October 30, 2012

A Life of Praise - Susan Barclay

I had originally planned on enumerating the many things I have to be thankful for right now, but as I sat down to write this post, I had something of an epiphany. While it's good and important to express my thanks for the ways in which God has blessed me, it's far more valuable to live a life of praise. When I live in such a way, I bless God; I put the attention on Him, which is absolutely where the focus belongs. It truly isn't all about me.

Recently my church has been working through a study of the book One Month to Live: 30 Days to a No Regrets Life by Kerry and Chris Shook. In the book "Readers examine how they can live passionately, love completely, learn humbly, and leave boldly to create a legacy that endures for generations after they're gone" (quote taken from the website). I am coming to understand that such a life is one that points observers to God. For example, when we live passionately, we are less likely to be sidetracked or distracted from our purpose, and are more likely to live out every moment while maintaining self control and setting boundaries. We make the most of every opportunity and are not overtaken by fear and apprehension. We live as children of the light, seeking to make a real difference in the world and to honour Him.

It is easy to give lip service to God and easy to sing praise songs without even thinking about the words that come out of our mouths. It is far more difficult for our actions to reflect our praise and devotion to Him. This is where we must depend on Christ in us; it is He who is to do the living, and I for one am thankful that I am not expected to go it alone. What I need to do, though, and often it's on a minute-by-minute basis, is to keep my thoughts Christ-centred. When I do this, the actions will follow.

I found this song by Casting Crowns that describes what the Life of Praise looks like. Close your eyes and listen to the words. Meditate on them. Write a response.

Let's not be so busy today that we can't take a few minutes to raise our hands to the God of the Nations, Lion of Judah, Rock of the Ages, Alpha and Omega. Let's not give Him lip service only, but through our actions live lives of true praise.

For more of my writing, please visit me at www.susan-barclay.ca

October 29, 2012

In Everything Give Thanks? - Ruth L. Snyder

As I write, my heart is heavy. Yesterday morning (October 25) in a community less than 50 kilometres from where I live, a van smashed through a fence and a window/wall into a school, pinning three grade 6 students underneath it. Five other students were also injured. The three girls were removed from underneath the van, pronounced to be in critical condition, and flown by STARS to Edmonton. Today one of the girls died. Police are still investigating the incident. Here's a report from the Edmonton Journal.

The Apostle Paul tells us in I Thessalonians 5:18, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (KJV) When tragedy strikes, giving thanks is usually the last thing on our minds. After all, there seems little to be thankful for, at least from a human perspective. Perhaps some other Scripture verses can shed light for us.

• Psalm 50:23 "The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (ESV)

• Hebrews 13:15 "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name." (NIV)

• Psalm 107:22 "Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, And tell of His works with joyful singing." (NASB)

In her latest post, Lynn Dove reminded us that thanksgiving is a choice. It's easy for us to be thankful for things we like - obedient children, finding a beautiful dress on sale, hearing the birds sing, warm sunny days, etc. However, Scripture seems to indicate that when we choose to offer thanks during difficult times, we are actually worshipping God - offering him a "sacrifice of thanksgiving."

God doesn't expect us to thank Him for the tragic death of a young girl. However, we can thank Him for the following:

• God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Events do not change God’s character.

• God is with us and walks with us through the difficult times ("When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:2 NIV)

• God hears our prayers, even when we don't know how to pray. ("In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." Romans 8:26 NIV)

• God will work all things out for His glory ("And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." Romans 8:28 NLT)

Today I'm choosing to give thanks. It's a choice that will bring honour to God. Do you agree?

Ruth L. Snyder
www.trusteesnyder.blogspot.com (Education information)
www.ruthlsnyder.com (Ruth's writing and family life)
www.earlyyearssuccess.com (Information for caregivers of children ages 0-5)
Follow Ruth on Twitter:www.twitter.com/@wwjdr

October 28, 2012

How I Was Razed And How I Was Raised -- Bruce Atchison

(John 8:36 KJV) If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

This is so true, especially in my case. For more than fifteen years, I believed the blasphemies and lies that a cultic house church leader taught me. Elders of that tiny congregation also rebuked me on various occasions for lacking faith, having hidden sin, lusting for good sight, and having ancestral sins. Whenever they laid hands on me and commanded my eyes to heal in Jesus' name, nothing happened. One woman even shouted at me when I told her that my ophthalmologist diagnosed me as having glaucoma.

