From The Heart

July 3rd, 2011

I came across this (very old) poem which I think is perfect for this week.  Are you going through trials and wonder why - what purpose your suffering is accomplishing?  Perhaps these words will give you some hope and insight. 

God Meant It Unto Good (Gen. 50:20) 

"God meant it unto good" - O blest assurance,
Falling like sunshine all across life's way,
Touching with Heaven's gold earth's darkest storm clouds,
Bringing fresh peace and comfort day by day.

'Twas not by chance the hands of faithless brethern
Sold Joseph captive to a foreign land;
Nor was it chance which, after years of suffering,
Brought him before the monarch's throne to stand.

One Eye all-seeing saw the need of thousands,
And planned to meet it through that one lone soul;
And through the weary days of prison bondage
Was working towards the great and glorious goal.

As yet the end was hidden from the captive, 
The iron entered even to his soul;
His eye could scan the present path of sorrow,
Not yet his gaze might rest upon the whole. 

Faith healed not through those long, dark days of waiting, 
His trust in God was recompensed at last, 
The moment came when God led forth his servant
To succour many, all his sufferings past. 

"It was not you but God, that sent me hither," 
Witnessed, triumphant faith in after days;
"God meant it unto good," no "second causes"
Mingled their discord with his song of praise.


"God meant it unto good" for thee, beloved,
The God of Joseph is the same today;
His love permits afflictions strange and bitter,
His hand is guiding through the unknown way.

Thy Lord, who sees the end from the beginning,
Hat purposes for the of love untold. 
Then place thy hand in His and follow fearless, 
Till thou the riches of His grace behold.

There, when thou standest in the Home of Glory,
And all life's path lies open to thy gaze, 
Thine eyes shall SEE the hand which now thou trustest,
And magnify His love through endless days. 

by Freda Hanbury Allen.


June 29, 2011

I was searching my heart for what to provide here this week and it came to me very clearly that this post was meant for someone else.  I woke this morning knowing I needed to phone Kaye.  Kaye has been part of our Osoyoos Christian Centre for over thirty years and is a real prayer warrior so who better to provide this week's post, being she's been praying over our church, community and country faithfully?  Here is the message Kaye provided: 

Here we are again and Canada Day is upon us.

I remember as a child going to my school assembly and sing “God Save the King” (it was the king in those days) and to sing O Canada.  How my heart would swell with pride to be called a Canadian.   How very sad we are no longer allowed such a great privilege. We are no longer allowed to say the Lord’s prayer in our public schools anymore. 

Let us remember that this nation was founded on the blood, sweat and tears by our ancestors.  We are so blessed to have been born in this great nation.  On Canada day, let us look to the hills and thank our almighty God that we have the freedom to love and serve Him as we choose. 

Have a blessed Canada Day! 

~ Kaye Harkness, 2011

Thanks Kaye, for that wonderful reminder.  And now, I would like to share some song lyrics by a group called His Season (who no longer seems to be around anymore)  I think they sum it up beautifully along with Kaye's Message. Click on the arrow to listen to the song!


Let our nation sing to the King of Kings
Let our people pray to the Lord today

May the anthem of my country be pleasing God to Thee
From sea to shining sea let the worshipers agree
That the Lord of the Heavens is the Lord who reigns in me
From sea to shining sea let the worshipers agree

O Canada let the worshipers agree
O Canada living God reign in me
O Canada we stand on guard for Thee
O Canada

Let our nation sing to the King of Kings
Let our people pray to the Lord today

May the citizens and leaders ever stand on guard for Thee
From sea to shining sea let the worshipers agree
May we trust in the living God to keep us glorious and free
From sea to shining sea let the worshipers agree

O Canada let the worshipers agree
O Canada living God reign in me
O Canada we stand on guard for Thee
O Canada


June 22, 2011

Confessing is a Blessing!
Surely it couldn’t have been me who was short with my husband today – not today when he was already under pressure with today being graduation at his school.  Could I have been this insensitive, even when he blessed me by taking time out of his busy morning to order something for me I’ve been hoping for?

Ephesians 4:29  (NIV)
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,
but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs,
that it may benefit those who listen.

Proverbs 15 
  A gentle answer turns away wrath,
   but a harsh word stirs up anger.

And it couldn’t have been me who cut off a friend  when I was in a hurry when she was trying to show me something, and then I gave my attention to someone else, because that would have been rather rude of me.  I would expect her to pay undivided attention to me if I was showing her something...
Luke 6:31 (NIV) 
 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Proverbs 17:17  (NIV)
 A friend loves at all times,
   and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

It had to be someone else who did not budget enough time to spend in “the word today”, allowing other things to get in the way... certainly I have better control over my daily schedule than that.  I know that I need to read my bible every day.
Romans 10:17 (NIV)
 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message,
and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

And it must have been somebody else who made blanket judgements in their mind about someone else’s lifestyle or habits and how it made sense to me to live differently.  No, that would have been pretty presumptuous and arrogant of me.  (as if my life is so perfect?)
 Matthew 7:1-5 (NIV)
 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
For in the same way you judge others,
you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
    “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Yes, I failed you today, Lord, and I admit to this knowing at the time.  And each time I sinned I pulled a little further away from You  -  and You deserve so much more.  And I could tell you right now that I won’t sin tomorrow but that would be another sin in itself, for I am weak.  So I’m confessing my flaws to You and asking forgiveness.  I pray you’ll keep me accountable so I don’t lead others astray.   Thank You for loving me so much that You died for my sins.  Help me die a little too, each day – for you.  When You hung on that cross You knew that despite my very best intentions, all my finest efforts that I’ll still manage to use You and abuse You and yet I’ll never lose you.  When I confess – You bless.  I will to seek and be meek.   I shall gird with Your Word.  Thank You Father!  Your mercies are new every morning.  Amen!



I was given a small gift recently and it really meant a lot to me.  For some reason, reading the "I Love You" on the package made me "tear up" with emotion.  I was inspired to write the following poem:

The Gift

Something I didn’t  anticipate
Nothing was alluded to
But it seemed all of a sudden
I was was blessed with a gift from you
I will not name just what it was
Not color, size – nor use
A gift given “Just Because”
For me – how did you choose?

A gift of eternal treasure
That will give back forever more
And which fills my spirit with pleasure
That was never here before.

Your gift came at personal cost
Not in monetary means but in sacrifice
That I gained what you lost
Such a loving device

You gave to me so that I may know
Just how very much you care
That though my life is “to and fro”
That you are always there

No matter how your gift was wrapped
How it was presented to me
That I should look past all the pretty trappings
For if I look beyond I see...

