February 29, 2012

Redeeming the Time - Ruth L. Snyder

"Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:16 KJV

The above verse is short, but challenging. (If you want to research this verse in detail, check out Biblios). The first part of the verse tells me I need to consciously choose to make good use of my time, every day. The second part of the verse reminds me there are many things which can distract me from making the best use of my time, and many of the distractions will lead me away from God and His purpose for my life.

I am a Christ follower, mother of five young children, wife of a loving husband, a church member, a school board trustee, a piano teacher, a community member, a writer, an InScribe member and executive member, and the list goes on. Each of these commitments brings certain expectations and responsibilities. I have been wrestling with choices lately. How do I know which activities and responsibilities I should take on? Or which ones to get rid of? Other people often have a different perspective. When they criticize me for my choices, how do I respond? I only have limited time and energy. If I say "yes" to everything I enjoy and am interested in, I will go crazy or at very least do a poor job. How do I pick priorities and schedule my days?

When I was in Bible College, a teacher showed me one way of sorting through choices - POGAS

PURPOSE: What is the overarching purpose of my life? The big picture that helps keep the little things in focus? The Westminster Catechism gives one possible example:
"Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God,[1] and to enjoy him forever.[2]"
OBJECTIVES: When I look back on my life, what do I want to be able to say I accomplished? These are the different facets that work together to help achieve my life purpose. Examples could be: Relationship with God, Family responsibilities, and Impact on my community.

GOALS: Under each objective, I should set goals. What do I want to accomplish this month or this year? Some goals will be short term. Some will be longer term. Others may be life long. For example, I am working on reading through the Bible again. I have also just started a new course with Long Ridge Writers' Group, learning how to write a novel. I find it helpful to write my goals out, because it gives me something I can check back on. Even if I need to adjust my goal, it keeps me motivated and consciously working towards something I have decided I want to do.

and SCHEDULE: How can I break my goals up into bite-sized pieces? Every day I have time that I need to use wisely. By using my goals to set my schedule, priorities and choices become easier to make. For instance, in order to read through the Bible in a year, following a daily schedule is helpful. I also need to figure out what time of day works best to do my daily reading and meditation. For me, that means getting up early and having my devotions first thing in the morning. In order to complete my writing course, I have deadlines for assignments. However, it is also helpful to carve out a specific time of day to spend on my writing. With all the responsibilities I have, this is a challenge. However, I have discovered I focus best after I put my younger kids to bed and have an hour or two to devote to writing. If I find I consistently have more to do than fits on my schedule, I need to go back to the proverbial drawing board.

How about you? What have you found helpful when sorting out your priorities and choices? How are you redeeming your time?

Ruth L. Snyder

Check out Ruth's blogs: www.trusteesnyder.blogspot.com (Education information) www.ruthlsnyder.com (Ruth's writing and family life) and www.earlyyearssuccess.com (Information for caregivers of children ages 0-5)

Follow Ruth on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@wwjdr

February 28, 2012


Almost nine years ago, I learned a valuable technique for dealing with emotional baggage. June Hunt, host of the Hope For The Heart and Hope In The Night radio shows, advised that I write down the name of everybody who wounded me. Then I must forgive those folks one by one, placing them (along with the painful incidents), in the hands of Christ. She also said I should do this as often as I feel upset about things in my past.

Nine months after I called Hope In The Night, I thought of a new way to deal with my mental anguish. From my upcoming How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity memoir, here is how I used my writing to purge myself of these painful memories.


In February of 2004, the heavenly Father led me to another effective technique of dealing with my bitterness. I found an ad on the Writers Weekly site that offered lessons on how to write an autobiography. I completed the course but I didn't publish my lengthy life's story in its original form. Instead, I wrote When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies), a memoir of my life with house rabbits, in 2006. Writing that paperback taught me much about the writing craft.

A year later, I published Deliverance from Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School). God used this memoir to heal many emotional wounds I had received as a child. Each time I encountered painful memories of being exiled five-hundred miles from home for months at a stretch, I poured out my heart to the Lord and handed over the pain to him. Writing and publishing that paperback also eased the pain of tormenting memories from my time at that institution. I had fewer nightmares about Jericho too.