When that ill-tempered woman used the pulpit to rail against my supposed sins, I left that church and turned my back on God for nine years. But the heavenly Father never turned his back on me. He sent various trials, too numerous to list here, to demonstrate that I couldn't run my own life.

I eventually arrived at the realization that the cultists were at fault for teaching me lies. The Lord showed me that he is sovereign and has our best interest in mind. John 9:3 came alive for me and helped me accept my poor vision. All the working up of my faith and crushing all doubts would never make God do anything. He's a person, not a magical force or somebody we can manipulate.

Now that I understand the sovereignty of God, I feel much happier. Human stupidity still annoys me at times but I realize that the heavenly Father uses everything for his glory and our spiritual growth. The most precious possession I have isn't my house or my adaptive computer equipment but the knowledge of the truth. Nobody can mislead me now that I know how to read the scriptures. Neither can they trick me into thinking that God is some sort of miser in the sky who has to be presented with enough faith before he would heal me. Our Father in heaven truly is a father to us.

My hope now is that my upcoming memoir, How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity will comfort and instruct other sufferers of spiritual abuse. God willing, my memoir should be out in e-book and paperback form by the end of the year.

I also have my previous books for sale on my Bruce Atchison's books link. It's also one of my blogs where I post excerpts of my books.

October 24, 2012

Being Thankful Is A Choice - Lynn Dove

Second only to Christmas, I go a bit overboard with house decorating for Thanksgiving. I scatter (fake) fall leaves liberally around the house, and fall colours of red, gold and orange are seen everywhere. In our home, Thanksgiving is a time of celebration, tradition, and remembering God's goodness to us over the past year. I usually cook up a big turkey with stuffing, gravy, caramel potatoes, sweet and sour red cabbage, some mixed veggies, fresh dinner rolls and of course pumpkin pie for dessert. Over the years my son-in-law has added to the menu by making yams (with marshmallows). Yummmm!

With a grateful heart, I can come to the thanksgiving banquet and rejoice in His goodness to me and my family... ...But I was reminded the other day that being thankful is a choice. It is easy to praise and thank God when, for the most part everything is going so well in our lives. It is far more difficult, but I would say far more honouring to God, when we can praise Him and give thanks to Him when life is frought with challenges and struggle.

I read a letter from a woman in our church who has probably had one of the most challenging years of her life. Her husband will not be with her this Thanksgiving. She has had financial burdens and has struggled with house and car repairs on her own. She admits that many times she has wept before the Lord and spent many a sleepless night, overwhelmed at times by the stress, the pain and heartache, but she says, 'Through all the trials and tribulations of this past year GOD IS SO GOOD'. She can praise Him wholeheartedly. She has chosen to be "thankful in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5: 18).

Our Sunday School teacher asked us, "Are you a "whiner" or a "shiner" based on Philippians 2: 14-16 "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life..."

As we discussed the passage at length, I couldn't help but think about this precious woman and the heartfelt letter of praise she wrote. She has gone through so much upheaval this past year but still manages to "shine" in the face of adversity.

No matter what your circumstance may be at this time, choose to be thankful. "Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 5:19- 20)

October 21, 2012

A Glimpse of Heaven-Sulo Moorthy

When our Women's ministry chose to study the Book of Revelation this Fall, I got excited. For years, I've avoided reading  the last book of the Bible thinking that I wouldn't even understand what's written in those chapters even if I try my best to grasp the meaning of the symbols and signs mentioned in the book.

My enthusiasm for the study heightened  when I learned that we were going to follow Beth Moore's teaching on Revelation through video sessions. Along with me,  80-100 women signed up for this study to get a grasp of what is uniquely revealed in this Book.

As Beth Moore points out in her study book-" No scholar, commentary, denomination, preacher or teacher can plausibly claim to have all the answers and ultimate interpretation for this fascinating finish of scripture. It's futile to expect a full understanding of everything written in the book. As long as God is glorified and His Word held sacred and inspired, having our views challenged can be a very healthy thing."

