Saturday, December 29, 2007

Article in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix for Saturday Dec. 29/07

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Article in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix for Saturday Dec. 29/07

Each day of calendar an inspiration

Darlene Polachic, The StarPhoenix

Published: Saturday, December 29, 2007

If someone had told Lisa Braun when she was 15 that she would one day be back living in her hometown of Warman producing inspirational calendars, she would have laughed in scorn.

"My life was pretty messed up back then and I couldn't get away from Warman fast enough. I said I would never come back. But, never say never. God has a sense of humour."

Six years ago, Braun and her husband Roger and their children moved back to Warman, where Braun cares for her family and passionately pursues her gift for photography.

"It's not something I had training for," she says. "I know it is a gift from God. It isn't that I go out looking for pictures, or that I wait for hours for something to happen. God just seems to put me in the right place at the right time."

One example of that is an amazing photograph of a resting, snow-covered deer. "Roger and I were driving to the lake, when suddenly Roger stopped and said, 'Get out your camera.' I hadn't even noticed it, but there was a deer in the ditch with its back all covered with snow. It lay there the whole time I snapped away."

"Another time, we were going to Emma Lake for our anniversary. It was a beautiful fall day, and we were listening to praise and worship music as we drove, feeling like we were travelling with the angels. I said, 'It would be so cool, God, to see a bear right now.' We turned a corner and there was a black bear in the ditch eating berries."

Braun has loved photography since she was a child, but it was only when her youngest daughter started kindergarten that she began working at it seriously. A photographer friend who was booked to shoot a wedding and couldn't, asked if Lisa was interested in doing it. She's been doing wedding photography ever since.

"I don't have a studio," she says. "God's creation is my studio and interestingly enough, I have never yet had a wedding session rained out."

Lisa began taking photographs to Page One Printing in Saskatoon to have them made into cards which she offered for sale on the Thickwood Hills Studio Trail, a self-drive tour of artisan locations. "Page One asked if they could use some of my pictures for a Saskatchewan calendar they were producing. They ended up using six in the 2007 calendar which they sold to businesses for $2 a piece. The business could put their name and advertising information on the bottom and hand out the calendars to customers.

"I asked if I could sell the calendars, too. In three days, I sold 3,000 to about 14 businesses. I said, 'God, can it be this easy?'"

That gave Braun the idea to produce calendars of her own. She had Page One make 10,000 copies of a 2008 calendar containing 12 of her own prairie-themed photographs. In no time, she had sold every one. She decided to do a second calendar for 2008, this one an inspirational calendar with Bible verses superimposed on the photographs.

"This," she says, "is my heart. My heart is for God who gave me the gift. I love to capture what God created and bless others with it. I love putting scripture to photos."

It all happens very naturally. "When I'm taking a picture, certain words from a verse will pop into my mind. I'll already know when I'm setting up the photo exactly what verse I will use and where it will go. It is definitely God-inspired."

One such photo is of a red barn taken on a very frosty day. "I gave the duplicate prints to the son of the woman who used to live on the farm when I was a child. He picked one, and said, 'Mom would love to have a verse on it from your Bible.' I wondered if there was a verse in the Bible that mentions frost, so I looked in the concordance. Sure enough, Job 37:10 says: 'By the breath of God, frost is given.' Reading that gave me chills. I could just visualize God breathing on the earth, covering everything with hoar frost. I can never see frost again the same way."

Braun's calendars have become a popular item for fundraising. Churches, clubs, and schools buy them for $2 each (minimum of 100), imprint their own logo on the bottom, and sell them for whatever markup they want. Generally, Braun says, the calendars sell for $10 a piece.

"Osler Mission Chapel is building a new church and bought 500 to sell. Saskatoon Christian School also sells my calendars as a fundraiser."

Braun's 2008 calendars are available from her website: or by email:

Polachic is a freelance writer.

"WOW! I'm not used to this. This lady had given me a call, stating that she had seen my Inspirational calendar and thought it would make a good story. So, she came over and interviewed me. :-) It was fun! She was a wonderful lady and I enjoyed sharing with her. But there was a couple of things in this article that I felt I needed to clarify:

I never ever would have dreamed that someday my photographs would have been in a calendar, let alone my own calendar with my own photographs. I don't know if I would've 'laughed in scorn' as was written in the article but I definitely wouldn't have believed it at that point. I'm just continually amazed at what God has done in my life and around me. God is so good!