‘Twas not the gift itself
That touched me deeply within
No, though your gift was wonderful
It was not about the wherein

I must confess that what touched me so
What has changed my life forever
And remains within an ember glow
And makes think of you whenever...

Is the tiny tag – the sentiment
That was written upon your thoughtful gift
Three small words that said it all
Gave me an internal heart shift

The words you wrote
Instead of a blank note
It meant “There’s nothing I would not do”

Thank you for your precious words
That show your kind thought of me
Today, tomorrow and forever
Your words have set me free
Thank you for reminding me
It’s not the “what” that is the gift one gives
For things of the world become debris
But the thoughtfulness forever lives

When you package a gift with Godly love
It matters not the thing you present
For this act becomes something to be in awe of
And becomes a blessed event

When you choose to give of yourself
A token to say “I care”
Then you be assured that in this loving spirit
That  God is surely there.

~ Barb Derksen


June 8, 2011

What you wanted - was it what you needed?

credit: pixaio @
I was thinking of food lately.  Ok, I think of food often.  I like to cook and enjoy eating at restaurants.  I consider myself somewhat adventurous when it comes to trying to please my palette.  Now I won’t go so far as to admit I’d not be squeamish to try bugs or things like this, but I do step out of my tongue’s comfort zone at times. 
So I was thinking about food, restaurants and my most recent restaurant experience.  My in-laws were visiting and they took us across the border and treated us to lunch.  The name of the place is “Fat Boys”.  Hummm... does this name influence your thinking on what might be served here?    Let me first say that the food here is delicious.  Everything is tasty and there is lots of it to taste, and the prices are reasonable.    So for an occasional visit it’s a fun place to eat.   I think we ate there a total of three times during my parent’s visit. 
I love looking through the menu and finding things I’ve never heard of – like “Pugs”   I think that much of the menu consists of deep fried items and I always try them because deep frying is something I never do at home.  When I go out, I GO OUT!   And I enjoy it totally but after the third time of gorging there it got me thinking the following thought:
What if... what if when we ordered food we did not get exactly what we ordered but instead got what was GOOD for us?  What if we ordered fries and we got baked fries?  (Well, I could handle that and probably would like or prefer it – it would not deviate too far from what I wanted in the first place and knowing it was better for me would compensate.)  But what if, we were substituted with salad?  Salad with no dressing?   Or nothing at all?
Now my first reaction would be “well, I’ll just go to another restaurant”   But what if all restaurants began to change our orders from what we wanted into whatever was good for us? 
Bear with me while I take another tack. 
credit: kurhan @

Same goes for our doctor's visits.

When we go to the doctor and we have a conversation with him/her and they in turn examine and diagnose us and in the end we are provided with recommendations and prescriptions.  Now often the recommendations are actually life-choices which are completely beneficial to us but perhaps we do not want to hear.  For example, we are sure to hear things like:
  • Exercise regularly
  • Lose weight
  • Get more rest
  • Eat healthy
credit: michaelaw@

But the thing is – we live in a world of free choice, and often these recommendations go in one ear and out the other and in the end we basically tell the doctor what we want to do or what we are willing to do and these two things do not look the same as what is for our good.  How very frustrating it must be for our physicians who see us making poor choices and having their hands tied.  Why are we always looking for a “magic pill” to cure us of ailments?  Why do we work very hard to not work at taking control of our health?  
I believe it is because we are human and though we can make some basic choices which we know are good for ourselves, we often either flagrantly choose to deny these choices or we ignore them.  And then we complain about the consequences of our poor choices.  And we expect our Lord to “pick up the pieces” or even worse, blame Him for allowing the consequences. 
So my question is this:
What if the doctor would tell us what to do instead of suggest what we could do?  What if they made us do what is GOOD for us instead of what we are willing to do?  What if they were given authority to make us do what was good? 
What if we were willing to listen and obey rather than order and demand?   What if we intentionally made choices that were good for us? 
My thinking about choices leads me to prayer requests.  When we pray do we do the same thing?  Do we make our petitions to the Lord for what we want rather than for what He wants for us?  For what we desire rather than what is GOOD for us?  Do we trust in His authority as the “great physician”?  Do we ask Him for one thing but only accept the things we exactly asked for?  Do we recognise that what’s best for us often does not look anything like what we asked for?  Do we accept that answered prayer sometimes can only be viewed as an answer LATER ON, upon looking backwards? 
Why don’t we practice praying for what’s BEST for us this week? 
Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
We need to trust in the Lord rather than ourselves and be willing to listen to those who give us advice we know is good for us. 
We need to GROW UP!
1 Corinthians 13:11
11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
Perhaps when we were children we could justify our thinking but we are adults and as such must never allow ourselves to give in to ourselves.   We cannot be so naive and stupid as to lie to ourselves about what we are responsible for in our lives.  We grow out of the "hand holding" we needed as children.  We can no longer get away with giving in to our carnal senses.  Not only do we fool ourselves, we may lead others astray by our example.  Where is our witness to others in the choices we make? 
credit: Billy @
So, the next time I eat at a restaurant, I might not make a choice that is not so healthy for me – if I go there only once, but should I find myself there a few times over (I should be so fortunate to be treated out that many times in a row!)   - then I hope I’ll have the wisdom to make better choices.  When I take the recommendations my doctor prescribes I hope I will accept some  lifestyle changes rather than ignoring his/her valuable advice and therefore make their job harder!  
More importantly, when I pray I will try to pray with a “listening heart” for what the Lord wants for me instead of just what I want.  For I know His plan for me is much better for me than what I could ever choose.  I will pray for the wisdom to accept what I am given – knowing its the BEST thing for my (eternal) life.