Surely, our concept of God and understanding of His Word shape our lives and reflect in our faith walk. As a child attending church on the other side of the globe, I grew up calling Christ as Jesu Papa and picturing  Him with the image that I saw on calendars hung on the wall or on Sunday school takeaways- the smiling Jesus with blond hair and blue eyes having  little kids on His lap, or the One with a staff in His hand and a lamb around His neck.

 In my teen years, when I was introduced to the meaning of grace and salvation, I began to see Jesus as the One who died on the cross for my sins in order to give me a place in heaven. . As I grew in years and in my faith, He became my Lord and Savior. When life and family brought challenges and threw uncertainties to fog my view, I saw Christ as my provider, protector, deliverer and counselor,

 In this last book of the Bible, through the eyes of Apostle of John, God has revealed to us the majesty of Christ which we haven’t seen before. Even John couldn’t compose himself to stand straight, but to fall as if dead at the sight of his Lord.  He couldn’t see the Son of Man as Jesus of Nazareth with whom he once walked, talked and ate in Galilee, or as the One who stood silently with a twisted crown of thorns on His head before the mockers, who shouted,“ Hail King of Jews”, and struck Him with their hands. Nor did John see Jesus as the risen Christ, who showed up within closed walls with nail marks on His hands and feet, or the One who was taken up to heaven in clouds while two men robed in white apparel stood on guard.

 Instead, in the first few chapters of the book that I’ve studied so far, John sees Christ as Son of God whose eyes shone like blazing fire and feet looked like burnished bronze, and  voice sounding like rushing waters announcing that He’s the First and the Last. Later, in the throne room of God, where the throne dazzled with the brilliance of jasper and carnelian, and voices of angels numbering ten thousand times ten thousand singing,

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain
To receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
And honor and glory and praise!”

John  sees Christ as a slain Lamb, the only One worthy to open the scroll that was in the right hand of God seated on the throne.

“ To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
Be praise and honor and glory and power forever and ever!” sang every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them. Rev: 5:11,13.

 Wow! What a glorious scene, and what a mighty King we serve! It's too wonderful to realize that, such a holy and glorious Christ, who is hailed day and night by thousands of angels in heaven, knows my name,  hears my prayers from His throne room and comes to my rescue in my time of need. Such a knowledge makes me want to fall flat on my face in gratitude and worship Him with adoration till my last breath. Instead of confining a day of celebration for thanksgiving, I pray that thankfulness would become my way of life.

October 17, 2012

THANKFULNESS by Bryan Norford

Thankfulness is at least joy and gratitude for what we have. We are thankful for this life and its abundance, and supremely for the greatest gift of all, new life in Jesus Christ.

But Scripture also declares that thankfulness is the bulwark against a declining humanity. “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened,” Romans 1:21.

My first reaction? How can being thankful guard our lives? Paul asserts here that all our thoughts, ideas, or philosophies, become futile—ineffective, misdirected—without thankfulness to God. Of course, thankfulness flows from belief in, and worship of, God.

If, as we believe, God exists and is relevant to life, then any opposing belief is a poor foundation for life. If we begin buttoning a shirt or blouse with the wrong button, every button is out of place. So it is with life. If we build on a false assumption, all our thinking is disordered and life is senseless.

Thankfulness to God recognizes He is our source and supply. That mindset directs our thinking aright through all the events of earthly life. But of greater consequence, it will direct us through death, the gateway to eternal life. “For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal,” 2 Corinthians 4:18.

Any idea that falls short of this cosmic scheme is paltry and eventually powerless. It may founder somewhere in life, but will certainly fail in death. For death is where the rubber meets the road and our beliefs stand or fall.

We are finally thankful that God is beyond life. We are thankful for His power over the unseen, outside of earthly space and time. Thankfulness places us on a secure path for life and eternity.