Even though I left home at age 15, I did remain in school in Warman until I graduated in 1987. My High School years were much better than my Junior High years although overall my school years weren't the worst. I had lots of friends and great teachers. I had a difficult upbringing but I didn't have any major issues with the town itself.

The Inspirational Calendar was the very first calendar I ever wanted to create because that was my passion. I love putting scripture to photos. About 15,000 calendars had been printed and OVER 10,000 calendars have been sold to date. Three different calendars were printed: Inspirational 2008, Prairie Scenes 2008 - both of these are filled with my photographs - and then a 2008 SK Scenes calendar which is Page One Printing's version with a variety of SK photographers including myself. So with all 3 of these calendars, about 15,000 or more had been printed originally. There are still more available to be sold. Scott's Parable Christian Store in Saskatoon has also been selling the Inspirational Calendar as well and will still have them available in the New Year.

Thanks for reading and God bless you all!

Friday, December 14, 2007

How does one deal with pain??

Yesterday I came on the scene of an accident near my kids school. It had just barely happened. A mother was holding her son's body in the ditch, another body was laying face down in the snow close by, others were still in the crushed van and a white moving type van was farther on in the ditch. It was horrifying. I was shaking and could hardly drive. I was on my way to the school to pick up my own son, who was at a basketball game, which these players were coming to play.

O God, how does one deal with the pain? Did these kids know you? Did the young man who was dead on impact know you? How will his mother deal with this? How will the town of these kids deal with this? How about the member of the team that were waiting for these teammates to come join them for the game? How does one overcome this, the hurt, the pain, the loss, the questions of why, the guilt, the feelings of why not me - why him, why did I cross the highway???? My heart is so torn for the mom. I could hardly breathe as I drove by with my own son sitting in the seat beside me as I watched her cradle her dead son. How fair is that? Why her and not me? I had been running a few minutes late and if I hadn't, I would have seen it happen - I would have been there.

This morning during my devotions I read Psalm 38:4, 6, 7b, 8,15-17, 21, 22
"My guilt overwhelms me--it is a burden too heavy to bear...I am bent over and racked with pain. My days are filled with health is broken. I am exhausted and completely crushed. My groans come from an anguished heart....For I am waiting for you, O Lord. You must answer me, O Lord my God. I prayed, "Don't let my enemies gloat over me or rejoice at my downfall." I am on the verge of collapse, facing constant pain...Do not abandon me, Lord. Do not stand at a distance, my God. Come quickly to help me, O Lord my savior."
How totally appropriate. Even as I'm typing this, the song playing in the background goes, "You are faithful to me Lord, you are faithful to me Lord..." In spite of the pain and not being able to understand why things happen like this all around us, God continues to be faithful. He is there with His strong right hand, upholding us and comforting us. He wants to hold this woman, he cannot bear to see her go through this alone. This mom's pain is going to be unbearable! The thoughts that must be running through her mind. I can't get her off my mind. I went into a fitful sleep thinking about her and the boys, dreamed of her and woke up thinking about her. My heart is sooooo heavy for her, grieving for her, praying for her, wanting to hug her. The pain that I feel is too great - how much more is hers??? I don't even know who she is and I feel such a loss for her.

My soul cries within me, O God!!! My heart is anguished! How it hurts with such pain at the loss of the son. Father, how your heart hurt when you lost your son Jesus on that cross and you had to turn your back on him so that he could carry the weight of our sins into the depths of hell so that we could be freed and live forever. My chest is tight, tears coarse down my cheeks and my breathing is rapid. I cannot imagine! O the pain of those players waiting at the school when they heard the news that their teammates would not be joining them. O the horrified screams of the vehicle behind them as they drove by the van before them crumpled and their bodies thrown into the ditch. O God, how much can one endure? Who are we without you?? We need you so bad. I do not understand why things happen this way. But do I need to understand or do I just need to trust in you God, in spite of the difficulties around me.

