Saturday, April 28, 2007

God in Control

GOD is in control - even when we can't see Him at work.

Today I attended the "Faith & Hope in Mental Illness" Conference. It was really good. The keynote speaker was Bill McPhee, editor of Schizophrenia Digest. He simply told his story and then shared what GOD did in his life. He is not healed, he has to stay on his meds, but God gives him the strength to overcome. He had an interesting "saying" which motivated him to persevere until change came: "If things don't change, they're going to stay the same." He didn't want to stay the same and he had to allow God's plan to be fulfilled in his life in order to bring change that lasts. It didn't always go as he prayed it would, but he knows he is successful due to God's interventions.
So what do we do when the storms come? (YES, they will come) How often do we trust Him and rest in complete confidence that HE is in control? It's really hard not to "worry just a little" and give complete control to God. How much harder for those with mental illness problems?
I was surprized that the statistic is 1 in 4 Canadians suffer with some form of mental illness (50% of that number with schizophrenia) - wow - that's a lot of people + their family members + friends and acquaintances trying to support them. It's pretty hard for any of us to NOT be in contact with at least 1 person, some dealing with multiple situations.
GOD is bigger than ALL we have to deal with - personally or within family relationships or from a distance. There is HOPE. There is a LIGHT that can lead them out of darkness. Seek out support until you find it. It may not always come from the source you expect, but God will not abandon you!!! DO NOT GIVE UP!! It always seems darkest before the storm breaks.
"No Shame - No Blame." Take the medication that helps you. No one would just stop taking insulin, or even suggest it. It is a deficient chemical needing to be supplimented. Would you criticize a diabetic for developing that condition? Of course not.
PRAY for those dealing with these issues AND those supporting them. They often deal with frustration, anger, and weariness. God brings us hope in our weaknesses - ALL areas of weakness.
One thing they emphasized today - Focus on their strengths (what they CAN do) and not be preoccupied with all they can't do. That's so true for ALL of us. God always encourages us and calls us higher. He wants to lift us OUT of the mire - out of our "pit" - to live in the inheritance HE has provided for us. It's not something we can achieve on our own - it's through HIM working IN us - HIS strength in our weakness.
Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Overall I was encouraged through this conference. It is soooo needed to bring the faith community and the mental health sector together - for mutual understanding and to learn to work together. May God strengthen each of us to walk out the path HE has laid before us.
Selah Y

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Thinking Blogger Award

WOW. Thank you to Rhonda for "thinking" of my blog! I have only been blogging for a short time, but I LOVE it! I didn't want to just journal my thoughts, I wanted to share things that readers would "pause and think about." We are bombarded every day from so many directions. I want to share some of the things I am pondering that are (hopefully) honouring to God and worth thinking about.
I also want to express special thanks to Cheryl for inviting me to start this blog as part of the 21 Day Reformation . Both Cheryl and Rhonda helped me to get up and running. Their blogs continue to provide encouragement and LOTS to think about. Congratulations - I agree - both of you (& Jen!!) deserve the Thinking Blogger Award!!
For those who have been tagged, the Participation Rules are simple:
1. If, and only if, you are tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme
3. Optional: Proudly display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote.

It has been hard to choose 5 fav blogs. I could choose blogs all within my friends (a fantastic group), but I have chosen some from outside our circle as well in order to share other "Thinking Bloggers" that I have discovered - thus expanding our circle.
Here are my 5 nominees (in no particular order). I have enjoyed checking in regularly to "think" on their posts. Please visit all of them and check them out!
1. Light For the Writer's Soul by Victoria Gaines: I check in every day to read her posts. She includes inspiring quotes and great writing tips & links. She also has a devotional blog to check out.
2. Writer Quotes: Lots of great quotes to get you "thinking"! On the day I am tagging her, she has posted that she will not be continuing. Even so, I am still nominating this blog. There's lots to search in the archives. (Maybe we can encourage her to continue!!)
3. 21 Day Reformation: Always challenging us to allow God to "reform" an area of our lives over a 21 day period. Check in and see what God is stirring up this week. (Even though it's already been tagged, it is worth tagging again in case someone misses the other link.)
4. Laced with Grace: Wonderful devotionals - always challenging us to go deeper. Why not ponder a few?
5. Confessions of a Redeemed Diva: Another new blogger, but LOTS to keep you thinking. Love your enthusiasm Holly!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Busyness is NOT a Spiritual Gift