Bryan Norford

October 15, 2012

Life Is a Highway - Tracy Krauss

I recently had the privilege of speaking to a group of women at a ladies retreat at beautiful Camp Sagitawa, BC. I called my sessions 'Life Is A Highway' since the theme centred around the 70th anniversary of the Alaska Highway. For those who don't know, the Alaska Highway was built in an astonishing 8 months. That's 2700 km or 1400 miles over bogs, permafrost, mountains and raging rivers, all using 1942 technology.

It was constructed during World War II for the purpose of connecting the ‘lower 48’ US states with Alaska. Of course, if you know anything about the history of WW II, the US came into the war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, and if you look at a map of the world, you’ll see that Alaska itself, especially the islands known as the Aleutian Islands, are very close to Japan. A potential Japanese invasion of North America was a real threat and the US saw the need for an air base where they could quickly deploy fighter craft if they needed to defend NA from this Japanese invasion.

The highway itself stretches from Dawson Creek, (mile ‘0’) and it officially ends in Delta Junction, Alaska, where it then hooks up with another existing highway to Fairbanks, a predominantly military town. Sometime after the war ended, the Canadian government took over the ownership and maintenance of the highway, and it has since been upgraded and shortened. It is no longer the treacherous journey that it once was, although there are still some pretty winding, narrow parts.

I was very excited to speak at the retreat since I have a special bond with that highway. I’ve lived at three different locations along the highway – Fort St. John, BC; Dawson Creek, BC;and Watson Lake, Yukon. I’ve also traveled every inch of it from Dawson Creek to Delta Junction, and beyond.

The theme was a perfect metaphor for talking about life as a highway - a road trip of sorts, and I was able to share many personal experiences about God's faithfulness along my own journey.

My life's journey has been fraught with trials, 'ah ha' moments, and examples of God's obvious provision and protection. But along the way I have learned that He will never leave you nor forsake you. I have learned to be thankful for each and every thing that has come my way, knowing that God sees the bigger picture and knows what lies ahead on the road. The key verse came from Luke 24: 32 which says, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road…?”

I hope that is your experience, also – that God’s words are burning within you on this journey we call life.

If you'd like to read more on this topic you can visit my blog 'Tracy Krauss Expression Express'. I am posting weekly from my 'Life Is a Highway' sessions. Just enter 'Life Is a Highway' in the search box and all the posts will come up.

October 14, 2012

Fighting Fingers - Brenda J. Wood

I guess it is possible that King David was dwelling on actual physical warfare when he penned the following words, but it makes me think of people whose words make a difference.

Psalm 144:1 - Blessed be the Lord, my Rock and my keen and firm Strength, Who teaches my hands to war and my fingers to fight. (AMP)
Maybe you aren't a writer. Maybe God is teaching your fingers how to fight in a different war. This verse may speak to you of gentle fingers cuddling a crying child or a frustrated hubby navigating his big rig through a maze of puny cars.

Tinier digits possibly struggle with their first piano lesson or grade three spelling. Somewhere, a teenager is refusing illegal drugs. A friend desperately clutches a podium while she gives her testimony for the first time.

Perhaps you think your fingers aren't doing anything worthwhile. Maybe you yearn for children to hurry up and grow out of the house. Or you struggle with a job you thoroughly dislike, such as caring for a difficult relative. Maybe no one is interested in the grand novel that you just finished.

Take heart. God knows what our fingers are up to. He's teaching them how to do their job the best way possible.

He trains us up to do our best for His glory. When we live with that in mind, every one of our fighting fingers will win the war.

Prayer: Lord, forgive us for despising any task that You've placed into our hands, whether it be grand or mediocre. Help us to remember that our smallest obedience changes the world. Amen.

Brenda J Wood
Innisfil, ON

An Odd Way to Give Thanks -- Pamela Mytroen

Sometimes God has a funny way of asking us to be thankful. Take, for instance, the Jewish Festival of Booths. It falls after their harvest, coinciding with our Canadian Thanksgiving.

After God cared for the Hebrews in the desert for 40 years, He asked them to set aside a week every fall to remember his provision. Jewish law expects every family, to this day, to build a ‘booth’ or a ‘tent’ and to live in it for a week. The law demands that it must be made from something that grows from the ground, such as wood or corn-stalks.