I always find it so amazing how God entertwines people's lives. My friend Nora had called me last night about something that I needed to call my friend Anne about today. Had Nora not called yesterday, I wouldn't have called Anne today. Anne had been called last night by another friend, Linda and was asked to pray for me and for those involved in the accident. It really hit home for Anne. You see, a few years ago when she was 16, she was involved in a single vehicle rollover and she was the driver. The van was full of young girls, including her best friend and her sister. They were all celebrating one of the girls' birthday that day. The best friend and the sister both died that night. Anne knows what this mother last night is going through - what she will remember the rest of her life. Anne has not been able to go through that dark journey without the Lord on her side. There's no way that she was able to make it out of the pit of guilt, despair and unforgiveness if it hadn't been for God's help.

You know, God knew exactly who I needed to talk to today and He had it all perfectly orchestrated. That's what I love about God. He knows exactly who you need in your life, at just the right time and who will say what you need to hear at that time. God is so good! In spite of the hurt and pain that each day can bring, God is faithful and He is good and He is always there to walk us through difficult times. Oh how can we not but journey together with Him rather than trying to go through life on our own. God never meant for any of us to travel alone in our life - He is always sending people through our lives to travel with us, to help carry the load. He wants nothing more than for us to give our pain and our sorrow to Him to bear and to lean on Him for His strength. Without Him we are nothing - without Him we can do nothing. In spite of the pain, in spite of the burdens of our sins, in spite of the many times we mess up, in spite of the hardships that happen around us, God is there, wanting to walk us through, wanting to give it all to Him to bear. Give it to Him today, won't you? In spite of the darkness of pain and sadness looming around us, waiting to engulf us in it's never ending claws, God is there, wanting to shed His glorious, heavenly light into our lives, waiting for us to throw our arms up in weakness abandonment to draw strength from Him and to give it all to Him to bear. As we cry out, "O God, how much more, I can't bear the pain!" He gives us His Hand, He reaches down through the heavens and carries us under His wings. That is the best place to be, in His arms of comfort and forgiveness. Go to Him, dear one, go to Him today.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Friday Morning "Believing God" Bible Study - Fall 2007

Okay, yes I went a little camera happy with this group. :-) I had already viewed the video 2 times so I was more free to run around and take photos. :-) I love the many shots that I was able to capture of our wonderful time together. The photos of the caregivers and the kids are priceless - are they not?? I missed the ladies that couldn't join us this morning - 13 women were missing of the ones that had originally signed up for this study. There were 28 ladies that had registered and bought books.
I sure enjoyed the sharing by a few of the ladies in church on Sunday morning. I know hearts were touched, and seeds were planted and gave a hunger for God's Word and a fellowship like we shared. Thank you to you ladies who shared.
I've posted the writeups from the paragraphs that you wrote up and shared with us in the comment section below. Please be sure to click on it and read them for yourselves. It's such a blessing to see how God has spoken to each one of you.
I thank God for you! I love you all! I live for these studies - they are a HUGE part of my life. God has brought so many women through my life over the past 15 years through Bible studies and I thank Him for each and every one - they have all taught me something. I can't wait for that great big reunion in heaven someday we're we'll all be together for eternity. :-) Amen?? Praise God!

Thursday Evening "Believing God" Bible Study - Fall 2007

This group was a smaller group but God did mighty things in the hearts of these women as well. This was one of the 3 homes that we met in - we rotated between 3 homes cause it was so nice and close to the church. It made it nice and intimate. I know that God has transformed the heart of these women and He's going to continue to work on their hearts - revealing His truths to them and guiding them through their journey in life with Him. God bless each one of them. I love them all dearly too. A couple ladies are missing in this photo - there were 7 of us altogether. Hey, how about that? God's perfect number - #7. :-) I love looking for those little things that point us to Him and remind us that He has a perfect plan for us and nothing is co-incidence or chance - everything is God-incidence - every moment divinely appointed by Him to teach us to grow and have purpose.

Be sure to read how God has worked on their hearts through the study in the comments section of this post.

Thursday Morning "Believing God" Bible Study - Fall 2007

What a wonderful group of ladies we had from around the community - we'll never forget the friendships we've made and the bond that we shared walking and growing through this study together. Here we're getting ready for the study - visiting and getting coffee and a snack to take upstairs. It's forever changed and transformed our hearts and minds.