June 2, 2011

Be Still!
Anyone who knows me could say with confidence that I am high-energy, always doing something.  I have a difficult time just sitting still and even then I am either multi tasking or listening to something or creating with my hands – or working or working out.  It is tough for me to stand still.  I find myself restless and jumpy when I strip all stimuli from my environment.  It does not take me long to become antsy after a short time of being still. 
And yet…
When I am still it is always where I meet the Lord.  Just as in the words of the Hymn “I Come To The Garden Alone”  (video by Alan Jackson and lyrics follow this post)  I find that its only until I’ve consciously extracted myself from all distraction that I commune with the Lord on the highest level. 
I’ve come to realize that making quiet time before our Father is an act of worship and my reward for being obedient, for carving out time of undistracted conversation and prayer with Him is that I enter into a closeness that cannot be achieved when I allow my mind, my senses and my spirit to be disquieted by my surroundings.  In our noisy world it has become very difficult to draw away from it all.  Perhaps how hard it is to draw away is directly in proportion to how honoring it is to God when we do get to this intimate place.  For its only in this place, where we can be alone with Him, that His voice is singled out from among all the chorus of voices we have pulling at us.  And HIS voice is the only one that has the power to guide us. 
Psalm 46:10
New International Version (NIV)
He says, Be still, and know that I am God;
   I will be exalted among the nations,
   I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord is clearly telling us two things in this passage – to Be Still – in our body and in our minds. I believe that we are to take His words and to meditate on them so they are sewn deep in our hearts.  I interpret also this to mean that He wants to be alone with me, too!  In the very next breath He says “and know that I am God” and that is all I really need to know.  When I know that God is with me then everything else makes sense.  I can trust that He is on my side.  Yes, I need to get out into the garden – especially when I don’t think I have time for that. 
When I quell my unruly spirit and become still before Him I stop worrying about what the rest of the world is doing – even when it appears that others might have all the “short-cuts” to success.  There are a million self-help books available today and everyone has an opinion on how to run your life, but God assures us there is only one who has authority in our lives – the author Himself!  His word says:
Psalm 37:7
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him; fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.
As I searched the Bible to seek why the Lord encourages us to “be still” I have discovered that He brings us to this place of inertia to demonstrate His power to its fullest.  As in the following passage:
Zechariah 2:7-10
 “Come, Zion! Escape, you who live in Daughter Babylon!”  For this is what the LORD Almighty says: “After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations that have plundered you—for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye— I will surely raise my hand against them so that their slaves will plunder them.  Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me.
 “Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,” declares the LORD. “Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you. The LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem.  Be still before the LORD, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.”
It is only when we are still that we can focus our entire attention and spirit upon Him.  I  believe nothing that goes on around us has any bearing on our lives unless we are living intentional lives of Faith in Him.  Without first surrendering our flesh and spirit to the Lord, everything we say and do here on earth means nothing.  Do you understand that He waits for you and me to get alone with him to talk about what direction our lives should be lived in?  Do you and I miss these precious invitations to converse with our Father because we are (with all best intentions) busy with the tangible, hard-copy things of our day to day? 
Ah yes we do!  Because let’s face the fact that it’s hard to pull the rug on every single thing that we can physically and mentally rely on, which we therefore believe we can control, and to allow ourselves to fully, completely and willingly rely on that which is in the spiritual realm.  That which God has for us – which is oh, so much better for us!   A perfect example is the following:
Mark 4:35-41
New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Calms the Storm
 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.”  Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.  A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.  Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Can you imagine yourself on the boat?  Now remember that before we boarded this boat Jesus preached and gave us all sorts of parables of faith – teaching and instructing so that we would know that God is in control – and still…
Can you feel the heave of the boat as it heaved and buckled in the waves?  Can you feel the cold, rude splash as the waves tossed water into the boat?  Can you hear the wind as it whipped the water to a froth?   Do you feel yourself blushing and in wonder when Jesus, who had to be woken from a nap during all this, in a few simple words tamed the waters?  Embarassed that we got more worked up about what was going on around us than believing in knowing and trusting that He would see us safely across to the other side?  This after just having Him demonstrate in parables the need for us to have faith.  Almost as if this were “the test” right after the lesson .
Jesus clearly uses the creation of a stillness of the water to demonstrate that He not only has control of the entire universe and it’s workings, but that He has complete control over us too – and He can get that much closer to us when we kick away all the earthly things we use for support.   Instead we need to rely  fully His being. 
I can’t know where your life is at right now.  You might be in a storm.  You probably have countless distractions – some good, some not so good but these things are receiving attention because we allow them to.  This attention belongs to the Lord.  We need to give up our physical time and concentration to make time to be alone with Him.  We might think we can “hear” His voice at times but we must absolutely know that He hears us, and then we need to rely on that fact and act out our in faith that He by allowing him to guide us, for the Bible tells us that He will order our steps as they should be.  
Be Still: 
To be away from the world, thus closer to Him
  • To take away all your earthly “crutches” and cause yourself to fully lean on the Lord
  • To trust in the Lord, not on yourself
  • To allow space in your heart and mind for an infilling of the Holy Spirit
  • To establish a safe and quiet place, like “the garden” where you can meet with the Lord with no distraction
  • To worship Him with your obedience in quiet reflection. 

May you find your "garden" this week!

I Come To The Garden Alone
I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.

May 25th, 2011

Stop Comparing!

In a novel I’m reading at the moment, one of the characters advises another to “stop idealizing other people because by doing this she will always pale in comparison.” 

I love little bits of wisdom like this for they always get me thinking about how God created each and every one of us to be unique – complete with our flaws etc. 

Psalm 139
13 For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

4 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

5 My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place,

when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;

all the days ordained for me were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

I know this is a familiar passage to most of us but I think we take the full meaning of it for granted.  Have you ever imagined how He did not just make one master template of us – something He was pleased with and then just replicated it over and over.  This would have been the simple and easy thing to do.  By making everyone the exact same it would also make His job easier because if we were all the very same we would be predictable.  Instead, He took us, His precious creations and He gave each and every one of us a unique personality, unique talents, individual tastes and likes and dislikes.  He made us endlessly different.  I can’t help but believe this is His way to express His love to us. 

He gives us gifts and talents to be used to Glorify and Evangelize so that others may come to know Him.  Our gifts and talents were not really created to amuse or entertain us – they are used to draw us closer to Him – USE YOUR GIFTS!

Ephesians 4
1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it[a] says:
“When he ascended on high,

he took many captives

and gave gifts to his people.”

9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions[c]? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

 Have you ever considered that we can create all we want... but if there is nobody to SEE, or hear or enjoy what we create then it is nothing?  We were given our gifts and talents to SHARE with others.

And you know, wherever God does good – gives us a gift like this for good, the enemy can also use it to exploit us.  In this instance it’s like the character in the novel – we allow ourselves to take the focus off of ourselves and discovering what God gave us that is special and unique and can set us apart and use for the Glory of Him, and we instead look to what we don’t have!  We look at someone else and long for what they have, though it may never have been intended for us. 