"Busyness is not a spiritual gift."
From an interview with
~ Lisa Harper ~
Busy, Busy, Busy… wait… maybe I can fit you in next week. :o)

Does this describe your schedule? Busyness is NOT a spiritual gift!! God has not called us to cram as much as we can into each day. Yes, He has called us to serve, but we can be so busy serving that we forget WHO we are to be serving – GOD Himself.

Matthew 11:29-30 (NIV) says, “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."

I like it even better in The Message: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

He does not want us to be so burdened down with serving that we actually become a slave to it. Servanthood is not to be slavery; we are not to be driven to exhaustion trying to serve God. Instead, we are to serve Him as He leads us, with a willing and glad heart, confident that He will not require more from us than we are able to give.

Being “a slave to Christ” refers to ownership – He has paid the price for our freedom and now we “belong” to Him. It does not infer that Jesus is our Master and we are His slaves. Slaves have no choice, no option as to whether to obey. We do. The Old Testament refers to “hard taskmasters” – this does NOT describe our relationship with God.

Jesus came to give us “rest for our souls.” John 10:10 (KJV) says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I (Jesus) am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

More abundant does not mean “the ability and/or energy to do more things.” The Message says it is “so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” The thief wants to steal, kill, and destroy – this includes stealing our time, killing our relationships, and destroying our health. That doesn’t sound like an easy yoke or a light burden, does it?

God has given us many gifts, but He wants us to ask for His guidance in how and when we are to use them – for Him. 1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV) says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
God gives us the strength and ability to accomplish what HE has called us to do. Answer His call and then follow HIS leading. Be busy doing what HE is asking of you.

For more on "Busyness," read my post: God’s Pace

Selah Y

Please visit Fruit in Season, this week's hostess for more “In Other Words” posts.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Reformation - a Personal Connection

"The Reformation" began with Martin Luther seeing changes needed in the church of his time (1517). This was not achieved easily. I have the DVD movie, "Luther" (newer version) and there is a scene in it that has stuck with me. After Luther had his revelation that "the just will live by Faith" (Romans 1:17) and "we are saved by grace, not works" (Ephesians 2:5-6), he made a public declaration of his findings (nailing them to the door). He also wrote the Hymn: "A Mighty Fortress is Our God."

Martin made a stand on his beliefs and would not back down. It caused uproar and conflict in the church. This "revolution" caused a revolt and much bloodshed, many dying for their new found revelation. Luther was shocked and discouraged - Why can't they just accept it? Here's the line: "Did you think it would be accomplished without a cost?"

It did cost them, and dearly, but how could they go back? He stood before the Emperor of the German provinces and said, "Unless therefore, I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture... I cannot and will not retract... Here I stand, I can do no other. So help me God, Amen." The Protestant Reformation was birthed and it spread throughout the provinces and across Europe. Over the years, the princes or rulers of the provinces either embraced it, or tried to crush it.

During a period of persecution, some of these protestants were offered an opportunity to relocate in the New World under British rule. They were guarenteed freedom to worship and a new beginning. They grabbed it. From 1749-1752, a total of 1,615 "Foreign Protestants" from Gemany, Montbeliard (a french province) and Swizerland traveled by ship to Halifax, NS. In 1753, they founded their own community: Lunenburg, NS. These were some of my ancestors - descendants of the original Reformation. This is a valued part of my Christian heritage.