Having done our timelines, going through our past and showing where 'Rocks of Remembrances' God has shown us. God showed us great and mighty things. I'm so proud of these ladies for taking the time and the effort to complete this very rewarding project! :-)

Holding up our shields of faith after saying our Five Statement Pledge of Faith:







Be sure to read their comments on how this study has impacted their life and what God showed them through it all.
These photos below were taken Nov. 29/07 at our brunch that we had to close things off. Thank you God for great friendships made, godly bonds with other Christian women who love the Lord. Thank you for these times together to laugh and share God's wonderful creatures - women!! We all have so many stories to tell of God's goodness in our lives, don't we??

Thoughts on "Believing God"

Where do I begin to share what the “Believing God” study did for me? Like one of the other women shared, there’s so much to say. After being involved with Women’s Bible studies for over 15 years, there has not been a study that has stretched my faith and given me new insight as this study has. God has completely humbled me in more ways than one. I am so humbled that He has allowed me to have this journey with so many other beautiful women and has allowed me to be used in this way to reach the hearts of women in such a powerful way – such a mighty way through this incredible study – to Him be all the glory. So many times I was brought to a place on my knees that God has never taken me before. Many things that have been engrained in my life, in my mind, have surfaced as such confusion at different points in my life. God has taken those and has given me new insight into the things that I’ve been taught from young up. It hasn’t all been bad. In days gone by, when I’ve looked at my past, my upbringing, I’ve often seen the bad – that is what has come to mind first and I’d have to search in my heart for the good. I’ve prayed for so long that I would be able to look at my past and God would show me the good things first, before the negative that would always seem to come to mind first. God changed that for me. The journey that He took me on to release so many hurts and mixed up concepts from my upbringing – God has done a wonderful thing and has shed light on the difficult challenges from back then. Praise God! Only God can take the bad and turn it into good that He can use to bring Him glory if we let Him.
When I was working through my timeline, which was the most difficult for me, God began showing me areas where He put Rocks of Remembrance for me. “Thus far the Lord has helped me” became such a real and transforming concept for me. It was no longer the pain/bad that was coming to mind, it was how God had put people in my life in a particular circumstance to pray for me and encourage me through the dark and difficult times. The dashes on my timeline became circles for Rocks of Remembrance that God had been there. Instead of seeing the confusion and the pain and hurt, I was seeing ROCKS of where God was present and active in my life – from birth on.
God has never promised that there wouldn’t be pain in our lives, He’s never said in His Word that life would be smooth sailing without any conflict. He promises though that He will be there through every step and He would always provide a way out of the pain and the hurt – and He would provide a way out of the temptation challenges as well – we just need to take that step of that open door rather than going through the door that always seems the easiest.
God is so good. He has taken so many things in our history, in the Bible, in the lives of those gone on before us, so many of the difficult challenges and hardships – and used them to help build character in us and in those who were going through challenges with me personally. He has taken them and has brought good out of each one and has transformed our minds and lives to be used for His glory rather than a life of ‘woe is me.’
God is teaching me that it is those circumstances in our lives and in the lives around us that those are the things that have built the character in us to transform us and for us to reflect the light of Jesus more – if we let it. Do the hardship and difficult periods in my life teach me to be better or bitter? Will I let those circumstances mold me into someone who my Lord can use and reach out to others or will I allow those circumstances to turn me into a bitter person that others see as a stumbling block and one who is just a whining and complaining over ‘woe is me’ and ‘oh, but you don’t know what I’ve had to go through or where I’ve come from.’ Those are big questions that I’ve been working on through this study. Will I believe God or simply believe in Him? Believing in Him is too easy but actually Believing God in everything is the greatest challenge.
One question that God has asked of me daily through the course of this study is – do I BELIEVE Him? Do I believe in the absolute truth of His Word and that He will guide me in the best route for me each day or will I rebell and go against Him and turn to the way that I see fit for myself or that the culture around says I am to take. These have been questions that I have been pondering for a very long time now.
Oh that I would allow God to teach me His ways and His Word – that I might have life and be set free. That I would allow my mind and my heart to be molded by the One who molded me in my mother’s womb. He sees the whole plan – He has seen my life plan since before I was born. I would be so foolish not to Believe Him! I don’t want to be foolish – I want to be wise. But I want to be wise with His wisdom, not the worlds or my own. O that my heart would remain open to His teachings and His leadings for the rest of my days. God, that my eyes would be opened to your truths and that I would be set free from this corrupted world’s way of thinking. That I would be continually willing to be transformed by the renewing of my mind through your Word and not be conformed to this worlds way of living. I want to be a different bird, Father. I want to fly a different flight than one who is continually confused by this worlds ways. I yearn to be wise beyond what my human mind can comprehend because I want my mind to be continually filled with your thoughts and your ways, O God. Take my hand and lead me every step of the way. I don’t care if others think I am weak and dependant. It is when I am weak that You Father are strong. I want my life to be completely dependant on You and Your Word – to guide me, to direct me, to give me wisdom and strength and courage and discernment. O Father that I would not be led astray by anything else around me but that I would be able to keep my heart, mind and soul focussed on You and my eternal destiny in You. No Lord, not that I want to be so heavenly minded that I am no earthly good, but that my mindset would be so trained on Your ways and thoughts that I would be fully equiped to reach out to those around me and to be an example for you that I would shed light upon the loved ones around me and on the challenging circumstances around my life each day. Father that I would be the salt, a flavor that would entice those that follow behind me. That I would walk beside those that are hurting and be their friend. That I would never put myself above and beyond anything that you do not want me to be. That my heart would be so in tune to yours that there would never be any more doubt or confusion about daily circumstances. God with all my heart I want to Believe that You are who You say You are – fully believe that You can do what You say you can do – to know that I am who You say I am and not listen to any of the lies around me – that I would continually know that I can do ALL things through Christ – and that through each day, I know with all my heart that Your Word is Alive and Active in me. O what freeing things those are Lord. I don’t want to be enslaved to the things of this world, but to live in the freedom that you have so freely given. Father I love you, I praise You, I adore You. Use me Lord, in any way that You see fit. I am Your servant.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Truth Project