Even more unusual is that the twigs or wood on the roof must be spaced far enough apart to allow the rain to come through. I'm not sure about you but I don't like leaky tents. 

Also, those same openings are to allow the star-light to shine in.

At first glance, it's strange, but maybe that faint scent of rain while lying in a stifling tent wouldn't be so bad! And to feel the hint of a breeze and taste the first sweet raindrop that plops on your cheek? Hmmmm... And at night, what could be better than laying on your back with your arms behind your head, and gazing up at the twinkling Heavens? 

It may be an odd way to give thanks, but it may also carry a profound meaning. Jesus claimed to be Living Water. Living off the land where lack of rain meant starvation, the Jewish people would have blinked and raised their eyebrows when Jesus made such a bold statement. They could taste the wind-blown salt of the Dead Sea which was close by. Jesus declared to be the opposite – to save them from death with His own source of water.  And, in fact, it was on the final day of this Jewish Festival of Booths that Jesus made this assertion. He stood up in the Tabernacle and said, “If any one thirsts, let Him come to me and drink” (John 7, The Message).

Jesus also professed to be the Light of the World.

Maybe it's not so far out, then, that He asks us to crack open our wooden hearts, to push aside some of the busyness of our own brittle booths and take time to remember his care. To allow the fragrance of rain to awaken our stagnant souls, and to welcome his life-giving, soul-cleansing downpour!

And in our dark hours when our hearts are heavy, He wants us to know that, though He’s silent as starlight, He’s still there. He only asks us to lay down. Rest. Peel back our worry just a crack. Allow His peace to filter in and spill over us like sleep.

In the booth of a humble heart, let’s thank the Lord for providing Jesus. And along with the Jewish people, who recite Psalm 27 during this Festival, let us proclaim together, “The Lord is my Light and my Salvation” (Psalm 27:1a).

By Pamela Mytroen

October 13, 2012

Said By T. L Wiens

Recently, there’s been a movement to strike all other words that describe a spoken word in written form and only use “said.” The reasoning I’ve heard for this movement are:
People don’t notice “said.”
Other words are “telling” words.
I don’t know who decided that “said” is an invisible word but they are wrong! It’s also a telling word.

I had the pleasure, and I say this tongue in cheek, of revising a manuscript in which the author only used “said.” The piece read like a Dick and Jane story without pictures. I’ll admit there are other issues with this author’s writing skills but every dialogue was “he said,” “she said,” covering pages of writing. It was boring and unimaginative. Readers need to see the picture and that takes more than using “said” as a dialogue tag. Why do we take away from the English language in the first place? It's so limited in comparison to other languages to begin with.

I see parallels with my Christian walk and my writing ministry. I can say I’m a Christian and quote scripture but at some point there has to be a picture—my life has to show the meaning of the words. I have to live my faith.

So whether it’s in a manuscript or in living, “said” may not always do the job and is definitely not invisible.

October 12, 2012

TheThankful List - Violet Nesdoly

"Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion; And to You the vow shall be performed." Psalm 65:1

Do you make lists?

I do. Lists to remind me of what needs to be done, organize my thoughts, help me with shopping and packing, keep me on track when I give a talk or speech ...

Psalm 65 is David's list of praise and thankfulness to God. He praises God for:

1. Hearing and answering prayers (Psalm 65:2)
2. Providing atonement / forgiveness for sin (Psalm 65:3).
3. Choosing people to come near to Him (Psalm 65:4).
4. Being approachable (Psalm 65:4).
5. The temple (Psalm 65:4).
6. The joy and satisfaction of living in God's presence (Psalm 65:4).
7. The way God inspires confidence (implied is the need to remember ways God has come through for him in the past) (Psalm 65:5).
8. God's power illustrated in nature — the grandeur of mountains, God's ability to calm physical and people storms (Psalm 65:6-7).
9. That He is visible and available to all on earth (Psalm 65:8).
10. The reliability of day and night (Psalm 65:8).
11. God's nourishment of the earth with rain (Psalm 65:9-10)
12. An abundant harvest (Psalm 65:11-12).
13. The beauty of a pastoral scene (Psalm 65:13).

