fifteen

My sermon words this week: “Remember=worship=joy”. The context is the Israelites complaining in the desert, and the title was “I’m sick of this!” They had just been rescued from slavery, for heaven’s sake–only a few days beforehand. Like the little boy the pastor mentioned, who was having a meltdown in Disneyland and said to his dad “Why did you bring me here?!”

We just need to remember: where we’ve come from, how God has been with us, how he is with us now, how mighty and amazing he is, how much he loves us, how many times in scripture the situation seemed so dark–but worked out for something wonderful (Joseph’s story, Ruth, Lazarus, the disciples at the Last Supper, etc.). When we remember, we can’t help but worship, and how often have I said that worship is so important!

Everyone uses different things to help them worship (to help the remembering), like music for example. Scripture is another good thing to use to spur you to worship, especially the Psalms. Which is what I’ve been up to with these number-title posts–making prayers from scripture, to read over again. This morning, I just feel like copying the verses right out.

WORSHIP (Psalm 66:1-6):

  • “All together now–applause for God!
  • Sing songs to the tune of his glory,
  • set glory to the rhythms of his praise.
  • Say of God, ‘We’ve never seen anything like him!’
  • When your enemies see you in action,  [enemies could be bad habits, temptation]
  • they slink off like scolded dogs.
  • The whole earth falls to its knees–
  • it worships you, sings to you,
  • can’t stop enjoying your name and fame.
  • Take a good look at God’s wonders–
  • they’ll take your breath away.
  • He converted sea to dry land;    [now here’s the remembering]
  • travelers crossed the river on foot.
  • Now isn’t that cause for a song?”

CONFESSION:

Help us to realize quickly when we are under your “heavy hand of discipline”, when our body is wasting away and we are groaning all day and weak. The sooner we confess, the sooner we can receive your forgiveness, and experience freedom! May we not need that “bit and bridle” to follow your advice, remembering that you take us on the pathway that is best for our lives. Thank you that you not only advise, but watch over us! (from Psalm 32)

 

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Hello

Rather than let my One Word “sit” and expect it to “percolate” or something, I’ve decided that I actually have to DO something with it. So after some thinking over, what I’m going to do is post either a sentence or a photo about it/using it. (That’s Facebook, so if you want to find me there, look for crazycathie.) The hashtag will be #thread and #myoneword.

Every day would be waaaay too much, so once a week should do it! However, since I’m so late getting started, a few times this week should make up for lost time.

Meanwhile, in case you missed it, cat updates: we lost Dustie on December 10th, and after 18 days could not stand it any longer without a cat!

first good picture 2

She already knew her name when we got her, so we just had to get used to it. But we LOVE our orange tabby! She’s so different from Dustie. She’s very outgoing, nudging everyone in our small group for attention, and curling up beside them during prayer time. And she loves to jump, even the afternoon after her spaying, preferring to take FOUR stairs at a time! When she feels like playing, it’s so cute to see how she bounces, and I mean bounce–on all fours, straight up about 8 inches off the ground. She’s a real “toughy”, shoving hard with her head when she wants petting–and it better be good, strong petting.

Dustie was so fussy and really fought about anything that was in any way different or out of the ordinary, but we’ve already started training this one to be on a harness. Of course, we put a collar on her as soon as she got here, and with all the new distractions she barely noticed. So now we can hear wherever she is, with that little bell jingling.

She’s such beautiful colours, and blends well with the furniture. :) I like to call her “Butterscotch”.

 

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“Setting Out for the Desert”

Well, just when I said I was “shutting up”, there are some sermon notes that just need to be made!

We’re starting a new sermon series entitled “Desert Transformation”, which promises to be a good one. (Although it reminds me of the Pilgrim series our Interim Pastor in Toronto started with.) The first sermon was about “Setting Out for the Desert”.

God calls us on a redemptive journey just like the Israelites, and he will reveal himself to us on that journey (it was in the desert that the Israelites received the Law, the tabernacle that was “filled with his glory” when it was obediently completed, and they were guided by a cloud in the day, and a pillar of fire at night); and God moves us toward our own “Promise Land” on the journey as we trust and follow/obey.

A couple of points that were interesting to me:

  • all that time that they were wandering around in the desert, 40 years, the Promise Land was nearby–so close;
  • sometimes we are called to “come down off the mountain” (Deuteronomy 1:6-8), or leave the place that is comfortable and well-known. God calls us into the desert for our good; in fact, for claiming the promises he has given us! (The Israelites were to claim the land that God has “set before them”.) Moses was in the desert for 40 years BEFORE he was even called to go to Egypt (remember the voice in the burning bush). That would have been very good training for the next 40 years! As well as the first 40 years of his life in Egypt.

 

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new things and fun things

My One Word is supposed to take the place of New Year’s Resolutions, but it doesn’t really work that way for me. It’s almost like more of a game, for me.

However, every new year, and every new season, there are always things that I resolve without really trying–almost like a habit. They usually have to do with being fit, or rearranging the routine, or trying something new.