Roger and I had attended The Truth Project conference this past weekend in Edmonton, AB at Northe Point Community Church. It was absolutely fantastic! There were over 800 people in attendance - it was sold out. The conference ran Friday night and Saturday all day. We came away so blessed and on fire and very excited to get back home to share it with our church, our community and others around us. It transformed our minds and opened our eyes to the lies that have been fed into our brain for a long time. We thank God for this mighty tool that He's going to use to bring truth to the lost souls in our world. There's so many things that I have struggled with in my heart for so long and this conference brought so much light into those confusing matters of my heart. The issue all along was "What Am I to Believe?? God or the world? Why do I believe what I believe? And how do I know that what I believe is really real and is really what I am to believe?" Those were deep, deep questions. WOW! It was a very full, impacting, thought-provoking 2 days. God was doing a might work in the hearts of everyone there.

The sunrise on Saturday morning was spectacular. With the three crosses standing outside on the church grounds, it was such a truthful reminder that Jesus is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life." He is the only way to God, to salvation, to eternal life. Thank you God for providing such a solid way for us to life eternally with you. It isn't anything to question or be confused about. God's message of salvation is so simple and easy but our doubts, and the lies that are fed to us confuse us so much.

WHAT IS TRUTH? was the ultimate question this weekend. What is truth? We have gone so far away from that, we hardly know what absolute truth is anymore. In a Barna Study that this project had done, those statistics showed that only a whopping 9% of Born Again Believers believe in absolute truth! That shocked us greatly! That is so scary!! What is happening to God's people?? Our world has so de-conformed our minds that we don't even know what is absolutely true and what is absolutely false anymore?? Where has the truth gone?? The world/our culture around us has filled us with so many lies, that our minds have conformed to that. The Scriptures tell us that "the truth shall set us free" and that "we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds." So, Focus on the Family have put out an incredible project called The Truth Project - you can check out their website and view their trailers. The also have a blog - and the speaker, Del Tacket, also has a blog It's definitely worth it to check those out.

Our last session on Saturday, the speaker, Del Tacket, shared the story of the Good Samaritan from the Bible. Then he asked "Who is our/your neighbor?" Who is our neighbor? It is the lost, the lonely, the outcast, the sick, the poor, the difficult, the dying, the unacceptable... and what are we to do in reaching those lost souls for Christ? Lots of food for thought as we left filled, refreshed and ready to do great work for God. :-) Who is my neighbor Lord? Who do you want me/us to reach out to, to bring hope to, to show the love of God to? Roger & I had lots to talk about as we began our drive home.