In addition to being a member of InScribe, I've self-published When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living With Bunnies) and Deliverance from Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School). I hope to have How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity in print some time in 2012. Read more about them here. You're also welcome to contact me directly for more information.

February 27, 2012

Still - Denise M. Ford

A number of years ago I wrote a special tribute for my father’s confirmation class as they celebrated their 50 year anniversary in the church where they had been confirmed. This week I uncovered it as I was organizing my writing into categories. Following a year in which I have transitioned from full-time work in a classroom to focusing on how to carve out a life as a writer, I found inspiration in my own words, especially as they remind me that life may change, but our relationship with our Lord remains ever present… Still.

STILL here with me?

Ah yes, the years have rolled on down, our journey meandering, our adventure evolving with you here.

Here with me. By my side ...STILL.

STILL seeking answers from me?

You haven't always received what you expected, but in every response we have traveled well together.
You and I, side by side...STILL.
STILL needing forgiveness from me?
Our conversations have covered much ground, my friend. I am familiar with you, accepting you.
Lifting you up to continue on... STILL.
STILL hoping for love from me?
We made a promise many years ago, you and I. My arms will never close to you.
Keep reaching. My arms are open...STILL.
STILL looking for guidance from me?
Let's never stop on our journey together. Let us be bold. With courage let us meet the paths before us with determination, with conviction.
Carry on with my assurance...STILL.
STILL here with me?
Ah yes, the years will keep rolling on down. Some like a roller coaster, some like a peaceful walk in the woods.
But my friend, you and I, we will always land together.
Side by side...STILL.

To read Denise's personal blog and writing website go to:  

February 24, 2012

Biblical Learning Informs Writing - Dorothy Bentley

One of the things I love to do is learn. And one of the things I love to study is the Bible. The opportunity to do serious study and earn a Bachelor of Ministry degree presented itself last year. My church is partnering with a Bible college.

I grappled with the decision. Would studying for this degree pull me away from my passion to write for the Lord? Would I have the time needed to study, attend class, write the necessary papers, and continue pursuing a writing career? I wasn't sure, but the pull to draw closer to the Lord by studying His Word was irresistible. I jumped in with both feet.

 The pastors teach and we students submit our papers to them for feedback. Once a course is finished, we submit significant projects to an online portfolio. There is quite a lot of writing involved, and having almost weekly feedback on papers has been surprisingly valuable. Any sort of writing feedback is valuable. Feeling like a polished professional is akin to having pride, which, as we all know, leads to a fall. And since I am working on a degree to serve God, there is so much more involved than simply studying the Bible and writing papers. My character is also scrutinized (somewhat painfully at times), and I need to always be humble and correctable.

Those character qualities are so valuable for me as a writer. Whenever I submit work to an editor, I need to humbly accept correction and submit to my work being honed for the publication.

I am thankful for this great opportunity to be part of in-church Bible college. As a Christian writer, whether I am writing for the general market or a Christian audience, my heart attitude needs to be godly, and my reasons for writing need to stay in line with God's purposes. In addition, what I write is so important. I do not want to lead others astray.

One of the greatest benefits, however, is how the content of the programme informs my writing. As I read ancient writings and become immersed in Biblical culture, I am inspired to write various forms with a new richness.

With the Lord's help, we can all write to please Him and build His kingdom on earth.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Colossians 3:23

And What About the Others?

The faces keep coming back to me.

I was scrambling to put together the last few articles for the next issue of the magazine. I had the copy for a brochure on our relief and rehabilitation program to write. Then there was the prep for that Bible study on the 6th commandment. All the pieces came together when I remembered the intense discussion our congregation in Caracas had gone through years ago when we were choosing a name for our church. We eventually settled on Isaiah 58:11 and named the church “The Spring.” Sometime after the decision was made I looked at the context of the passage and had an “aha” moment—a moment that came back as I put together the magazine, wrote the copy, and prepared the Bible Study.

Bill Hybels (and others) mentioned in his comments about the sixth commandment, “You shall not kill,” that we can kill by neglect, neglect of those who are dying of illness or hunger when we have the resources to help them live. The promise from the passage in Isaiah from which we chose our church’s name is contingent on looking after the needs of the oppressed, the poor and the naked. The article for the magazine and the copy for the brochure were about children in refugee camps in Somalia.

