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Monthly Archives: October 2008

October 31st

Hallowe’en or Halloween

The ‘holiday’ originated, with the Celts who lived in the areas of Ireland, Great Britain and France. Druids who were religious priests, scientists and judges, had pagan festivals and rituals. The Fire Festival known as Samhain was celebrated at harvest, the Celtic New Year.  Samahain was a solemn night in the Celtic year when spirits of the dead moved among human beings. 

In 835 A.D. Pope Gregory IV moved the church’s “Feast of All Saints” from the spring to November 1 to replace Samhain. Today All Saints Day is observed by many Christian people to honor believers who have died. The night before All Saints Day is known as All Hallow’s Eve. The church denounced the practices of the Druids and labeled it as witchcraft, which is how Halloween became known as a witch’s holiday. 

The Halloween celebrated in North America today is much different than in the past. It is said that when Irish and Scottish immigrants came to North America in the 19th century they brought with them their traditions of Halloween and the night became an occasion for pranks and mischief. The door to door tradition came about in the late 1920’s to early 1930’s in an effort to curb the vandalism, the children were given treats from homeowners. 

A lot of that I didn’t know, but there didn’t used to be “google” either! It was probably about 16 years ago that we decided that Halloween wasn’t for us. We found other things to do on that night. We didn’t participate in giving out treats nor did we go door to door soliciting treats from others. I am not judging anyone who does participate, it just wasn’t something that we felt comfortable with. I can admit that as our kids got older we were asked each year why couldn’t they do it, their friends and classmates were doing it. I don’t think we ever came up with a good reason, we just felt uncomfortable with the way that Halloween was becoming increasingly more and more evil even its appearance. The spider webs on trees, the ghosts and “people” hanging in trees, the costumes were mainly witches or devils and even though we didn’t have all the answers for our kids as to “why” they/we did participate, we stood firm in our decision. We still bought candy/treats but instead of having our kids go to strangers for candy, we gave it out in our home. 

There is a good article about Halloween on Crosswalk, so if you’d like to read it, click here. The article is written by Julie Ferwerds a Crosswalk.com contributing writer. She makes a good point about Hallowed and Holy…The dictionary defines “hallowed,” from which the word, “Halloween” comes, as holy, consecrated, sacred, revered. In my mind, that opens up the question, “Who is being worshiped and revered on Halloween?” That is so obvious, but I hadn’t thought about it before! Slow, I know! She goes on to say: On the Satanic Calendar, Halloween is one of the most significant nights of the year when “attempts are made to break the bond which is keeping the doors to the underworld closed.” Sexual rituals are performed in association with demons and blood sacrifices called, “The Blood Feast of the Dead.” Both human and animal sacrifices are included, with the focus placed on children ages seven to eighteen.”

It is disturbing to think about these things and what goes on in this world but we have all the protection we need at our disposal, we only need to choose to use it. 

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preperation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the firey darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perserverance and supplication for all saints;” Ephesians 6:10-18

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2008 in Devotions, Inspiration, Uncategorized

 

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I Get What I Need

What I Need — Collin Raye

I knew all the answers
The way my life should go
And when I used to say my prayers
I would tell God so
It seemed He wasn’t listening 
I thought He didn’t care
But lookin’ back
It’s plain to see
He was always there

‘Cause I prayed for strength 
And I got pain that made me strong
I prayed for courage
And got fear to overcome
When I prayed for faith
My empty heart brought me to my knees
I don’t always get what I want
I get what I need

I’m not sayin’ that it’s easy
Or that it doesn’t hurt
When nothing seems to go my way
Nothing seems to work
These days I’m getting better
At goin’ with the flow
Accepting that sometimes the answer 
To a prayer is no

‘Cause I prayed for strength 
And I got pain that made me strong
I prayed for courage
And got fear to overcome
When I prayed for faith
My empty heart brought me to my knees
I don’t always get what I want
I get what I need

Every time I’ve had a door slammed in my face
In time a better one was opened in its place

I prayed for strength 
And I got pain that made me strong
I prayed for courage
And got fear to overcome
When I prayed for faith
My empty heart brought me to my knees
I don’t always get what I want
I get what I need

Oh I don’t always get what I want
I get what I need

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2008 in Devotions, Inspiration, Uncategorized

 

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Worry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am a mom of 3 and the wife of a cop…I worry. Not as much as I used to but there are times when I have a knot in my stomach and a literal pain in my neck and whether I wish to believe it or not, I am worrying.