So, we're about an hour and a half from Edmonton and we pass a hitchhiker on the side of the road, it's completely dark so he really scared us by standing there on the side of the road with his thumb out. We go whizzing past, but look at each other discussing what that would mean to us and what are we to do. He took us so by surprise out there in the dark. Well, neither of us felt right just driving past him there but we were totally uncomfortable about picking him up too. Thus comes the great dilema. Are we to be a Good Samaritan or not? Who is our neighbor? Well, we've driven a long way already and have not picked him up. It doesn't make us feel good. So, silently I tell the Lord that if we see him again, we'd pick him up, not telling Roger what I had just told the Lord. I mean, come one, really, I thought, what are the chances of that, of passing him again? Maybe that was my little test for God. I don't know.

So, we stop at Lloyd for supper at 8 pm and got back on the road at 9 pm. Sure enough, just outside of Lloyd, there's the same hitchhiker. Okay Lord, here's the big test. Will we pick him up or not? We drive by and discussed again what are we to do? I quietly told Roger what I had told the Lord and his response was, "You did, hey?" :-) We kept driving in silence and Roger finally says, "Kinda feels bad when you don't do something that you said you'd do, hey?" I said, "Yep." So, we continue on, it's raining/snowing out, visibility wasn't the greatest, it's windy, cold and foggy. It was about 20 km later that Roger silently turned the van around and we backtracked back to Lloyd. There was the hitchhiker, waiting on the side of the road. He was a native man wanting to go to Saskatoon to see two of his sons that lived in the area. The older son, he told us, was a working man but lived to get money for the next high. He continually did drugs - his wife had tried to fix him but to no avail and now they both got high together on a continual basis. They have 3 young teenage kids who've too many times their parents being high on drugs or drunk. "Alvin's" other son is also a young teenage and lives with his grandma and is angry that "Alvin" doesn't live with them. "Alvin" tells us that he drank for 25 years and no longer wants that lifestyle. He'd been dry for 4-8 months and even after a friend offered to pay him $100.00 to sit and drink with him, he did not have a drink and chose to run away. "Alvin" had just been in Edmonton to attend a funeral of a young man who shot himself, committed suicide. "Alvin" shared about his family with us - a number of his family members had already passed on, including his parents - some from cancer others from suicide. He has kids across AB and SK - and many of them are on drugs or alcohol or both. He was wanting to spend Christmas with his daughter on a reserve in Northern SK. As we listened to praise and worship music, "Alvin" was thankful for the warmth and the shelter from the wind, the rest - his legs and feet were weary from all the walking he'd done. He was thankful for the food and water we gave him, the visiting and the chance to listen to some Jesus music. :-) He shared how he'd been praying on the side of the road that God would send someone to pick him up for a ride. He had left Edmonton at 12:30 pm and it was now almost 10 pm. "Alvin" told us that he was workin on doin what his mama had been doing when he was young - talkin to Jesus and readin his Bible. He didn't want the booze anymore, he just wanted Jesus.

It brought tears to our eyes. God humbled us, made us really think about things we had learned at the conference. Who is my neighbor?? "ALvin" was my neighbor and God sent him to us for a test of our faith. God showed us many things through "Alvin" and we will be eternally grateful for that experience, we will never forget it.

Oh God, that we would be in tune with your Spirit and allow You to guide our days and each of our steps. That our eyes would be opened to the hurting around us and that we would be quick to reach out to those who you put in our path. Be with "Alvin" and his family Lord, that they would all come to a deep relationship with You God. Deliver them Father from the strong holds of the lies that the alcohol and drug demons have consumed their souls with. Deliver them Lord! Help "Alvin" to be strong and to have courage and to continue to desperately pursue talkin to Jesus and readin his Bible. Thank You God for "Alvin." Give his family and his people all a hunger and a thirst for Your Truth, Your Love, Your fulfillment, Your Power. Nothing else in this world will ever, ever fill us as much as You will Lord. Oh that we would all seek the High of the Most High God, who is the best High and the safest High. Thank you God! Amen.

