appreciate crowded gatherings, I tend to gravitate more to the beauty in the few, as we laugh and share and enjoy one another in smaller, more intimate gatherings.  I would much prefer to sit with 'a few' around my table than to be placed in the middle of the 'masses of the many'. 

It was a gorgeous weekend,  and Scott and I had more fun just cruising around, looking at all the lovely homes and gardens in some of the smaller towns.   There were some fun little shops too... like Bunnies on the Bay...

We ended our day with a very leisurely and enjoyable dinner before beginning our scenic journey home.  Just me and my man.... lovely, simple, beautiful.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He Is Risen!

"And very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.  
And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?"  And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large.  
And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed.  And he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, Who has been crucified.  He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him...."
                                                                  (Mark 16:2-6)

A few years ago I remember arriving at church and fellowshipping in the lobby area before Good Friday Services began.  As a sister in Christ approached me with a huge smile on her face, my spontaneous greeting to her was, "He is risen!"  She looked at me for a moment and then leaning in towards me, said in hushed tones , "But Cathie, it is only Friday, He does not rise until Sunday."  I tilted my head to the side and said, "Really?  But I was just talking to Him!"  It only took her a moment, and then she too began to laugh as we linked arms and walked into the sanctuary to continue our mutual worship of our already and forever, risen Lord.

Keeping the above verses in mind, I wonder how often we come to visit the 'tomb' when the Son has already risen.  How often do we, in our minds, or even physically, visit dark and cold places of death, prepared to mourn, when the Son has already conquered both death and the grave?  Sometimes we too, just like the disciples, are inclined to go visit that dark place, prepared to mourn, and when we arrive, we actually begin looking around for others to help us in the removing of that 'extremely large stone from the entrance of the tomb', so that we can re-examine, or pay homage to that dead thing... notice it was only when they looked up that they were then able to see that the stone had already been rolled away and that death itself had been conquered in the Risen Lord.

She (Mary Magdalene) went and reported to those who had been with Him, 
while they were mourning and weeping.  
And when they heard that He was alive, and had been seen by her, 
they refused to believe it."
                                                                     (Mark 16:10-11)

Sometimes, grief over death can be so overwhelming as to keep the eyes down, causing them to refuse to look up.  It can be the death of a loved one, a death of a dream, a death of an ideal.  It can even be the fear of death or the threat of death or the anguish of watching someone in abuse or sin heading ever closer towards death - it can even be just living in that dark place that speaks of death.

When the eyes are cast down, even the witness and testimony of others, others that have been in the presence of Jesus and have walked with him, seem to have no effect.

And after that, He (the Risen Lord Jesus) appeared in a different form to two of them, 
while they were walking on their way to the country.  
And they went away and reported it to the others, 
but they did not believe them either.
                                                                    (Mark 16:12-13)

There is nothing wrong with looking into the tomb, it's just that we are not meant to linger there.  Isn't it wonderful that while at the tomb, the women were invited to go ahead and look in for themselves, to see that Jesus is not to be found among the things of death - He is Living! and so their next instruction was to go and tell others that Jesus had risen! - that they would indeed see Him again, and they were reminded that Jesus Himself had already told them these things!

How often, when confronted with the dark things of this world, we forget what God has spoken to us through His Son.

We need to remember what He has spoken to us.  That He will never leave us, nor forsake us.  That He now works in us, with us, for us, and through us by the power of His Holy Spirit.

For those who belong to Him, who have turned from darkness to Light, the birth, death, burial and resurrection of our Lord is always and profoundly with us.

The cross of Christ speaks to our greatest need and the resurrection of Christ speaks of new Life in Him.  May the power of His resurrection speak afresh to you today (Ephesians 1:18-21)... I pray this over you and your family today, just as I pray it for myself and over mine.

Now, let's link arms and together, as sisters, walk boldly forward into the Day, continuing in our mutual worship of our already and forever, risen Lord and God! 

Blessed Easter Sunday to you!

Friday, April 2, 2010

How Deep The Father's Love For Us...

How deep the Father’s love for us...
For I am convinced that neither death,
nor life, neither angels or demons,
  neither the present or the future,
  nor any powers, neither height nor depth

 How vast beyond all measure...
  nor anything else in all creation,
  will be able to separate us from the
  love of God that is in Christ Jesus,
  our Lord

 That He should give His only Son...
  For God so loved the world that
  He gave His one and only Son...

 To make a wretch His treasure...
 ... that whoever believes in Him shall
 not perish, but have eternal life.