“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”–Winston Churchill

My common sense tells me that worrying accomplishes nothing, but right or wrong, there are times when I worry. When I catch myself worrying, I take a couple of deep breaths and ask forgiveness from God who created the Heavens and the Earth and I remind myself that He is able, He knows my situation and He’s got it. As a mom and wife, I always think that I’ve got to fix everything and control everything and then I laugh at myself and say “who are you kidding?” I am not in control and I cannot and should not fix everything. Wake up call anyone?

“Most blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters that spreads out its roots by the river; and it shall not see and fear when heat comes; but its leaf shall be green. It shall not be anxious and full of care in the year of drought, nor shall it cease yielding fruit.” — Jeremiah 17:7,8

Believes in, trusts in and relies on the Lord…whose hope and confidence the Lord is. When I am piling worry upon worry, am I believing in, trusting in, relying on the Lord? No. I am taking away from Him that which He has promised to take care of. In a sense I am subconsciously telling Him that I don’t think He can handle it. 

“Throw all your worry on him, because he cares for you.” — 1 Peter 5:7 International Standard Version 2008

“Turn all your anxiety over to God because He cares for you.”  GOD’s Word Translation

I know this, and yet I find myself still worrying and trying to fix things. It is a process as are all aspects of living the Christain life, we will only complete that process when we meet Him face-to-face. I still am learning daily how to relinquish control and turn my worries over to God and not take them back. 

“We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends, and living our lives.” –Maya Angelou

“Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, You exalt Yourself as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name. But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You.” –1 Chronicles 29:11-14  NASB

Do we think that it is possible that God, as described in 1Chronicles 29:11-14, is not able to help us in our need? God is head over all, in His hand are power and might. He’s got it covered.

Everyday, I need to remind myself that God is able, He can handle anything that I am dealing with,  if I ask for His help, He will help in His time and according to His will for my life.

“Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams] To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it).” — Ephesians 3:20-21 Amplified Bible

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2008 in Devotions, Inspiration, Uncategorized

 

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What Can One Person Do?

Are there ever times in your life where you look around, see the true need in this world and think, “Wow this is awful, so many people in this world are suffering, but I am just one person, what can I do to make a difference?” I know that I have felt that way many times. It is overwhelming when I see the plight of so many around the world and I just don’t know what I could possibly do to comfort these people or ease their burdens from half a world away.

I suppose if everyone thought that way the needs of those suffering would never be met. There are organizations that help people in various ways in countries all over the world, but they depend upon the individuals who help in whatever way they can. One person, doing what they are able to do, and one person encouraging others to do what they are able to do, and so on. Each of these charitable organizations have started with one person, and with the help of others they have become national and international organizations.

Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, in his book Living Beyond the Limits says that when the shoe box campaign Operation Christmas Child began in 1993 they expected to receive a few thousand boxes, instead over twenty thousand boxes came in and he says “Operation Christmas Child took off like a rocket and spread like wild fire. It kindled passionate generosity in people’s hearts.”One child giving to another. Simple as that. The project is do-able, it is one shoe box filled with school supplies, toiletry items, socks, small toys and candy. That is something anyone can do. If everyone did it or contributed how many boxes would there be, representing how many children? In 2007, Canadians donated 661,530 shoe boxes to the world’s needy children. For more information you can visit the website forSamaritans Purse/Operation Christmas Child.  

Okay, Franklin Graham has connections, he had a way to get the message out and make sure people were aware of this incredible opportunity to help children around the world. So do you think to yourself, I can’t do what Franklin Graham did, what Samaritan’s Purse did?

You can. With God’s help you can. If God is in it, He will bless it and make it grow.

Orphans

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27 NIV

Here is a fact that should get our attention: according to the UN in 2006 there were 12 million AIDS orphans in sub-Saharan Africa alone and it was estimated that in only 4 years, that number will have risen to 18.4 million. The number of orphans in the world is increasing dramatically and it is expected to reach 250 million by 2017. How can one person help? 

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

In June 2002 a young mother, named Catherine, was studying “The Prayer of Jabez” and she was struck by the idea of expanding her territory, she wondered how she could do that and what could she do?

“And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.” 

1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (NKJV)

It was at that time that the Jabez Blanket Ministry was born. Catherine Trafford Welk and her sister Sharon Trafford James worked together to create a way to help orphans. Catherine and Sharon did not know how big this ministry would be but they began, led by God, to help in whatever way He wanted, and “God granted ‘them’ what ‘they’ requested.”