David's list is a good example of one way we can set the tone of the day by focusing on God's gifts to us. Instead of dwelling on what's wrong with life, what we dread, fear, or regret, let's focus on the good stuff.

Canadian writer Ann Voskamp began an initiative some years ago to encourage everyday gratefulness.  She challenges readers to, over time, list 1000 gifts which they jot down and share with others. These can be things as small as the comforting taste of bread and butter, to life-changing events like the safe birth of a baby.  Bloggers from around the world come together on A Holy Experience (Ann's blog) every Monday to share links to their writings of gratitude. Join in the conversation in Ann's Gratitude Community on Facebook. Though I finished my 1000 gifts project some time ago, I found listing things for which I am grateful such a powerful focus-changer I have continued the practice privately. Why don't you give it a try.

Ann's book One Thousand Gifts released in January 2011 and continues to be a best-seller.

- Violet Nesdoly (Adapted from "The power of a list" - first posted on Other Food: daily devos)


Need a break from the 21st century rat-race? Travel to a different time and place via Destiny's Hands, a new novel recently released by Word Alive Press.

Experience Egyptian slavery, the exodus, crossing the Red Sea. Meet Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Hur, and Bezalel.  Eat quail and manna. Drink water from rocks. Live the temptations and questions of wilderness wandering.

Find out what readers are saying and where to purchase HERE.

Website: www.violetnesdoly.com

October 11, 2012

Caring for My Flock -- Sharon Espeseth

"Care for the flock God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly--not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God." 1 Peter 5:2

As Christians we all have flocks God has entrusted to us. Your flock might be the people you work with, the class you teach, your neighbours, a writing group you lead, a catechism class, people you serve in your business. The list is endless, but sometimes we miss the obvious. What about our spouses and our families?

Today was my 89-year-old aunt’s funeral. Ruth was her name. She was a lovely lady, a faithful Christian, who had a flock of nieces, nephews, siblings, and friends of all ages. She taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, but she and her husband Gordon had no children of their own.

Three of us nieces were asked to prepare tributes to Ruth for the funeral service. Speaking on behalf of my sisters, I shared what Ruth meant to us.

After lunch, the mic was open. Other family and friends shared stories of how Ruth had looked after them. She watched over her flock willingly, not grudgingly—not for what she would get out of doing so, but because she was eager to serve God.

Another interesting observation was made repeatedly and that was how well Ruth and Gordon looked after and served one another. They didn’t take each other for granted. For me, one of the take-aways from the celebration of Ruth’s life was the reminder to care for my flock. Our adult children and their spouses, the grandkids, and last but not least my husband Hank are a good part of my flock. That is not to say this is my entire flock, but they are a core part that, I believe, God would not want me to neglect.

Hank, the man I married, may get scared off by a Wine & Cheese & Poetry evening, but he supports me in my life and in my writing. He protects me even from myself. When I take on too many commitments, he reminds me that I might be overdoing it. He knows I don’t do well when things pile up. I am thankful for my husband in many ways, and I need to let him know this more often.

Marriage is a sacrament or blessing, but commitment is required. If I get too busy with other things, I may not be looking after my flock as well as I should be. I believe Ruth and Gordon lived a testament to God in showing their love for one another and caring for each other. They also looked after the flock God had presented to them.


October 07, 2012

Thanking the Giver - Ramona Heikel

It’s Thanksgiving weekend up here in Canada and I’ve been thinking about the ones who created the celebration that we continue today. The proclamation of William Bradford in 1623 says:

Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, squashes and garden vegetables, and made the forest to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from the pestilence and granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience, now I, your magistrate do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of nine and twelve in the daytime on Thursday, November ye 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred twenty-three, and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Plymouth Rock, there to listen to ye Pastor and render Thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all his blessings.*

In contrast, I think about us, nearly 400 years later. As a society we’re “smarter” now, and independent, so instead of attributing an abundant harvest to the great Father, we congratulate farmers for their wisdom and hard work, and the agricultural scientists for developing the best seeds and fertilizer. If the forest abounds with game, and the sea with fish, we marvel at the balance of ecology (Mother Nature), and appreciate the biologist and oceanographer that are probably behind this good fortune.