 How great the pain of searing loss...
  Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
  “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?

 The Father turns His face away...
 which means, “My God, My God,
  why have You forsaken me?”

 As wounds which mar the Chosen One...
  But He was pierced for our transgressions,
  He was crushed for our initquities;

 Bring many sons to glory...
 ... the punishment that brought us peace
  was upon Him, and by His wounds
  we are healed.

 Behold the Man upon the cross...
  And they crucified Him.
 My sins upon His shoulders...
  We all like sheep have gone astray,
  each of us has turned to his own way;
  and the Lord has laid on Him
 the iniquity of us all.

 Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice...
  He was despised and rejected by men,
  a man of sorrows
 and familiar with suffering.

 Call out among the scoffers...
  Like one from whom men hide their faces
  He was despised
  and we esteemed Him not.

 It was my sin that held Him there...
  He Himself bore our sins
  in His body
 on the tree.

 Until it was accomplished...
  ... so that we might die to sins
  and live for righteousness;
  by His wounds,
  you have been healed.

 His dying breath has brought me life...
  The Good Shepherd
  lays down His life
  for the sheep

I know that it is finished.
Jesus said, "It is Finished."
I will not boast in anything...
  But whatever was to my profit,
  I now consider loss
  for the sake of Christ.

 No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
 But I will boast in Jesus Christ...
  What’s more, I consider everything a loss
  compared to the surpassing greatness
 of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,
  for Whose sake I have lost all things.

 His death and resurrection...
  “They will kill Him,
  and on the third day
 He will be raised to life.”

 Why should I gain from His reward?...
  Now if we are children, then we are heirs -
  heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ,
  if indeed we share in His sufferings
  in order that we may also share in His glory.

 I cannot give an answer...
  If anyone would come after Me,
  he must deny himself
  and take up his cross
  and follow Me.”

 But this I know with all my heart,
 His wounds have paid my ransom...

  The punishment that brought us peace
  was upon Him,
  and by His wounds,
  we are healed.

May God bless you with the Reality of His Presence
 and Purpose this Easter,

Sunday, March 28, 2010


There are just some days when the Power of the Presence of God falls so heavy upon His child that it is almost too much Good for His child to take... and that was today for me... right smack dab in the midst of the extremes of life... just almost too much Good for this child to take - but be assured - I was of the presence of mind to be receiving every bit of the Good that was being laid upon me today and I am still praising Him.

Without going into all the details of the day, I will say this... I was totally set up! Properly positioned, you might say, to receive this particular blessing today.

This past week I have been in Exodus and in the study of the Tabernacle - I am completely restraining myself here from teaching a lesson, however, perhaps it is sufficient to say that just as every part of the Old Testament Tabernacle was an earthly copy and shadow (Heb. 8:5) of the Heavenly design - Christ Himself is the fulfillment of the Tabernacle itself (Rev. 21:22)... Beautiful.

Today is Palm Sunday. It is the day that marks the final entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (John 12; Mark 11; Matthew 21), the day that palm branches were taken and spread upon the road and the people shouted 'Hosanna!' ('save now!'). The day of the fulfillment of the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. It was an entry that was filled with great popular acclaim from those that had been with Jesus when He had raised Lazarus from the dead; yet it was a popular acclaim that lacked spiritual understanding... perhaps if they had just partaken of Selah...

Throughout the Psalms (and three times in Habukukk) there is found an isolated word that stands apart from the main text... Selah. Although scholars have long since debated the exact meaning of this word, because of its context, it is widely considered to translate as 'pause' or 'consider'... and this is where I have found myself recently... I am in my Selah.

Just as my study in Exodus and Hebrews set me up for a blessing of the outpouring of the Power of the Presence of God today, so too, have I been set up for my own particular time of Selah... a time to pause and to consider all that the Lord has been teaching me over these past 20 years. Now, it is not as though I have not paused or considered throughout that entire time, many times it is daily if not hourly! However, I'm sensing within my spirit 'a new thing' and I do believe that at this particular time God is preparing me, positioning me, setting me up (so to speak) for just that very thing.

This is my time of Selah - it is not, by any means, a time of inactivity, but one of complete engagement in the purposes of God! It is a time to reflect, a time to receive an even deeper spiritual understanding of all that God has been placing within me.

My prayer is that you would be blessed in your own personal time of Selah; that, however long it may be, you would know the Reality of the Presence of your God in it and that it would be a time of sweet refreshment and fellowship for you.

Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
ever singing your praise!
(Psalm 84:4)


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