The Jabez Blanket Ministry provides “Backpacks of Hope” for  Orphans living in unimaginable poverty in Orphanages around the world. What began as an idea of ‘what can I do?’ has become a valuable way to help orphans, meeting both physical needs and spiritual needs. The Jabez “Backpack of Hope” contains a colorful, hand-crocheted or knitted blanket for warmth, a comforting Teddy Bear “friend” and essential School Supplies for learning. If the longing eyes of a tiny, fragile child were to look up into your eyes, and you were able to place a warm blanket in his/her hands and a precious little bear next to his/her heart, who would be the happier? The child or you?

Since its inception in 2002, Jabez Blanket Ministry has shipped Backpacks of Hope to 20 countries around the world! What began as a simple question: ‘what can I do?’ has, with God’s blessing, become an international ministry reaching orphans in some of the poorest nations across the globe.

Countries that have received blessings from Jabez Blanket Ministry include the following: Haiti, Zambia, Kenya, Eastern Siberia, Ukraine, Russia, Guatemala, Peru, Columbia, Romania, Nepal, Swaziland, Bengal, Lebannon, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Honduras, Uganda, Sudan and China.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”  Proverbs 31: 8,9 NIV

There are MILLIONS of Orphans needing your help, in some way, to the extent you are able. Would you consider bringing comfort, hope, and joy to a hurting child who looks to anyone to help?
For Blanket Instructions, or further Ministry information, or to help with the basic material costs of a Jabez “Backpack of Hope” (tax receiptable), kindly contact:

Jabez Blanket Ministry International
P.O. Box 336
Killaloe, Ontario, Canada
KOJ 2AO
E-mail: jabezblanketministry@sympatico.ca

The Jabez Blanket Ministry is a Canadian Registered Charity, working jointly with established North American Organizations.

One person with God’s help can make a difference! 

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2008 in Devotions, Inspiration, Uncategorized

 

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Nothing Can Be Hidden From God


Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” –Hebrews 4:13

 

I wonder what it is like to live day to day with this Biblical truth in mind? My day to day life doesn’t reflect this. It should but sadly it doesn’t. Actually, thinking that God sees everything we do and hears everything we say is a sobering thought. A little frightening too. I’m ashamed to say it but there are things that I do and say each day that I would not do if the Lord was at my side physically. Seriously!

 

From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth – he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.” Psalm 33:13-22

 

I suppose it is both comforting and disconcerting. After all, He is watching to protect us and to hold us accountable. He is our shield our deliverer. He also knows where there is real faith and where there is only a head-knowledge or acknowledgement of facts. He knows the sin in our lives and holds us responsible for unconfessed and unrepentant sins. The unconfessed sin in our lives becomes a barrier between us and God. He loves the creatures of his hand and longs to fellowship with us. Since God sees all, there is no covering of sin. It is not just a “good idea” to confess our sins, it is divinely required of us in order to maintain fellowship with God. He created us to have fellowship with Him and in His mercy He forgives us when we admit and confess our sins and He then restores us to fellowship with Him.

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” — Hebrews 8:12

Isn’t it wonderful that “His mercies are new every morning?” 

“Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in him!”  —Lamentations 3:22-24

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2008 in Devotions, Uncategorized

 

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Thanksgiving…Canadian Style

This is the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. It is celebrated on the second Monday in October. It is a day set aside to give thanks to God for the close of the harvest season.
“It is said that the history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Orient. In 1578 he held a formal ceremony in Newfoundland and Labrador to give thanks for surviving the long journey.”
I’ve never thought that much about how the holiday originated, just like I’ve never thought much about Labor Day, it just is.
I’m thinking about the many Thanksgivings that I have celebrated. It is one of those holidays that is associated with food. Turkey with all of the trimmings and pumpkin pie. Food has a certain power to trigger memories. The smells of foods as well as the taste can flood your mind with memories like nothing else can, except maybe videos. There are a lot of foods that make me think of my mom and grandma, both excellent cooks by-the-way. Our family gatherings, like those the world over, are largely centered around food. It was that way in Biblical times too now that I think about it, the holidays either dictated what you ate or what you couldn’t eat!
Anyway, this is my favorite time of year. Living in Ontario we are treated to awesome displays of color, yellows, oranges, reds, greens even purples against a beautiful clear blue sky! The mornings and evenings are crisp and the afternoons often are warm. Who could ask for anything more?