If we’ve been protected from an enemy or from government oppression, we either feel grateful toward our Armed Forces, or we take for granted that we’re safe and free to worship (or not worship) as we please. After all, we pay plenty of tax dollars, so we’d better be safe and free. If we’re healthy, we thank our doctor, pharmacist, naturopath or nutritionist for sparing us from the pestilence.

And we absolutely should be grateful, and should thank all these people. But let us ultimately thank the Giver of all these people and blessings, the One who gives our society life and breath, strength and wisdom. Let’s remember that every good thing really does come from above.

“He gives to all life, breath, and all things.” Acts 17:25

So gather ye little ones, listen to ye Pastor and render Thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all his blessings!

*From Of Plimouth Plantation by William Bradford, written 1647, quoted on page 66 of America's God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations by William Joseph Federer

Posted by Ramona

October 06, 2012

Thankful - Glynis Belec


A+ Nice poem, Susan!
An acrostic poem is always the one my students pick if given a choice. An acrostic is easy to write because it doesn't need to rhyme. Often a name is the focus. "Easy-peasy," Susan utters as she scratches out a few words on the paper. No need to worry about the rhythm of the lines either. Each line can be as long or as short as Susan, the creator, wants it to be.

As I was contemplating my post and how thankful I am for each waking moment, I wondered if I might dare present my thoughts today, in a form I will brazenly dub - an extended-acrostic! Here we go:

On Being Thankful...

Time after time I mess up. I really did mean to send that card, make that call, send that donation, God. I know I sometimes must seem all talk and no action. I don't know why that is. I murmur about not having enough hours, enough money, enough strength. Then I feel shame-faced as I see those who have less than me doing what I should be doing. Forgive me, Lord. I will try harder. I truly am appreciative of Divine Grace.

Harmony in a home is what you desire. I know that. Sometimes I instigate and toss my patience out the back door. I forget the world doesn't revolve around me and I want my own voice to resonate. Thank you for reminding me to stop and think before I speak and for letting me know that sometimes I can say it best by saying nothing at all.

Abba, Father. I surely am grateful that you know my heart. I play the game, don't I? I pretend to have it all together on the outside. Especially on Sunday where I gather with others to worship. Someone says, "How are you?" I lie and say, "Fine." I really am dying on the inside but I don't want to reveal my heart and seem weak. So I smile and move on. Why do I see the church as a haven for saints instead of an emergency room for sinners?

Normal. Whatever is that? I keep waiting. Maybe when I make it to that magic five year number being cancer free. But my happy hubby - recently diagnosed with leukaemia - does that mean I need to wait another five years for normal? "Be still, my child," You say. "I have it all under control." Thank you, Jesus. I needed to hear that.
Michael Bull Roberts speaks in Drayton. What a message! 

Kindness, "...is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." Mark Twain once wrote. Teach me not to attach strings to those times when I can offer a hand to someone. Let me never feel obliged because of religion but, rather, let the blessings pour out of me because of the blessings that you have poured into my life. I learned that from Michael Bull Roberts last week. He spoke about horror and the consequences of poor choices but he didn't stop there. He shared how You, Lord, showed the greatest kindness of all and extended your Grace to him. Thanks for teaching me, through that big, tattooed, former drug lord, turned crusader for Christ, how a heart can be changed because of kindness.

Forgiveness is that final form of love. For God so loved me and everybody else, that He gave Jesus to die on the cross for sin. That is pretty sickening when I really stop and think about it. Not the part that I am forgiven. (That's the truly amazing part) but I mean the part where it was because of my selfishness and because I was so wrapped up in myself that I didn't even think. And I still do things that I shouldn't - that are sinful. Yet the blood of Christ covers it all. Precious Lord, how I am beholden to you.

Unconditional love? Do I exhibit that in my day to day? I like to think so, but what is that rumbling? I want to strike out; point out error; announce that I was right. Then if someone won't listen to me or criticizes my judgement, then I want to retaliate; react; even the score. Then I remember how you forgive and love me anyway. I need that example. I need to daily consume Your Word. It's funny...when I do read your precious words, I feel somehow rejuvenated and more able to love. Thank you for teaching me and loving me consistently and without condition [just like you do.]