This year for example, I’ll be doing a triathlon relay in May, to celebrate my Dad’s 80th year (and his 9th year of doing triathlons). That’s something I’ve never done before. I’ll be doing the swim, and even though I rarely get out swimming, I have no fear about it. Because I’ve always been able to float or tread water very easily.

Something else I’ll be doing soon that I’ve never done before, is something I NEVER thought I’d do: grade adults’ homework! And the best part? It’s for Perspectives, that missions course I’m always raving about!! Even though anything a person does can be just as valuable (cooking, cleaning, playing), this to me, is gold! I just feel so, so privileged to be asked to do this! (Not for the University “credit” students though.) Of course, it may turn out to be very difficult, since I’m such a slow reader. We’ll see!

Another thing I’ve been resolving lately, ever since my post about how God SO loves to give wisdom, is to ask him more often. I’ve had so many answers to this kind of prayer in the past, and continue to.

Every new year it seems, I feel the need to think over my use of recreational time, since there are so many fun things to do: puzzles, crochet, fix and organize photos, and a new one added–colouring. Puzzles and colouring are easy, since I just do them while we’re watching TV. The great thing about crochet, is that it’s a fun thing that’s so useful: tea cosies work so well to keep the tea hot, which you must have if you’re entertaining at all; I’m always losing my winter headbands; there’s even a pattern for crocheted socks, which store-bought ones are always getting holes on my feet! Oh, and a crocheted gift can be such a nice thing…

2d 2015 mom IMG_1520I worked on this all that time we were waiting for things to happen on our business site, for my mom for Christmas. She loved it!

The photos now, I’ve always had a bit of trouble thinking about that activity. It takes up such a lot of time, and how useful is it really? Sure, my family loves them, and I do enjoy them too. Well, now I’ve finally found some justification for all that time spent on this activity, in this article I read recently, “The Benefits of Nostalgia”. Studies have now been done, that show how nostalgia can help people out of depression, and even boost memories. “…a growing body of psychological research confirms, waxing nostalgic from time to time doesn’t trap us in the past—it is healthy for our body, mind and spirit in the present.” It’s also a grounding that is valuable in this fast-paced, rat race world.

So there you go!

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fourteen

WORSHIP:

“God–you’re my God! I can’t get enough of you! I’ve worked up such hunger and thirst for God, traveling across dry and weary deserts. So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory. In your generous love I am really living at last! My lips brim praises like fountains. I bless you every time I take a breath; My arms wave like banners of praise to you.” (Psalm 63:1-4)

 

SUPPLICATION:

Lord, please remind us how much blessing we miss if we don’t take time to worship. Remind us to run to you for escape, you who are “ready and waiting”, who will hide us safely away. When we feel trapped and panicked, may we know that you hear our cry. (Ps 31)

 

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Thread!

Even though the One-Word-for-the-year idea hasn’t been that magical for me or anything (not like some people), I still really like the idea. For me, it’s generally been a word that just sort of sums up something about me that’s already true. Not on purpose.

This new year/word was looking like more of the same. In the running, was “light”, which would have been more a summary of last year, while we waited “for the light to come on” from Hydro Quebec, at our business site. And I already blogged about asking God for wisdom, one of the many ways of thinking about “light”.

“Come” was another word, which is the title of the painting my BFF did for me, and the context around that word is extensively explained in the post about that painting. Again, this was something I’ve already experienced–inviting people to my new home, etc.

The other word I really liked, was “called”. This word fills me with anticipation as I remember that God has an ultimate purpose that he is working out in the world, and that I get to play a part in it. And it all has to do with him calling people out of darkness, calling us to himself, etc. But this could have been my word for 2013 (the year before I started doing One Word), because it was the Perspectives missions course that we finished that year, that really made me think more and more about being called, having a mission.

You can see how all these words are connected: God says “come”, inviting us into “light”, and “calling” us to invite others. Something I’ve been thinking though, is that most of these “One Word” things are so general, and could be made to mean almost anything. What might be better, is to find a word that is more specific.

Meanwhile, Pinterest has attracted me to wanting to do a wall plaque with burlap. And while I was indecisive about my One Word, there has been a phrase in my mind that seems perfect for that small plaque: “God is working.” God. is. working. No matter what it may seem like, no matter how small a section of the picture we can see at this moment. After church today was going to be my deadline for deciding on a Word for 2016, and I began to wonder if maybe this year it should be a phrase.

God is working. Again, this is something I already know, and that I learned before (and often!); but one does still need to be reminded. And I love remembering it! God is working in unreached peoples, in those hearts you’ve been praying for, through those troubles people are having… working out his plan, working to open hearts, to show his love, to guide his children…

It was a great sermon by a guest speaker this morning, reminding us that God’s will always involves who he is, and who he is at the centre of himself is love. Somewhere in there, the guy mentioned the terminology about “writing our story”. Even a little facebook share popped into my mind, something to say when plans go awry: “Plot twist!” It’s also the story of God working throughout history, and in the present day, that we learned at Perspectives and that has excited me so much. (Our church is hosting Perspectives this month!)