The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail” —Isaiah 58:11, NIV.

“Success,” whatever we apply the word to and however we interpret it, depends on how we respond to the needs of others. God’s blessing on our lives and on the communities with which we fellowship, depends on how we care for those who can’t care for themselves.

It’s an “aha” moment. Now to respond to it.

February 21, 2012

Prayer--An Armor of Protection – Sulo Moorthy

We do pray for many reasons. We pray because we love God and we want to communicate with Him. We pray when we are in need of something, in trouble, in pain, or in danger. We pray for our sakes as well as for the well being of our loved ones and associates. Sometimes we pray out of desperation, and other times, we pray out of duty.

We feel guilty when we don't pray and feel great when we do pray as we ought to. Some of us choose to pray in the early hours of the day, while others prefer to pray before going to bed. We assume God to be well pleased when we pray to Him, and displeased when we don't seek Him in prayer. Though we may have many reasons to pray, there's one other good reason we need to pray.

In Mark 14; 37, in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus tells Peter, "...Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

Peter was unaware of what's going to happen in the next couple of hours. But Jesus knew. Only a day earlier, when Jesus told His disciples "You will all fall away, for it is written, " I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, " Peter had declared, " Even if all fall away, I will not." He was so confident of his love for His Master that he took no account of his weakness.

If only he had remembered what Jesus had told him soon after the Last Supper in the upper room, he may have acted differently. Jesus told him,

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22: 31-32)

As Jesus predicted, within two days, Peter stood in the courtyard of the high priest and denied knowing Christ. Giving into fear, he disowned the One, whom he vouched of not abandoning for any reason.

If only Peter had taken Jesus’ words seriously and given to much praying, he could have gained the courage to stand up for His Master at any cost. Prayer could have become an armor to guard him from giving into fear and temptation. It's for Peter's sake, Jesus wanted him to watch and pray.

In the Book of Job, we find Satan asking permission to test the faith of Job. Peter, like Job had the freedom to pass or fail the test. We too have the same freedom of choice. Most of the times, our eyes are blind to see what Satan is orchestrating behind the scene. It is here prayer plays a vital role in shielding us from the enemy’s deceitful pranks. Jesus taught us to pray, “Do not lead us into temptation.” If we keep alert and follow His instruction, like Peter we too might be called to strengthen our brothers and sisters in Christ, when we see them going through trials and temptations.

“Without prayer, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word, have no power. All depends on prayer. May God teach us to believe this and to hold fast.” ~ Andrew Murray

February 17, 2012

WHY WRITE? by Bryan Norford

Is your experience is like mine? Do some consider your writing a sort of escape, a hiding place, a monastic cell—looking and commenting, but not really doing anything? “Why do you do this?” someone asked me once, with a get yourself a real job tone.

I suppose, looking from outside, writing can seem like that. Surely, it’s for discretionary time; a hobby to be wrapped around the urgent or important. Explanations are simply excuses. Writing is a sort of deferred hope, a refusal to live here and now. In an instant culture, preparing for the long haul is tedious, unnecessary when there is so much need now.

And don’t claim writing is a call from God. That makes Him the excuse for distraction from real work; worse, for laziness. Of course, most of us do perceive it as a call from God, frequently powered by a drive that nothing else will satisfy. Yet, legitimate as these reasons may be, they are insufficient.

Many have drive, often for destructive impulses. We need a passion, not just for pen and print, but also a passion for purpose. From reading this column, I doubt any here write passionately for money—although covering expenses, or making a living, are responsible by-products.

Beyond that: Why do you or I write?

If words transmit ideas, then words on paper should equally number those spoken. But writing is speaking to the future. Spoken words die on the wafting air, but words on media live somewhere to the end of time. If the speaker deserves adulation, the writer more so.

Our first book, not originally for publication, was a legacy of marriage for our children and grandchildren on our fiftieth wedding anniversary. Even after its publication, later writings were also primarily for our growing number of descendants.