Now I am not saying we should not try new things – that if someone we know has a talent or gift and it appeals to us that we at least try it.  That is sometimes how we discover that we have a hidden gift we did not know about.  But, if we try something and it’s just not working and not productive, if it becomes a frustration and it is not for the Good of God, then we must be wise enough to know when to stop investing in that certain thing.  If we do not draw a line it can turn into an addiction. 

The enemy delights in finding ways to have us envy others for the gifts and talents of others.  He works very hard to destroy relationships in this way.   The enemy walks to and fro ceaselessly and tries to goad us into wanting to have things which were rightfully apportioned to others.  He creates jealousy among us and causes us to turn loving healthy relationships with others into hatred and greed and division.  The bible tells us:

Ephesians 4
2526 “In your anger do not sin”[d]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
27 and do not give the devil a  foothold.
28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own
 hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,
but only what is helpful for building others up according to
 their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

We need to train ourselves to push aside what we cannot do, and to welcome what others do.  Think of it this way.  If we all had the exact same talents and gifts very little would ever get accomplished, and if everyone were doing the same things there would not be anything to compare it to.  We need to value what individual thing we were given and to celebrate what others were given to do. 

You will never be someone else – celebrate YOU and walk in the confidence the Author of your life has a specific job for you right here, right now!   If you look at someone else today with a talent or gift, why not pray for them today – that their talent will be used to further the Kingdom of God, recognise them for their works and let them know you appreciate their gift.  By doing this you will break any hold the enemy may hold on your relationship with this person.



S -Stay put!   When life gets difficult one of our first instincts is to move, to flee.  Even animals have the “flight or fight” desire but God gave us minds which can be masters over our bodies.  We have the ability to overcome the adrenaline rush to take stock of what our situation is and then after prayer and careful consideration move forward with confidence.   This does not mean you should stay in unhealthy situations, but you should not jump from the “frying pan into the fire” and thus either avoid taking your state of affairs to the Lord.  Stand still long enough to know you’re not just reacting to the predicament you are in at the moment.

T – Talk!  We were created to live within a body of believers, brothers and sisters.  Every situation we face impacts others in our lives.  When facing major decisions we need to be objective about what we are going through – talking to someone else gives us balance because they can see what we cannot!  Stand with believers in your life and invite them to weigh in.  Take what they say and give it objective consideration. 

A – Ask!  Ask God into your situation.  Of course He is the author of your life but He also allows us to make choices.  If you fail to ask God to be your compass you may end up in a destination far from where you should be.  Set aside specific prayer time and allow time to either clearly hear what He has to say or to place your trust fully in the unknown destination He has for you knowing His plan is being worked out.   Stand still in prayer and allow God some absolute solitude in this world noise and chaos.  This takes some doing these days. 
N – Never give up!  The enemy walks to and fro seeking every opportunity to plant seeds of doubt in your mind, to unsettle you, to divert your attention to things that draw you away from your divine purpose as appointed by God.  Never doubt, the Lord created you to fulfill His purpose.  No matter what your situation is today, know that you can count it as joy.  Not a dancing up and down celebration sort of joy but a deep joy of strength and confidence that you are in His hand and the enemy cannot touch you.  Ignore the pictures the enemy tries to paint in your mind.  Stand on His promise to prosper you!
D – Do not be afraid.  Allowing fear robs God.  Fear makes us make hasty choices.  Fear diverts us from making wise decisions.  Fear makes us see problems that are not really there, erodes our confidence,  eats away at our spiritual life.   Stand still – you are not standing alone, ever.   Close your eyes and know Jesus is standing right beside you.  HE is standing with you – now is YOUR opportunity to stand with Him!  He does not promise it will be easy – but he does promise victory in the only battle that counts.

Mark 13:13
Everyone will hate you because of my name. But whoever stands firm until the end will be saved.
Philippians 4:1
Therefore, my brothers and sisters whom I love and miss, who are my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord.
1 Timothy 3:13
Those who have served well gain a good standing and considerable confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
James 1:2
[ Stand firm ] My brothers and sisters, think of the various tests you encounter as occasions for joy.
James 1:12
Those who stand firm during testing are blessed. They are tried and true. They will receive the life God has promised to those who love him as their reward.
1 Peter 5:8-10
8 Be clearheaded. Keep alert. Your accuser, the devil, is on the prowl like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith. Do so in the knowledge that your fellow believers are enduring the same suffering throughout the world. 10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, the one who called you into his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will himself restore,empower, strengthen, and establish you.


May 3, 2011


A few weeks ago I mentioned that I am working my way through the “Simplify Your Life” workshop series by listening to an eight-part series of radio shows ( and reading the accompanying books as well.  This is a workshop which is meant to help you make your life simpler, something we all crave and is so elusive in this busy time.  I have been working through the first part which involves organizing my home.  The concept is to identify some key areas and then slowly work through each cupboard, drawer, closet – just one or two a day so that it’s not overwhelming. 

I’ve learned some important things during this first month.  Perhaps you’ve observed something that I have – it seems easier to clean someone else’s home than your own.  Somehow helping someone else get straightened around seems less complicated and requires less effort and can be sort of ... fun?  Tackling my own mess seems like drudgery and its kind of embarrassing to really face what four years can do to a person who loves to collect ‘neat stuff’. 