Life was not easy, but freedom was worth the cost. Can you say the same? What would you "give up" in order to have freedom to worship God? He may not ask you to move physically, but is He asking you to "re-move" something that has hindered you from worshipping Him as you could? Today is the beginning of another 21 Day Reformation: "An Army of Women on a Reformation." In these next 21 days, let GOD reform an area of your life. It will not be without cost, but it will be worth it!

Selah Y

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Busy-ness (Victoria Gaines)

I really like what Victoria wrote in her post "Teach Us to Number our Days"

Has life for you become frantic and exhausting? Stop and assess. Are you overworked? Overcommitted? Overwhelmed?

This week I asked myself these questions:

- Do I take time to deepen my relationship with God on a daily basis?
- Do any of my activities hinder me from living out my calling?
- Do I spend enough time with friends and family?
- Do I take time for renewal and relaxation?

How about you? Pray and modify your schedule where needed. Ask the Lord to show you how to live the life He intends you to live. Never mind what others are doing.

“So teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom.” ~Psalm 90:12 (ESV)

“Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!”~ Psalm 90:17 (ESV)

It is so, so easy to be overwhelmed with busy-ness. There are so many things that we feel MUST be done now and it all takes TIME!! God has a timetable that doesn't always align with ours. We need to ask Him each day -"What do YOU want me to do today?"

Thank you, Victoria. These are very vital questions. Their answers will definately influence how we walk in God's peace and fulfill His calling for us. Very practical steps. God help us with our answers

Selah Y

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Reward or Sacrifice

"If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor,
how can a commission by a Heavenly King
be considered a sacrifice?" ~ David Livingstone ~
Consider in days of old when a noble hero would engage in a quest for his king and kingdom. It was an honour to be chosen for the mission. Not just anyone could go and achieve this task. Many failed. The victor would later be rewarded and honoured before the whole kingdom – usually knighted as recognition for his/her service. This title remained for the rest of their lives – honoring them for their deeds – constantly reminding all of their service.

Is it the same in God’s kingdom? God may call us to accomplish a specific task. We do feel “honoured” to be chosen, but we must allow Him to prepare and strengthen us for the journey ahead. Then with His guidance and in His timing, we will succeed – triumphing over anything the enemy brings our way. Victories in Him! :o)

Do we then expect to be rewarded by God? Do we want payment for our services rendered? If we pursue a reward, then we will not receive our reward in heaven – we will have spent it here prematurely (Matthew 6).

Some seek for the rewards of recognition and honour, but we are called to serve humbly and not for the fanfare of this world. This is contrary to our sense of “fairness.” Some say, “Surely God will reward us for our faithfulness.” He does, but not in the ways most would expect. We are to allow Him to bring honour in His way – not exalt ourselves. After all, it is for His glory and in His power that we accomplish anything at all of value for His kingdom.

Remember the widow who gave all she had? She was commended and recognized by Jesus – honoured. She did not seek to be honoured – no, she gave quietly with no fanfare. She gave the equivalent to 2 pennies, but He said that she gave the most because she gave all she had. She sacrificed and she was honoured.

We are to serve God without expecting to be “reimbursed” for our service, no more than we would expect our children or spouse to pay us for every little thing we did for them. We serve them out of a heart of love, not for expected rewards.

It is a motivation or heart issue. How much will we risk for the quest? Will we give all for His request? Will we only serve gauged by the amount of the reward? Will we serve if we get “this much” reward and no less? How selfish. How sad. I am not saying that those in full-time ministry should never be paid. Yes, we do have to cover costs and expenses and they do need to make a living – but not above reasonable wages. Otherwise we are taking for ourselves what could be invested in God’s kingdom.

King David said he would not give a sacrifice that did not cost him something. Otherwise it is not your sacrifice. You have not given of yourself.

It is an honour to serve God and fulfill what He has planned for us, but we do it for Him, not because we are motivated by any reward that may come. When we sacrifice all to give to our Heavenly King, we give it out of our love for Him. Our gift to Him is our sacrifice to Him.