Love - and the greatest of these [Fruits of the Spirit] is love. If it wasn't for the love of God, I may as well believe that this world was created in a big bang or something crazy like that? But how can that be? God loves His creation. He perfectly made everything and everyone for a purpose. I want to keep trying my best to please God as I journey on. It saddens me to think I break God's heart. I think that is because I love Him so. If I didn't, would I care? As I gather with my family for a Thanksgiving meal, I will look into the faces of each one of my relatives - young and old, and I will say 'Thank you." Love brings us together. Love brought us into being. God is love. and for that, I am truly thankful...


October 05, 2012

InScribers Review: Prostate Cancer, My Story of Survival Survival

Author:  Bryan Norford
No. of Pages:  73

Available from Amazon - Kindle edition - $7.99
Directly from bryannorford@shaw.ca
From Pebble Press, www.pebblepress.ca 
$12.00 plus shipping

Summary by:  Bryan Norford

A stitch in time saves nine ~old proverb~

I didn’t have stitches, but many staples did the same job. My stitch in time should have been earlier diagnosis of my disease, avoiding the use of stitches or staples at all. A simple blood test for prostate cancer can provide early detection.

A sudden acute bladder infection alerted me to something wrong in my pelvic area. Without that incident, and a subsequent diagnosis of prostate cancer over three years ago, I would probably not be alive to tell this story.

The idea that men die with cancer, rather than from it, can be deadly if the disease is not caught in its early stages. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to affect men, afflicting 25,500 Canadian men each year, and one in seven of those will die from it.

My latest book, Prostate Cancer: My Story of Survival, just released, tells the story of my pilgrimage through this disease from diagnosis and treatment to recovery and outcomes. The book is derived from blogging through the journey, even from my hospital bed following extensive surgery.

What changes did prostate cancer make to our lives? How did our children and adult grandchildren respond? How did I deal with the disease and what was the reaction of my wife Ann? What were our mainstays through this journey? For us, our Christian faith played a major role, and you will find references to it throughout the book.

My devoted wife, Ann, was a strategic asset in my journey. A woman is often more perceptive than a man of the implications at various stages of discovery to recovery, and the inevitable watching over a husband’s lifestyle becomes more critical.

Thanks to a local skilled surgeon, I am currently on yearly check-ups. There is life after prostate cancer with early detection, proper treatment, and care. Even if treatment results in some functional changes, life is still a joy and to be lived fully. Men! Be sure to have that check-up soon. It could save your life.

October 03, 2012

Who Are You Working For? - Janis Cox

Last month we wrote about all the ways we can market, promote, and get better at writing. There were some wonderful ideas to help us with the craft of writing. But without God they are worthless.

Do you ever force yourself into doing something that is not in God’s plan? I notice when I say yes to something before talking to God - I find out I would have been better not to have said YES. Sometimes saying YES before prayer leads me to where I don’t experience the joy or fruit of my endeavour. God's answer may have been NO.

I am coming to the conclusion (and yes, dear writers, I am using the passive tense because it is an on-going conclusion) that maybe just maybe … I should LISTEN more to God rather than doing things in the name of God.

Then I read from Philippians:
“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Phil 2:13 NIV).
I need to have God in me in order to fulfill His good purpose – not my purpose. Oh there it is ME once again. ME.

Do I take those jobs or work on something because “I can do it” or because God wants me to do it? Do I work at something before I ask God about it? Am I in step with Him?

I want to remember that it is God working through me not me working for God.

I want to take time to LISTEN to what God wants and not to hear just what “I” want.

What do you think? I wrote about this for Under the Cover of Prayer last Friday. Obviously this has been on my mind. Do I Listen to God?

Janis Cox

Janis, a former school teacher and small business owner, found a new passion in writing in her retirement.She has published a couple of devotionals and a number of articles. Her Bible study is available in PDF.

As owner of Under the Cover of Prayer she writes often.

Her children's book, Tadeo Turtle, is scheduled for release in October.

Email her at Janis or visit her at www. janiscox.com.