***Please note: all the photographs in this section taken by Tony Ruffo from Edmonton, AB ( who God put in my path to meet with and talk photography :-) and who was kind enough to email these photos so that I could share them with you all. Can you believe it...I had not brought my camera along on that trip. :-) But God is good - he sent me Tony. Thank you Tony.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Heavens Proclaiming the Glory of God

Psalm 19:1-4 "The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known. They speak without a sound or a word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world."

Being one who loves to take pictures, this verse speaks directly to my soul. I love taking photos of the skies and clouds. They are such a magnificant spectacle of the Glory of God!! Saskatchewan is definitely the 'Land of the Living Skies' WHY? Because the heavens declare the glory of God!! God made the world and everything in it and I love it when He paints sunsets and sunrises for me to enjoy and admire in awe of Him.....and of course for me to capture His beauty. :-) He loves blessing His people with His mighty wonders and I love it when He blesses me with beauty like this.

Praise His Mighty Name!

A Servant's Prayer

This morning I was at Ladies Time Out and a lady by the name of Helen (Miller) Klassen was singing for us. She's written some beautiful songs but this one in particular really spoke to my heart. It is called the Servant's Prayer. She wrote it to a missionary couple who works somewhere in the world where they can't be contacted. Very powerful words.

Servant's Prayer

Lord I desire a heart that is true

Free from my selfish motives and pride.

A heart that will humbly and freely serve You,

Draw daily strength as in You I abide.

Make me a servant that's faithful to You.

One who sees others the way that You do.

Your sevant, I want to let you work through me.

Help me be a servant faithful to Thee.

And if this old world should lure me away

Give me a passion to turn back to You.

Remind me dear Lord of the price that You paid.

Just how much You love me, You've already proved.

Make me a servant that's faithful to You.

One who sees others the way that You do.

Your servant, I want to let you work through me.

Help me be a servant faithful to Thee.

In all that I do each day that I live.

I pray through whatever You ask of me.

The love that You give will touch those I serve.

Lord I desire to glorify Thee.

Make me a servant that's faithful to You.

One who sees others the way that You do.

Your servant, I want to let you work through me.

Help me be a servant faithful to Thee.

Listening to that song, I realized that the song wasn't just for missionaries across the world or those that served in places where no one could contact them. It was a song for each one of us here to who are serving the Lord. As Helen sang that song, it was like she was singing from my heart as well. Those words have been my personal prayer many a time - Lord make me a servant that's faithful to You, I want to let You work through me, I want to glorify You Lord in the things that I do and say and I want to humbly and freely serve you without any selfish motives and pride. I daily need to draw strength from You God - I desire a heart that is true and I can only obtain that through You. When I get caught up in all the false hopes this world has to offer, Lord that I would quickly turn back to you and be reminded how much You love me and what You did for me. Thank You God for blessing me with this song today.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A New Movie called Golden Compass starring Nicole Kidman

There's a new movie coming out in December 2007 called Golden Compass and it stars Nicole Kidman. It's made by an athiest who hates the Chronicles of Narnia and has written a series of books and has made a movie completely the opposite - in the end of the movie, the children kill God. They then feel that they will have freedom and can then live as the freely please without any rules. It is coming out geared for kids and teens. Be aware of this movie and what these people are trying to do to to blind our kids and teach them athieism.

J.R. Hall from the Berean Watchman made these comments on it: (quoted with permission)

This movie greatly concerns me.

The very concept of animal familiars, called Daemons (pronounced demon), wreaks of evil. The fact that they are sugar coating some sinister literature is only going to encourage people to read the books, because they loved the movies. Although targeted at perhaps the Catholic Church, the very message of these books is clearly anti-God at the core.

I found this online.

In the first book, the clergy are portrayed as being kidnappers of children, who want to enslave their spirits to serve the Authority, which is God. The whole series is about rebelling against the Church and ultimately killing the Authority, in order to achieve true freedom. There's a subtle message of atheism being glorified and religion being diminished in the book. Philip Pullman is aiming the series at children because he wants to mess up their relationship with God and lead them into the lonely wilderness of atheism and chaos.

This is not a safe, harmless children's story.