It is also usually tradition to go around the table and everyone say what they are thankful for. This holiday, because of work schedules, we have done our own thing, so no big family sit-down dinner. I was a bit disappointed but hey, ya gotta go with the flow. That being said, I decided that turkey day was today, Saturday. We had our meal early (those who were present) because my hubby was going to work tonight, the others got a plate when they could. We didn’t do the “what are you thankful for” thing. So, I’ll go now. I am thankful for my family (aww) and for our health. I am thankful for the free country that we live in. I am thankful for the blessings that we have that we sometimes take for granted, food, shelter, safety, transportation etc. Most of all I am thankful for the gift of God, His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ and for my salvation in Him.
“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” — Ephesians 2:8-9

It was always a tradition to go for a walk in the woods enjoying the smells and colors up close. Our family has property in the mountains, so we would go in there and take a walk through the bush and collect pine cones, acorns, and especially beautiful leaves.  We used to visit my parents in north/east Ontario, in the Ottawa Valley area on the fringes of Algonquin Park, and when we went there for Thanksgiving we usually did a nice walk in the bush on Sunday afternoon. This is a tradition that has been long left behind, it has been probably 11 years since we’ve done that, so my kids have largely missed out on that tradition. That was a favorite tradition, unfortunately one that died when my mom died over ten years ago.  We have tried to keep up other traditions for the kids and ourselves so that we can live happily despite the sadness of that situation. We continue to do all that we can do to build tradition with our family and to make memories for them to look back on fondly and pass some of it on to their families.

“This day and your life…are God’s gift to you, so give thanks and be joyful always!”
—Anonymous

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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Gratitude…

Gratitude

“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” –Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I think members of society in general are lacking gratitude and especially members of this society…in North America.

Why is it that those who live with such advantage, are some of the least grateful?

Gratitude: from dictionary.com: the quality or feeling of being grateful, thankful

Grateful: from dictionary.com: warmly or deeply appreciative of kindness or benefits received;

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

North Americans have a great deal to be grateful for. Not everyone is ungrateful of course but it seems as though they either don’t knowhowto express it or they don’t know that theyshould.

Do we raise our kids this way? When an uncle or family friend sends a gift, do we make sure that our children know enough to say thank you, do we dial the number and put our kid on the phone to say thank you to Great-Uncle So&So? When I was being raised my sisters and I were taught that we should thank people for gifts, one way or another, and whether or we liked the gift or not. Is this lack of appreciation because parents are dropping the ball? I don’t know about other people, but I have tried to teach my kids the concept of gratitude. They are not perfect, but they always say, ‘thank you for supper’ or ‘thanks for the ride’ or whatever.

Most importantly, are we teaching our children to give thanks to God? Look around, see what the Lord has made. He has blessed us exceedingly abundantly more than we could ever ask or think. Yes, day-to-day we all have struggles, we have tragedies and disappointments. It is true that some days we have really had it…no more, do not talk to me, don’t touch me, don’t ask me for anything…sound familiar? Whether you are a new babe in Christ or a seasoned mature child of God, you will have those days. We are not exempt from troubles.

2 Cor. 4:14-18

“because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people maycause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. Forwhat is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

I think another issue is a feeling of entitlement.People seem to feelentitledhave whatever they want, and by feeling entitled, they don’t see the need for gratitude.

What does it mean? Definition: belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges

Articles of the Faith: The unfortunate age of entitlement in America – by Anthony B Robinson

Some will remember the hot book of the 1970’s “I’m OK – You’re OK” by Thomas Harris. Harris’ tome was part of the self-esteem movement of the the time. Thirty years later, self-esteem seems to have morphed into entitlement. Perhaps the book for this decade will be, “I’m Entitled and So Are You! (Though Perhaps Not Quite So Much as Me).” Such a book, popular as it might prove, would lack therapeutic value. A more helpful book might bear the title, “I’m Not Entitled and Neither Are You — So Get Over It!”

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/308772_faith24.html

I think that kind of makes my point, enough said. It is a good article, read it at the site, listed above.

James 4:6

” But he give us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

I have tried to be consistent in keeping a gratitude journal over the years, have not always been faithful to it but I found that it was a good tool to train your brain into that way of thinking.I even wrote in my gratitude journal on the day that my mom suddenly passed away. I could barely see the page or the pen strokes because my eyes were so swollen from crying, but I filled in a few things that I was grateful for. I was grateful for the comfort of my other family members, the tender sweet hugs of my chubby armed daughter. I was grateful that the day before, my last day with my mom, we had a good visit and as I left her, our last words to each other were ‘I love you, see you tomorrow.’ Even on what was the worst day of my life, I was able to think of something/things that I was grateful for. I am not wealthy, I have plenty of bills, nothing comes easy for my family,but what I have, I am thankful for.No matter how crappy my day has been, if I can think of even a few things to be grateful for it really makes me feel better! It is worth at try.

“We count our miseries carefully, and accept our blessings without much thought

— Chinese Proverb

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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