Selah Y
Please visit Laurel, this week's hostess for more In "Other" Words.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

My Easter Gift

Our Easter morning began with a light covering of snow. On the way into our church, I found a fuzzy little caterpillar. :o) April in Ontario should be warm and snow a fading reality. My furry little friend was a reminder that YES spring is here, even if it doesn't always look or feel like it."

Crawling along the walkway, he was totally oblivious to how vulnerable he really was. Soon he would have been in danger of being squashed as people began to arrive for our morning service. I scooped him up and took him in for "Show & Tell" to the 4/5 yr old class. I love watching little ones as they are amazed by God's creation. (YES, I believe bugs and insects are interesting!)

I switched him into a stryofoam cup and it was really interesting to watch how people reacted as they "saw what was in my cup." Most kids thought he was "cool," but the adults had mixed reactions - some jumped back and weren't impressed at all (I really wasn't trying to "scare" them), while others didn't seem to understand why I was so excited. Some thought I found him in my coffee!!

Easter has many symbols. It is significant that we celebrate it in the spring at the launch of a new season with "new life" popping up everywhere - a time for new beginnings!! Easter is a celebration of Jesus' Resurrection. The butterfly is a perfect analogy for us. The lowly caterpillar enters his own little "tomb" and essentially "dies" (we never again see him as he was). Then he "resurrects" into a beautiful butterfly - free and able to fly to new heights that were never before possible or even imagined.

We are like that little caterpillar - crawling along - oblivious to the reality all around us. Jesus scoops us up and gives us a new beginning - new life! Then we are NEVER the same again. He redeems us - no matter what our life was like before. A new creation!! HE gives us a freedom we couldn't imagine possible. Because of Calvary, we will never be "caterpillars" again. What better reason to celebrate: HE has RISEN and HE is ALIVE!!

I released my little Easter friend in the grass where there was no chance of him being stepped on. He was free to continue his journey. Then I thanked God for my Easter gift from HIM. The reminder that no matter what things look like, WE ARE HIS REDEEMED!! Some days don't look like spring, but spring IS here. There are times that we don't feel like butterflies, but the reality is - we are no longer caterpillars - HE has set us FREE!!

He paid the ultimate price for us - Walk in His Freedom.

Selah Y

Wednesday, April 4, 2007


One of the benefits of joining our "Blogging Circle" has been discovering other Christian Blogs. Victoria Gaines is an author I have enjoyed reading. Today's post on one of her sites goes along with our theme:

Within her post was this quote by A.W. Tozer: "Was it not Voltaire who said that some people were like insects, they would never be noticed except that they sting? A traveler must make up his mind to go on regardless of the insects that make his trip miserable.... One thing is certain, a Christian's standing before God does not depend upon his standing before men. A high reputation does not make a man dearer to God, nor does the tongue of the slanderer influence God's attitude toward His people in any way. He knows us each one, and we stand or fall in the light of His perfect knowledge."
As we continue our journey to "watch what we say," isn't it interesting how we are becoming more aware of what others are saying too? It's like being fine tuned. Criticism can be like a sting to the heart - a wound, not harsh enough to be life threatening, but piercing and annoying. (Ever tried to sleep in the room with a mosquito? Then suffer the consequence of contact - itching all night!!)

Look at the word "Criticism" - do you see the word critic staring back at you? WOW. Interesting how it is hidden in there. Don't even hear it when we say the word. Do we have the right to be the critic in someone else's life? I think that is God's position to "judge" their hearts and actions. After all, HE truly is the only One who is really able to make that "judgement" perfectly, not us with our limited perspective (and limited mercy!).

There are sooo many scriptures warning us against judging others. I like Tozer's last line: He knows us each one, and we stand or fall in the light of HIS PERFECT knowledge. Thank God we can stand secure in Him - the One who KNOWS our heart inside and out - the Lover of our soul!!

Lord, guard us against judgements. Help us to see others as YOU see them. Let Your mercy flow through us.

Selah Y
(at the end of Day 3)