The quarterback does not throw the ball to where the catcher is, but to where the catcher will be when the ball arrives. Similarly, we write for a future need, not necessarily a felt need in the present. Writing is a way of reaching beyond our lifetime to future generations.

Especially, it projects the grace and glory of God that we have experienced into the future. There, we can share the full life God gave us with those who follow.

February 15, 2012

Oh the breadth and length and height and depth! - Tracy Krauss

In Ephesians 3: 17-19, Paul's prayer is that his fellow believers would be "rooted and grounded in LOVE ... able to comprehend ... the breadth and length and height and depth ..." of Christ's love, which "surpasses knowledge." (NASB)

Even with Valentine's Day still fresh in our minds, this is the kind of LOVE that we should be focused on. I've been pondering this verse and still have trouble comprehending the total dimensionality of God's love. It's not linear, circular, or even three dimensional. It's all encompassing. It permeates every moment, every thought, and every breath. Every action, reaction or inaction. Since He is everywhere and since He is love, His love is everywhere, even in my darkest moments or lapses into unfaithfulness.

I could pray for 'comprehension', even as Paul suggests, but on the other hand, there is something about NOT understanding that is perhaps even more powerful. When I cease striving to understand, I allow the awesomeness of His magnificence to actually penetrate my heart. For this 'love business' is not a matter of the mind, after all - a matter of comprehension - oh no. It is a matter of the metaphorical HEART, that seat of love which allows us to commune with the Creator beyond comprehending ...

February 14, 2012

My Mother - the FBI Agent -- Pam Mytroen

My quiet mother has never made headlines, but I believe that if God really opened our eyes, we would see barred doors opening before her, and hear chains rattling and snapping as they fall to the ground. What does my mom do? She's the CEO of FBI - the Food and Baking Illuminator.

So how does she knock down doors and release prisoners? She bakes. She bakes fresh buns, warm from the oven, and takes them to her neighbors. Sometimes she’ll change things up a bit, and take a pan of cinnamon buns – those tender, gooey, irresistible gems. Or maybe a slice of pie, a plate of cereal slice with brown sugar frosting, or even a full turkey meal.

But first, she prays. She and my dad, together on their knees, will pray for their neighbors, their friends and family, and their community every day. They’ve lived in several different communities with my dad having been transferred all over Saskatchewan with the CPR and even into Alberta and finally settling in Washington State. They’ve had an array of neighbors through the years.

The reactions were mixed, of course. Some were so excited and grateful and became life-long friends. Others were hesitant, only opening the door a crack, but just enough to allow a sliver of light to shine into their fear. Sometimes years later, those people would come back to Mom and thank her for her love.

There’s always an opportunity to reach out and help. There’s the neighbors whose little girl died after a tonsillectomy; the lady with MS across the street; the widow whose drunken son took a hammer to the car one night. Mom would pray, and bake, and go.

There was the lady who rode the rails with her husband every summer. In the blistering heat on the open tracks she made her little home in a caboose. What an opportunity right outside our door! The buns were steaming and hot when Mom sent me over with them and I still remember the box of smarties the lady gave me in return. We never saw her again, but I often wonder what effect those little acts of love have on people.

There was the little 2 year old boy, whose mom was too drunk to play with him. He lived several doors down, but somehow the little tike knew where to go for a helping of love. “Can you come out to play?” he’d ask my mom. Of course. Mom always took time to play, right after she stuffed him full of chocolate chip cookies and milk.

My mom’s fresh rolls are opening doors and allowing the light and love of God to warm countless homes. Mom and Dad have had the opportunity to pray with neighbors, and to bring healing and hope to many hearts.

A pan of warm rolls in Jesus’ name – who needs the FBI?

Pamela Mytroen

February 13, 2012

True Love - by T. L. Wiens

There are many reality shows these days that try to “help” people find their mate. Amazing destinations with dream dates with many partners and everything sensual in nature is the new way to find love. And how many ride away with their true love?

The church isn’t much different. Seeker friendly music and messages that teach little about truth seem to dominate the North American church scene. Many people bounce from church to church looking for the next big moment in their spiritual journey. And how many find a true relationship with Jesus Christ?