Finally it came to me! My One Word for 2016 shall be: “thread”. :)

When you’re reading a good fiction story, the experience is so much better when you can pick out a thread, running throughout, from beginning to end. It’s like the old illustration of the intricately woven tapestry, that looks so confusing and messy when you look at all the mixed up threads underneath, but when you look at the right side, you see how a beautiful picture has been made, with each of those different threads. Every twist and turn has a purpose, and is important to the finished work. They are all connected to each other in some way.

Thread. A little weird. But specific, at least a little. I have some thin, glittery metallic thread to add to that wall plaque. How it will work out for 2016? Yeah, again it seems like something that should just apply for more than a year. But, you never know!

 

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Let’s sing:

From away back… you can either have the Irish Rovers singing it in your head, or Herman’s Hermits–

“Let’s take a look behind and see what we can find.
Last year has gone for everyone, passed with time.
What happened to us then can’t happen once again.
And what’s it now to me?
History!
Years may come (years may come), years may go (quickly go).
Some go fast (very fast), some go slow (oh so slow).
Some are good (very good), some are bad (very sad).
For each one (for what comes) just be glad (let’s be glad).
Whenever I review my lovin’ times with you, I wouldn’t change
a single page we’ve lived through.
It wasn’t always smooth; sometimes we’d jump the groove.
We’ve shed some tears and then–loved again!
Years may come (years may come), years may go (quickly go).
Some go fast (very fast), some go slow (oh so slow).
Some are good (very good), some are bad (very sad).
For each one (for what comes) just be glad (let’s be glad).
Some heartaches I don’t doubt, life’s sure to dish us out.
We’ll beat the lot and that is what life’s all about.
Whatever may come true, ahead for me and you, Some day it
all will be–
Memories!”

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change

As we get close to changing the year, I can’t help thinking about all the things that have changed. This is a season of traditions, and families is one venue where you can really notice how things evolve, as children grow up and have kids of their own. It’s a good thing, as much as you may miss the “former times”.

So many things change, but so many stay the same for years and years before they do! Note how we lived in one home for 33 years before we moved–that was a difficult-but-good thing. And how we had the same pet for 17 years before she died; a hard thing, but we won’t be putting up with a cat-free home for long!

I remember thinking when we moved, that we need practise for that kind of change, because things can hit you rather suddenly. Forced changes. Jobs change, health changes.

Segue to dreams, and investing in them with your talent, much effort, money and time. How often do those sand castles get swept away with the tide! Our pastor shared a story on Sunday (Max) about the little boy enjoying building his sand castle, and then watching it get destroyed with the waves. He was smiling, because he knew all along that that was going to happen. That’s called keeping your perspective, and that’s what we need to do while we’re working on our own dreams. In our family, we’ve actually had a fair bit of practise with that! The thing is, not to tie your identity in with temporal things, but remember that there is a Forever Home…

 

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thirteen

WORSHIP:

“God the one and only, I’ll wait as long as he says”, and the reasons, one at the top of the Psalm (62) and one at the bottom: “Everything I need comes from him”, and “Everything I hope for comes from him”! Thank you Lord, for being the solid rock under my feet, an impregnable castle where I need have no fear of the “bullies” around me–“breathing room for my soul”. I can depend on your granite-strength, enabling me to give you my life.

SUPPLICATION:

Help us to truly depend on you, to be “looking for your love”, always aware that you are everything we need! May we “take for our own” your holy name, so that our hearts will “brim with joy. “Let your unfailing love surround us”, as we place our hope in nothing else, but in you. (Ps. 33: 18ff)

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One Word Time

Wow. Just going over my One Word for 2015, and I haven’t posted anything about it since August! Of course, this year August seems like just a few days ago.

The word for this year has been “service”. And yes, I did get in to serving at church again, even going from just being a helper, to being a teacher (first for the 2-year-olds, and now the 3-year-olds). Also, we’ve been privileged to start a Community Group in our home.

The interesting thing I’ve noticed while reading over this tag though: to think kind of opposite to the word is just as important, and sometimes even more applicable; and that was the same thing I came across for LAST year’s word!

To be specific:

  • In 2014 my word was plan. Me being an organizer by nature, I needed to experience NOT having everything go according to the “usual plan”.
  • In 2015 for the word service, I experienced others serving me; and also kept in my mind that one has to know when to rest vs serve (or perhaps, allow others to serve).

At this point, I have no idea what my One Word for 2016 will be. Even though I didn’t think about it a whole lot last year, I believe it’s still a fun and interesting thing to do. More fun than making a New Year’s Resolution!

It would at least keep me blogging a little; which is something I do miss, sometimes. Other times, as I read over my thousands of posts, my thought is that I certainly can “talk too much”!

 

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