It has occurred to me that its so easy for us to get around these days that we are often tempted to be away from our homes, to neglect them.  And this harkens me back to a few posts when we were talking about relationships and how we often take more time to look after our homes and cars than we do our relationships.  So if our relationships are being neglected for our homes which are being neglected to other “good causes” ... its going to have to “give” somewhere.  God has blessed us with much, we need to look after what He’s given us!
Titus 2
3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
One thing I made myself do was to take ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of each day’s work.  I’ve posted these in a photo album on the internet which I share with close friends, family and a few other people who also have taken this challenge with me. (Its very encouraging to work with others who are doing the same thing,  for you really inspire each other!)  I cringed to share some of my storage areas etc, but was glad that I did because the before and after pictures were dramatic visual proof of what a bit of organizing can do.  My willingness to share, to expose my clutter and be vulnerable to critique opened up good conversations.   I received lots of great advice and some new ideas.   Isn’t this just like our lives?  If we are willing to “be real” with others, sure we may get hurt sometimes, but ultimately we also allow others to be comfortable as well – to share our imperfections with one another.  Its awfully hard to be around ‘perfect’ people – we fear we can’t measure up and often just avoid putting ourselves in that situation.  Its like that with sin too, isnt’ it?
The other thing that I learned is that I have a very difficult time “staying PUT!” to get my own home/life organized.   There are a thousand good causes to keep me busy outside the home – I could safely name many of them as worthy ministries, but some of these had become an avoidance of taking care of things at home.  I suppose I hoped that my husband would be able to help when he had time off but the fact of it is that at our time of life, with his own ministries as well, he has no time off.  Don’t get me wrong, he is completely willing to help, just unable to find the time.  When it all boiled down I realized that if I did not start working through this on my own, it simply will not get done. 
Its often like this – we simply rush out to help others.  (forgive me for this if I am making a broad, incorrect statement but I believe as women we have that “rescue” impulse that grabs us the moment a need reaches our ears and compels us to respond!)  Men seem to have the ability to assess the situation and take action after careful consideration.  Somehow, all these needs seem of far more importance than cleaning out my own closet or junk drawer. 
The thought occurred to me that this is all fine if one has the common sense or natural ability to balance keeping your own home neat and clean and helping others but when the balance is tipped too far one way or the other something or someone gets neglected.  And while we all need to be responders to some causes, especially when those around us suffer losses, get injured etc, the rest of the time we really need to make sure all is well at home.  Home, Marriage, family – these are all priorities because if things are not 100% at home then how can our ministries outside the home be effective?  I learned that making myself go through my own home, to devote the time it takes to get it in shape has taught me valuable lessons I will be able to use to mentor others.  It places value on my home life.  Being organised actually frees me up to help others with a clear conscience knowing my own family is looked after.  Besides, shouldn’t your own family enjoy a nice and clean home first... you know where I’m going here – if you know you’re having guests come for dinner you would definitely run around and make sure everything was nice – for them! 
Think of it this way as well – if you don’t look after yourself, ask yourself this – if you were injured tomorrow would your house be in order that someone could look after you easily in your own home?  Or would it mean someone would be left to deal with what you did not




If you know me then you know that I have a hobby making greeting cards.  When I first began making cards I did not have many supplies so I came up with the idea to clip bits off of discarded greeting cards because a) its recycling b) some of the sentiments and poems inside are beautiful and already formatted nicely and c) I LOVE to read what other people have written inside. I know, thats sort of strange but I have to tell you that the messages I find inside these cards (and inside some of the books I buy too) are little love letters and they inspire me.  I like to think of the people who wrote them and yes, I even pray for these people because their inscriptions give me clues about what's close to their heart.  It makes sense that if someone bought a card or book and then spent the time they invested into the inscription is something very important indeed! 

For example, this weekend I bought a book at a yard sale - The Women of Faith Daily Devotional.  Now I cannot fathom why someone would actually SELL this book because the inscription inside brings tears of joy to my eyes and then, tucked inside the cover was a card with a whole "conversation" between a couple going through some struggle in their relationship.  Today, I'll share these with you, that you might be inspired too!

Inside the cover of the book:

To the most AMAZING Mom,

     Thank you so much for everything!  Thanks for being my best friend and someone to look up to always.  I look up to you as a "Woman of Faith" and I can only hope and pray to be a light for Jesus just like you are! 

     Thanks for the tough love this Christmas!

Love you always,
Christmas 2003

Though I may never know Kaela and her mother they've touched my life through these words.  I wonder if the "tough love" Kaela spoke about re-shaped her life and if she too became a Woman of God because of the influence of her Mom who was bold enough to parent in a way that rather than chasing her daughter away instead drew her closer.  What a precious bond they must have.  I pray that their relationship today is a rich and rewarding one with their shared faith a firm foundation.  With this, I'll be sending emails out to our children today, to tell them how very much they bless our lives, what a privilege it is to be instrumental in parenting them.

Inside the card tucked in the cover:


     I long to be with you and I dearly miss you whenever we're apart.  Yet, I fail to make those moments count, and I fail to consistently make you happy.  I was so looking forward to see you come home last night, but I let my own mood get in the way of a happy reunion. 

     A simple disagreement escalated to deeper hurt and anger, and I totally see how I took us in that direction.  I know that our discussion today created more hurt and anger, however it made me realize that I'm not doing a good job of seeing us operating as "We". 

     Our disagreements are usually rooted in our individual and separate opinions.  I believe in "We" but I don't believe we've sat down to know what we want.   It seems that we individually know what we don't want, but I think we need to focus more on what we both want. 

     If we are both competitive and goal-oriented people, why don't we have more goals that we both want to reach?  There is so much I would like for us to have and live for, and I've been going about it in the wrong way.  I'm realizing just how much of a negative force I've been in our union.  But I'm also realizing that I can be more positive now that I understand this better about myself. 

      Nothing makes me happier than to see you happy, nothing hurts me more than realizing that I cause you to be so unhappy.  I pray that:

  1. You can forgive me daily for my shortcomings
  2. You can be patient and see how much I love you.
  3. You continue to believe in our relationship
     I believe that what happened today, happened for a reason, and GOD needed to give me greater insight.  I really believe that we need to have a better team approach to everything we do, and that team needs to be led by GOD. 

     I am sorry that I hurt you, today and in the past, but I believe we've had these experiences so that we can learn and move forward positively. 

     I love you too much to believe that this is not right and worth the time and energy,


You see what I mean?  I'm not sure when Kim and Jason faced this trial in their relationship, so my prayer for them is that they reconciled, aided by Jason's humbled heart and desire to preserve this precious relationship.  I pray that their bond is stronger than ever, God at the center.  And this makes me examine my relationship with my husband - to look carefully at it to see if there are any cracks or flaws I might be causing, and to catch them now, before they "spider" across the windshield - like when a small pebble hits it and if it's not looked after can wreck the entire windshield. 

So my question is this - if YOU were to write a card to Jesus today, what would your card say?  Why not pretend one and pour our your love/thanks/hopes/dreams/apologies etc to the most important relationship in your life?  


April 20, 2011

Let me first say - Shirley is a very humble and shy person and it took me some convincing to have permission to share this article with you.  Not one to draw attention to herself she was reluctant to think anyone might interpret this article as a "bragging" of her talents - I've assured her that all the GLORY is to God, our Father who has richly blessed her with the talents she's been given and that the purpose of this article is to share how God has used her talent as a ministry to those who have touched her life.