In Matthew 7:2, Jesus says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” And in John 15:10, Jesus says, If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

Our “True” love, Jesus Christ, won’t be found in any church. We have to develop that relationship within ourselves to bring it to the church. Then “worship” won’t be about the music we like or the message that makes us feel good but about praising God.

February 12, 2012

Learning from myself - Nesdoly

In the matter of about an hour last Wednesday the course of our lives—and house— took a different turn than we had ever planned or anticipated. It was around 2 p.m. and I was making coffee when I glanced out the window and noticed a wateriness to the back yard that was altogether not right.

I stepped onto the deck to check it out and the sound of angry water, like a swollen creek, put me on high alert. I had heard this sound before. It brought me back to the early morning of February 21, 2009 when our unit got the brunt of a burst water main. Last time it was beside our townhouse building. This time it turned out to be directly under the utility room attached to our home.

I alerted my husband. He started calling people. I ran downstairs, but already black water was flowing onto the three-year-old laminate. In the hour that it took for the city to shut off the flow, our den, storage, and much of the garage was inundated with biohazard water. Ugh!

The flood of 2012

I tried to count my blessings (we were warm and dry; we had a big jug of Safeway water on hand for the hours our complex was waterless; we were insured; a restoration company was taking care of the mess; I was so glad this hadn't happened two weeks earlier when we were away on holidays). Still I found myself fighting an attitude slump. Why us? Why again?

On Thursday morning I happened to reread my own words, posted on my devo blog. Tuesday and Wednesday they were about how circumstances can show what's inside of us. Thursday's post (written weeks earlier) was about having the right attitude in the middle of trouble. I had ended it with this quote from Joyce Meyer:

"Practice being positive in each situation that arises. Even if whatever is taking place in your life at the moment is not so good, expect God to bring good out of it, as He has promised in His Word....

...Being positive in a positive situation is easy. Anyone can do that. But when we are positive in a negative situation it shows a genuine trust in God and a spiritual maturity that pleases and glorifies God"
- Joyce Meyer, Battlefield of the Mind, pp. 38, 44.
Isn't it bizarre yet wonderful how God can use our own writings to speak to us? 

And so I encourage you, if you keep a journal of your quiet time thoughts or other record of what God is teaching you, re-read your jottings from time to time. There may just be a lesson in them for you to relearn. 

By Violet Nesdoly


February 11, 2012

Listening – Stephen T. Berg

It’s June, and I’m sleeping at a roadside campground along the Yellowhead highway in Alberta. I awake to a small invasion of seagulls. The birds squawk—a discordant and dumbfounded lot—they spit and squabble over scraps that fall from car windows.

Some of the gulls launch themselves. These, moving above the trees, find a current and now the air becomes still beside them as they ride. They glide with grace; follow a silent score; invent as they go.

Within the leaden racket of my culture, having been candle-dipped in noise, I too am comfortable with distraction and petty spitting contests. And I hardly notice my adoption of slogans and my own bilious secretions—my cranky adjuvant for the crowd.

But should I find a way to remove myself and let things fall silent, I will enter an inscape, a dark vacuum.

At first, the break from stimuli and the cessation of group-think brings a low-grade panic. And so—as when I was a child cautiously climbing the stairs out of a dark basement, knowing that if I broke into a run something would grab my ankle through the rungs—I move with deliberation to turn something on, to thumb a glossy page, to plug in, to avoid the void.

But the Benedictine vow of listening asks me to simply listen, and listen simply. Now, should I have it in me to listen like this—with my heart’s ear—I may yet feel a breeze of deliverance, a buoyancy, a moment of rising above the grey wall of cultural clapperclaw.

And here, one may hear the deep transcendence a single note—“come and see”—of catching an updraft and gliding in harmony with other notes.


I wrote the above meditation a few years ago, some time after I became a Benedictine Oblate.

Listening has always been hard for me, whether in prayer or (staying) in the present; and the daily discipline of this vow, Auscultare, or listening with the ear of the heart, was something of a necessary God-send.

I have an idea that for we writers, listening is job-one—long before the appearance of that first word. When I sense myself running out of ideas, when I feel my prose is purple and my poetry stale, I know I haven’t been listening.