Last Saturday we were able to celebrate a milestone birthday for Shirley, one of our senior ladies who is well respected in our church.  Her daughter Ester organised this event and it was a precious time
indeed.  Shirley LOVES company, and so this was a perfectly lovely time for her.  We were able to share a few hours in her warm and welcoming home enjoying fellowship and of course, delicious home baked goodies and tea.  Her daughter made her a very beautiful cake - a fluffy, light bundt style cake, topped with chocolate drizzle and surrounded by fresh raspberries - Num!
Shirley has history at Osoyoos Christian Centre.  Her husband Rev. Ken Kubryn served as Pastor at Osoyoos Christian Centre from June 1988 to January 1994.  At that time they moved to minister at Kennewick, Washington where he served for 5 years while also working at a builders supply store.  The Lord called Ken home May 23rd, 2008.  While Ken pastored, Shirley often provided daycare for children and many were blessed by her tender care and ministry. 
A real highlight of Shirley's birthday party, which was attended by about a dozen of us (and don't you just LOVE the fellowship of our women - precious time with Sisters, especially when the Lord is invited in, spoken of freely and praised!) - a true highlight was Shirley being able to show us the beautiful quilts she has made.  Shirley's mother was a quilter, along with two sisters and so seeds of a talent which were later to be grown, were planted inside her soul.  As it often happens, her talent lay dormant for years until when sher grand-daughter, 8 years old at the time, asked her if she would make her a quilt.  Shirley, after considering that thought, agreed but requested the granddaughter would choose the theme.  That was no problem - some material with horse's heads was found in a local thrift store, about a dozen of them.  Shirley lovingly crafted her first quilt. That first quilt inspired another little girl, a family friend, to ask "her mommy to ask Shirley" if she might have a quilt made too - with animals and flowers on it.  That started the second quilt, featuring african animals on it - and after this a long line of quilts since then.

Shirley sews each of her quilts by hand, using only a hoop, thread and needle.  Her designs are completly her own, inspired by ideas she gathers from around her. Her designs are fresh, unique and the color combinations eye-catching. 

Many of Shirleys' quilts have been given to family members and also to people who Shirley's been led to give them to by a prompting on her heart.  I know some of these people have had health issues and
these quilts represent LOVE and COMFORT and CARING.  I'm sure as each person who has one is wrapped in the material, they are really wrapped in Shirley's love - and I KNOW that each person has been lovingly prayed over with each stitch. 

We thank God for Shirley and her talents - she truly is a Proverbs 31 woman for:
(various verses)
A good woman is hard to find,

   and worth far more than diamonds.

Her husband trusts her without reserve,

   and never has reason to regret it.

Never spiteful, she treats him generously

   all her life long.

She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,

   and enjoys knitting and sewing.

She senses the worth of her work,

   is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.

She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,

   diligent in homemaking.

She's quick to assist anyone in need,

   reaches out to help the poor.

Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.

   The woman to be admired and praised

   is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.

Give her everything she deserves!

   Festoon her life with praises! 

April 13, 2011

A Women's Challenge - Lets get ORGANIZED!
(subtitle) a FREE workshop with organizing pro - Marcia Ramslund

This might sound like an extra thing I'm challenging you to do, but really,  its not... I've begun to take part in a "series" - workshop which is not only about spring cleaning etc -it's about organizing your LIFE.   Because I've got so many varied things besides my household to look after, I need to get organized.  My Mother in Law visits in a month and its always my goal to have all that taken care of so that we can simply enjoy our time together.  So I decided to try out the "Simply Your Life" workshop series, available for FREE at  

Click HERE to go to Midday!

Click HERE to visit Marcia's website!

I'm loving it, so far its only doing a few, managable cupboards in the kitchen a day - I do it while I listen to the audio bible, worship music, or right after I do the dishes, and it takes less than 1/2 hour to do each cupboard.  I've been using my iphone to take before/after pics which I'm putting in a (private) web
album, but if you were to take part I might be bribed for an invite.  The photos are pretty dramatic and give me a great sense of satisfaction.

Another point to mention, as you learn to organize and downsize, this workshop teaches us the gift of GIVING away what we do not need - as a single, or in our Church groups. 

I'm extending an invitation to you - if you would like more information or for me to help set you up, just email me at


April 6, 2011


We all love to recieve gifts.  At our last two OCC Women's Sweet Nights we have had a gift exchange - nothing big mind you - each person was asked to spend no more than $5-$10, or hand make something or even bake something.  It turned out to be a whole lot of fun.  I've been thinking about this ever since and the question arose - why wouldn't anyone want a gift? 

So I passed the scenarios around in my head for a while and I thought that in the following instances I would not want to take a gift:

  • if it were an "I'm sorry" gift
  • if it were a gift from someone who I knew did not care for me
  • if it were a gift to "pay me off" to do something - a bribe
  • a gift given as an afterthought
Perhaps I'm being presumptuous here but I believe a gift should be something that is an physical token of affection, appreciation and genuine love.  Without love behind the action then it's just a "thing" and could even be something that one could come to abhor as a reminder of what it does/does not represent.

And I knew in my mind there were is scripture which was called into my thoughts. 

Matthew 5:23-24 

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. "

This clearly illustrates what I'm saying - in that it's not the gift itself, its in the gift giving and receiving.  If the person giving or receiving the gift are not motivated with a pure heart then the gift means nothing, in fact it can be an insult. In this instance I know the bible is talking about our offerings - our gift to the Lord of our devotion and praise for Him, but I do know that we can draw these thoughts into all areas of our daily lives. 

Revelation 3:15

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!

And this scripture from Revelation does not talk about a physical gift, it does however, address the intent of your deeds, and if your deed is to give a gift it's in the exact same principal.  Would you like to recieve a gift from someone you know was just doing it because they were supposed to?  I don't think so. 

I think the saddest thing of all is when someone buys someone something to say they are sorry.  Perhaps some of you disagree and I'd love to talk about this if you do.  But to me you simply can't "buy yourself out of the dog-house".  I know when we do something bad its our natural instinct to want to do something nice to patch things up but things cannot do what words can do.  Words that confess the wrong.  Words that ask for forgiveness.  Ears that listen to the other person when they tell you why they were hurt by your own action or words.  A gift on top of that just complicates things. 

(a little aside for any men who may be reading this - buying flowers, jewellery, sweets etc to say "I'm sorry" is really really poor thinking... trust me, those flowers and things are a constant reminder to her that you did something wrong.  If someone sees them they would ask about them - would you rather her say "He bought them to say sorry because he did something and felt guilty" or "He just bought them out of the blue because he said he cares about me!".   Now, I know the florists and jewellers might take a hit if you change your habits but... )

I think the best gifts are ones that have been well thought out.  I absolutely am moved by gifts that tell me that the giver has thought about the reciever.  For example, if a person loves art and is given painting supplies.  Or a home-bound senior is given a handmade gift certificate for an afternoon of driving them around for groceries and then out for coffee.  Even giving of your time is a great gift. 

And especially nice, even though its wonderful to get gifts on designated milestones and holidays, is when a gift is given "just because".  It is a most marvelous way to single someone out and make them feel honoured. 

But - the greatest gift of all:

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I wish you all a good week!

~ Barbara

March 30th, 2011

"I didn't sign up for THIS!"

Every so often a new catch-phrase pops up on the horizon.  Why is it our ears seem to find some temptation in it - an ordinary phrase at once becomes more than just the words, they all at once become applicable to all sorts of situations?  I've begun to hear the phrase "I didn't sign up for THIS!" expressed in everyday conversations and on tv (not that I watch tv all that much, but my Mother in Law does and I spent a week with her over spring break and got enough tv to last me for quite a while)  After hearing this phrase repeated many times I got to pondering it, the way it is used. 

To illustrate, on a tv show a character finds herself pregnant but her husband works on the other side of the world and may not be able to be home with her part of the time (she found she did not like to live where he was working).  When she finds out he has to go back to work and leave her alone her first statement is "I didn't sign up for THIS!"  (my question is what happened to "for better or worse"?)

And in the instances I would probably blurt this out myself I believe it's a pretty selfish little phrase, all said and done.  I know that the intent of this phrase it to find a humorous way to express frustration when things don't go the way we thought they would... but then this is real life, folks, and in real life almost nothing goes exactly the way we planned and if it does, well thats terrific but when it doesn't why do we take it as a personal affront? 

When we allow ourselves to cultivate a selfish "perfect" world scenario for our lives we are not living with a Godly character for we are clearly told that life is not perfect.  After the garden of Eden everything changed, and in this post-Eden existence we must never ever assume that life will unfold in a fairy tale way.  That's why we have the Bible - the ultimate reference book on what to do when life bites!  It does not tell us we won't have trials but that we WILL and it tells us WHY we have them!

1 Peter 5:10

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  

James 1:12

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Romans 12:12

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

John 16:33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Romans 5:3

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;

And these are only a few scriptures which tell us that trials, tribulations and sufferings are an essential part of our human lives which enable us to comprehend even a bit of what Jesus suffered on the cross for our sins.  I wonder, if this phrase were popular when "The Message" Bible were produced would what Jesus said on the cross have been expressed as "God, why is this happening to me?  I didn't sign up for THIS!" 

Perhaps the next time I find this phrase wanting to come out of my mouth I'll remember that when things in life get all balled up or don't go my way - the Lord knew I'd be going through whatever disappointment I'm facing and that I can get through it and it will go all the more smoothly if I should turn my thoughts away from "poor me" and instead turn to pray and invite Jesus to show me the best way we can get through it! 

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Wishing you a good week!
~ Barbara


We were fortunate to have Julie as speaker for our last Women's Sweet Night held on Tuesday, March 8th.  Julie has provided us with a copy of what she shared, though it was certainly vibrant when she presented it in person due to her effervescent and bubbly personality!

The Benefits of Praise

(Psalms 34v1)
“I will bless the Lord at all times his praise shall continually be in my mouth”

There are numerous benefits of praise that are often overlooked by many in our busy world.

Those who understand these benefits and appropriate them are enriched, empowered and enabled by the Spirit of God to experience higher levels of Christ like transformation, fruitfulness and blessings.

People who praise God for His power, sovereignty and omnipotence do not have to carry around excess burdens and frustrations. When we praise God during times of distress, disappointment or difficulty we are able to completely give all the weight of adverse circumstances to the Lord’s care. Human pride often stands in the way of surrendering our rights of control to the Lord. When we praise God for His mighty power we are acknowledging that we are weak and He is strong. Praise helps us realize that He is able to take us through any dark valley and bring us through successfully according to His will.

When we praise God he released us from the burden of guilt, he frees us from the powers and chains of sin.  Praising God helps us realize that He purifies perfects and cleanse us through the powerful blood of Christ. Greater praise results in greater sanctification.

When we praise God it helps us realize that judgment is for the Lord and not our business. Critical people are often individuals who need to praise God more for His ability to take care of troublesome people. When we praise God for who He is and what He has done we reduce the tendency to murmur and complain about our hurt feelings. Praise   renewed our sense of appreciation for how He helps us overcome evil with good instead of allowing evil to overcome us.Praise has a way of soothing our hurt feelings and minimizing our tendency to give in to self-pity. Paul learned how to be content in every circumstance because He knew that He could praise God for the promise, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me asks me” (Phil. 4:12, 13)

People who consistently praise God are less apt to complain about God’s training methods. When we praise God we will be more submissive, content and yielded to His will. When we are suffering from pain we will find that praise alleviates our tendency to give in to feelings of bitterness, fear or anger.

Praise has a way of releasing us from our sinful desire to take control back from the Lord. By praising God for His sovereignty we are saying, "Lord, I know you can do all things and no purpose of yours can be thwarted.  " (Job 42:1,2) Praise alleviate our anxiety as we allow our hearts and minds to remain in Christ Jesus according to Phil. 4:6-8. We continue to praise God for His truth, nobility, righteousness, purity, loveliness, excellence, amiability and praise-worthy splendor.  Praising God gives us greater confidence in God’s ability to be greater than any problem. Jesus said, In this  world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) Greater is He who is in you than He who is in the world." (I John 4:4) Praise gives us greater intimacy with the God who is greater than any person, problem or circumstance we may face.

When we praise God we have a renewal of all His blessed assurances. Paul wrote, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." (Eph. 1:3) they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing”, David, a man of praise, wrote in Psalms 34v10

Paul wrote, "I am perplexed but not in distress ... always bearing in my body the death of the Lord Jesus so that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in my body." (2 Cor. 4:4-8) People who praise God do not feel the need to understand why adversity falls on the wicked and righteous alike. Let us praise God that He has the capacity to work all things together for good for those of us who love Him and are fitting into His plan. (Rom. 8:28)

We can praise God and experience less of a need to rely on ourselves, our resources and our people because we know the promise is true, "My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:19) When we are not feeling confident or self-assured we can praise God that He gives us the wherewithal to accomplish everything He asks us to do with the help of Christ who supplies us emotionally, physically, socially, mentally, and spiritually. You will never lack anything if you praise God for His enabling ability to take you through every trial and make you better for it.