February 09, 2012

Sticks and Stones - Shirley S. Tye

School work is forcing me to think more deeply on various subjects. Foremost in my mind at present is the power of words as I write a paper.

As a child, I remember chanting with classmates, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me." Did I believe it then? Yes, but only because I thought the others believed. And now, do I still believe it? No. I've felt the sting of hurting words. I've been crushed by negative words. I've had my dreams swiftly destroyed with mighty words of apparent wisdom.

As I examine the Bible, I see the power of God's words. He spoke the universe into existence from nothing. Jesus healed many people of various diseases and raised the dead by simply speaking a command; be thou clean; stretch forth your hand; rise and walk. Even the demons scattered when Jesus spoke just one little word; go! In fact, John 1:1 describes Jesus as The Word; from the Greek word logos meaning word, divine expression.

And then there are Satan's words that carry the stench of death. Whether he speaks them verbally or tickles one's conscience or mind with luring whispers, destruction follows.

The Bible holds many verses that depict the results of words. Psalm 55:21 describes an enemy's words as smoother than butter, softer than oil but war rages in his heart. But pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones (Proverbs 16:24). James 3:8 warns us that no one can tame the tongue; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). In Matthew 12:37 Jesus' warning is recorded; "By thy words thou shalt be justified and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."

Oh, I pray that my words whether spoken or written will always be sweet to the soul and healing to the bones; words to edify; to build up; to encourage.

February 07, 2012

The Great Commission – Ramona Heikel

When the same tugging comes at me from several directions in a short period of time, I believe I’m hearing from God.

For a while I’ve become more and more aware of two things. First, I am big on thinking and dreaming, but comparatively lacking in action. Second, my typical service has been within my church, to the church, with less of my time and effort given outside the church. Both of these realizations have been making me uncomfortable.

In the past year or two I’ve run across one book many times. It is entitled Revolution in World Missions: One Man’s Journey to Change a Generation. The first time I saw it, I picked it up and read the back cover, which made it sound like it was a biography of a missionary in Asia. But I already had several biographies of Christians and missionaries on my shelves at home that I hadn’t read yet, which looked more interesting, so I left it at the store.

I saw the same book several more times and ignored it, but kept wondering why it was so prevalent. I thought, “Someone must be going out of their way to populate all kinds of stores with this book.” Why would someone do that? When I saw a stack of about twenty brand-new copies of K.P. Yohannan’s book at another store, and saw that they were free, I picked one up. I figured I’d glance through it and donate it to the Co-op Book Exchange. It sat on my shelf for months before I finally sat down to read the first chapter.

As I read, I quickly realized that I was not alone in some of my questions about missions and my grieving over the materialism of the Western world, including the Western church. I couldn’t put it down. The book suggested sponsoring a national missionary in Asia, one of the areas of the world that has the least access to the message of the gospel, because that missionary would have opportunities to share his or her faith that Westerners would never have. By the time I read the first three chapters, I’d decided to make a priority with my time and money to help share the gospel to those who haven’t heard it.

The Bible study group that I attend has just begun to study the book of James, which contains numerous reminders to put our faith and love into action. And while my heart has always begun to race when I hear of opportunities to serve the needy (especially children), the experiences recently relayed by others who have returned from a short-term mission have motivated me to switch from contemplating “if I went”, to “when and where I will go”. I am now sorting through opportunities to help in the work of sharing the gospel, both locally and in other countries.

I know that God gives wisdom to do whatever he asks us to do, and I hope I can be patient enough to wait on him to clarify exactly which direction he wants me to go first!
[You can also read my detailed review of Revolution in World Missions on my website, here.]

Posted by Ramona

February 06, 2012

The Lord is Good to Me! - Glynis Belec

Tomorrow I will speak at a senior's home. "You could talk about writing," said Mr. A.J. when I asked him about a topic. Years ago I would never have dreamed that people would want to listen to me prattle on about what's important in my life. But they do and they did and they still ask. I've been speaking around this community and a little beyond for a while now and am amazed at the response. I have discovered the best way to keep people interested in what I say or write is to stay real and speak from the heart. Probably some of the best feedback about my editorial column (an 11 year stint) was that the reader could relate and he/she (usually 'she')  knew exactly how I felt and/or what I was going through.