Praising God helps us gain greater confidence in God’s ability to take us through any dark valley. We do not have to pretend to be such a self-sufficient, rugged individuals. We do not have to plague ourselves with questions like, "What did I do wrong?" Some things are beyond our ability to control. We do not always have to analyze all the reasons why things did not go perfectly. Sometimes we set ourselves up for disappointment but every disappointment is for an appointment when we fail to say like Job, Even though He slay me yet will I praise Him." Praising God recognizes that He is sovereign, loving and perfectly in control of all our circumstances. We do not have to judge our circumstances knowing that He is sovereign in every situation, pain and problem.

~ Julie


March 9, 2011

This week's thought comes from Krista who observed the banner overhead our stage area of our church sanctuary.  It says "Surely God is in this place..." 

What the entire scripture states is this:

Genesis 28:16 (The Message)

 16-17 Jacob woke up from his sleep.
He said, "God is in this place—truly.
And I didn't even know it!"

He was terrified.
He whispered in awe,
"Incredible. Wonderful. Holy.
This is God's House.
This is the Gate of Heaven."

The part after the ... certainly puts a different view on this statement, doesn't it?  How many times has this been the case for you?  I can personally say that I've been so guilty of this very thing, wishing God were present when all the time He was. 

Do you have a thought about this passage?  We'd love to hear about it!   email us at


March 2, 2011

I'd like to bring this thought to you this week:

Be Content.
Don't worry.

You know, its very easy to get wound up.  I know sometimes I find myself grinding my teeth and that's always a pretty good indication that I'm nearing the limit of my ability to handle things.  I could easily name that the "just say NO" indicator - even for the best of causes.  And when I find myself in this place I know that I'm everything I am not supposed to be, I've allowed the "Martha Factor" to get the best of me. 

Luke 10: 41-42

“‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’”

I sometimes seem to be missing the bit in between 'nothing to do' and 'too much to do' - in a heartbeat.  If it were our vehicle I know I'm in constant check of that gas gauge, I keep a running list of groceries which are running low, but somehow this is different.  My indicator is often my behaviour and I'm fortunate my husband can spot it a mile away (not that I actually want to HEAR that, lol!) 

When I find myself at this place I know that I need to do just what Jesus instructs - say NO to all distractions (even for the best of causes) and take some time to sit at His feet.  Pray, pray and PRAY.  Don't have time to pray?  Ahem, believe me that's ALL you have time to do, if you are to do what is right and good.

His word tells us:

Philippians 4:4-7

 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Today - give all your "situations" over to the Lord.  You won't get everything on your list done, but you will get done what you petitioned the Lord for, and therefore you will experience a true peace which surpasses any sense of accomplishment you had on your own agenda.  Once you've handed control over to the Lord He will help you give you knowledge of how to set your priorities.  And the last thing - never be selfish, ask for help when needed.  Most relationships between you and others grows through working side-by-side. 

When you wake each and every day,
And you ponder on all to you have to do,
Pray to the Lord, leave it with Him,
And He will order your "list" for you.

Thank the Lord for his heavenly guidance!


February 23, 2011

I'm going to talk a little about dignity this week.  It's something we all crave to have.  The dictionary defines it this way "the quality or state of being worthy, honoured or esteemed".  Though it may sound somewhat elusive, in our life's journey we can expect to find times when we suffer from a lack of it - and that's very evident.  Like someone pulled the rug out from our emotions and left us lower than the rest of the people we're surrounded with.  When we are not treated with dignity we can become emotionally stunted and over a long period of time we may come to believe we do not deserve to have it.  That's a crime because dignity is not something we should have to work for. 

Matthew 7:12 

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you,
do also to them,
for this is the Law and the Prophets."

I like to be real here, so before I go any further I want to clarify that I am guilty of this very thing - withholding dignity from people I come into contact with.  I have become aware of it and the idea of it is a rude awakening - like a branch smacking me in the face.  When I'm busy, which I seem to be most of the time, I find I "process" people quickly.  I don't take the time to really interact and I could almost say that I have sometimes them labelled like file names.  I imagine we could not possibly have time to enjoy  a quality interface with every person we meet, that would be impossible.  Have you noticed when you interact with others you can unconsciously treat some people with more deference than others?  This is a result of familiarity - and familiarity breeds contempt and when you feel contempt for someone then it stands to reason you will not treat them with dignity. 

John 15:17 

These things I command you,
so that you will love one another.

So lets put the shoe on the other foot for a moment.  How does it feel when you know someone is treating you in a casual manner?  How do I feel?  Its pretty humbling because our dignity suffers.  We need to stop looking on the outside of  people and spend some time to "get to know them".  I'm not talking about the people that its easy to be around, people who are very visible to us, who are entertaining, or wealthy or "someone", rather I'm talking about ones who are always on our periphery. 

Who needs dignity?  (in the words of a friend who leads seniors ministry) "The senior citizen who has lived a full and long life, who was once young and vital and could do everything for themselves - and their worldly possessions reduced to the few items that can fit on the bedside table" Who after all these years of looking after themselves now has to rely on others, sometimes strangers, for the most intimate and simple things in life.

The cashier at the checkout who you usually just exchange light pleasantries with - not really expecting anything other than then normal "I'm fine" for anything more might mean you really have to interact on a personal level.  The person who might annoy you (we all have people who annoy us - or rather, that we form an annoyance for and don't really take the time to explore that)  The people of other races and cultures who are really easy to lump together.  The child who just wants to connect with you (that's really a gift you know)  Oh, and here's a famous one - the non-believer.  Guilty, guilty, guilty!  And what I've done when I've not made an effort for any of these - I've cheated myself out of a relationship on level with them - and not treated them with dignity.  We are all to be equal.

Matthew 25:45

“He will reply,
‘Truly I tell you,
whatever you did not do for one of the least of these,
you did not do for me.’

What does dignity do?  It's a restorer of power, its hope for the lonely, its what allows us to be the servants that we are called to be. 

Galatians 5:13

For you were called to freedom, brothers.
Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh,
but through love, serve one another. 

I will tell you that as I've been practicing treating everyone about me equally, giving them dignity I'm noticing some incredible things happening.  While changing myself I've being humbled and I appreciate each and every person and am thankful for the Lord allowing them in my life.   We can walk around busy, distracted, treating others as superfluous and wandering further and further off the track from what God's word commands for us, or we can STOP and pray and ask the Lord to open our eyes to the insides of those in our lives. 

I'd love to know what you think of the subject of "dignity".  Do you have a story or thought about this subject?  Has someone shown you dignity - especially when you did not think you deserved it?   Email your thoughts to

behalf Osoyoos Christian Centre