The ideas for my Sugar and Spice column flowed like the springtime sap. People would often ask where I got my ideas. That surely was not a difficult question to answer. Tomorrow I will probably share a little bit of where I get my ideas, and how a writer's life is not 9-5. Perhaps I will also talk a little about how I sell an article or story and even share a little bit about rejection and sporadic pay cheques. But mostly I hopefully will relay the pure, blissful, exhilarating joy I glean from pouring words on paper.

God has blessed us with an amazing world. All one needs to do is to look around; lots to write about. Sometimes we mess up that amazing world; more to write about. God blessed us with families and laughable moments, challenges, heartbreaks, sadness and reasons to rejoice; an ever-flowing, overflowing well of ideas.

One of the best and purest and sweetest topic in this whole world to write about is children. I used to write about my junior offspring a lot but once they grew up and became all teenage like then I had to tread a little more carefully. Now that they are big people with babies of their own - mmm...good. Love those beautful grandbabies of ours! I can feel those ideas flowing once again. My muse is stirred. Can't wait for tomorrow.

 Oh yes...the Lord is good to me!  Take it away Miss J!

February 03, 2012

Rest - Janis Cox

I have a plate that says, "Stop and Smell the Roses".

The plate was a gift and at the time I saw it as a “cute plate”. My life was in high gear – supermom, always on the go. No time to smell the roses.

Of course, eventually I burned out. My body couldn’t take the pace. All the stress and tension with no time or outlet for release put my body into a physical wreck.

Jesus tells his disciples:
“Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.” (The Message 4-6)
Jesus knew that taking time for restoration was essential for us.
“Certainly work is not always required of a man. There is such a thing as sacred idleness – the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected.” (G MacDonald)


Finally forced into REST – I Iearned that rest is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle.


My first time sitting still lasted five minutes. No great accomplishment but a start. Being in high gear meant it would take time for me to put myself into a lower gear. I needed to be patient and practice.

Gradually in those times of solitude (no interruptions, no TV and no radio) I heard my own heartbeat. I knew I lived. I started to understand me.

And into this solitude God came. My intentional slowing down led me to know myself as God made me. I began to enjoy these times of refreshment. I learned more about me.

REST is not an easy thing to accomplish. It takes perseverance, discipline and time.

When was the last time you found REST?


Into our busy lives I ask for time to REST – to restore our bodies and minds. And in that REST I know You will be there, Lord. Come and restore us to knowing You. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

February 02, 2012

Discovering Fresh Mercy - M. Laycock

I've been doing the Joy Dare with Ann Voskamp and many others for the past month. Ann has provided a list for us to follow, spurring us to notice three things each day that make us grateful for God’s grace and mercy. Some days it’s easy. Some days not so much. But even on those days the effort is worth it. Looking for gratitude. Looking for grace and mercy. How could you go wrong?

Well, we’re all human and we all do go wrong. I discovered even this process can take me off track in a subtle way. It was day eleven. We were to find three yellow things that struck us as “fresh mercy.” I hunted around my daughter’s small house, where I’m spending my days lately as I undergo radiation treatments. The first pick was sitting on the living room couch - a yellow afghan crocheted by my mother-in-law. The second was just as clear - a yellow turban I use to keep my bald head warm. It was the third item that gave me pause, not because it was hard to find - it was in the living room too - a retro chair my daughter covered herself - but it gave me pause because I realized I was focusing on the items, rather than the mercy or the One who dispensed it.

I found three things that were obvious, things that did bless me. But did I really recognize them as “fresh mercy?” That was the point of the exercise but I realized as I photographed my last pick, that wasn’t where my mind or heart was focused. I was focused on the finding, not on seeing how and why they were gifts from God.

So I took a few moments to ponder each one again. And I found the mercy was there, as easy to find as the objects themselves. I just had to take a few extra moments to recognize it. And the Joy Dare is working. The joy was there too, bubbling up as I recognized how much my God loves me. Enough to provide things like yellow afghans, turbans and retro chairs and then to show me that they are indeed fresh mercies dispensed to one who does not deserve them.

“If I say, “my foot slips,” Your mercy, O Lord, will hold me up.” Psalm 94:18