I recall this verse:

Luk 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

My concerns with this are just as grave, but slightly different then Harry Potter. Where the Harry Potter books are subtle in the presentation of the occult, this movie is far more direct and obvious. (see the other thread on Harry Potter -- )

This movie the Golden Compass is very disturbing. The message needs to be sent out to the churches to let them no that this movie should not be promoted by, nor visited by anyone.

The fact that it is written by an atheist and is Anti-God is one thing. The other stuff within the story is far more dangerous than just an opinion on the existance of God.

A few minutes on the movies' website and you will find:

* Familiar Spirits (Daemons)
* Witches
* Wizardry
* Fortune Telling - Divination: The Golden Compass itself is called an Alethiometer, and it in itself is akin to a Ouji board, where you turn some dials, form a question in your mind, click a button, and it will review the answer. Now this doesn't really work online... but the imagery and the concept are definitely occult.

Why does this concern me?

Deu 18:10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination (witchcraft), or an observer of times (fortune teller/horoscopes), or an enchanter, or a witch,

Deu 18:11 Or a charmer(spellcaster), or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer (talks to the dead).

Deu 18:12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

Notice that these things are an Abomination to the Lord. The word abomination is from the Hebrew: תּועבה - tô‛êbah tô‛êbah (to-ay-baw', to-ay-baw') Meaning: properly something disgusting (morally), that is, (as noun) an abhorrence; especially idolatry or (concretely) an idol: - abominable (custom, thing), abomination.

So my question to Christians everywhere who think that this stuff is safe for their kids:

What part of Abomination don't you understand?

In Christ,

J.R. Hall, Executive Director
Berean Watchmen Ministries
p.o Box 38007, Preston Crossing
Saskatoon, SK, Canada, S7N 1H2

I myself find it so interesting that if someone is so against God and says He doesn't exist, then why would they make a movie focused on getting God out of the picture and killing Him in the end? Why do they feel that He needs to be killed if they insist that He doesn't exist? Interesting. Deep down, they know He exists. God help us and give us wisdom. Forgive and rescue those who are so blinded by the enemy.

You can check out another link below to read about the movie and what it is going to try to do.

Are we in the End Times??

Our Bible study group is now reading a book by Joel Rosenberg called "Epicenter" and we are also watching the DVD together. WOW! Does it ever put our world into focus. We are nearing the End Times and this book and DVD take us on a journey showing us how the past/present events in our world and in the Middle East are all coming to a climax. I highly encourage everyone to read this book and to read the Bible. We are not to live in fear but we are to be aware of what is happening in our world today. I have not been very good at that - I don't necessarily enjoy watching the news because it is just too depressing. But, I enjoy checking on the websites below on current events and how everything is playing out for the End Times. Check them out for yourself.

1 Timothy 3:1-5 "You should also know this Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control; they will be cruel and have no interest in what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. You must stay away from people like that."

Does that sound like our world, like our culture to you? It's kinda scary, actually, when you really think about it. I see stuff like that everyday. Yes, definitely, we are living in the end times and the Day of the Lord is approaching very rapidly like never before.

Reflection of Lamentations 3:19-27

This passage really hit me this week during my homework in the Believing God study with Beth Moore.

Lam. 3:19-27 "The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, "The Lord has blessed my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!" The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of his discipline."

That passage spoke to me so deeply. There are many things that I wish were different from my past, from my childhood, but they're not. BUT GOD, can take it all and help me see it all from His point of view and teach me great and mighty things in spite of the hurt and pain. He can now help me to be who HE wants me to be, not what anyone else wants me to be or not what other people in my past have said that I am. AMEN!! It doesn't matter how horrible our past, how much pain and suffering has been there, "YET I STILL DARE TO HOPE....THE FAITHFUL LOVE OF THE LORD NEVER ENDS!!" AMEN, AMEN, AND AMEN. HALLELUJAH! "Great is His faithfulness, his mercies begin afresh each morning." That verse means a lot to me - I had put that on the front page of my inspirational calendar with a photo from Camp Kadesh because that's where I met God for the first time in such a real way and I found Him to be loving, compassionate, forgiving - I got to begin to know Him for who He really was that summer so long ago in 1986 at a very critical time in my life.Glory be to God for the Hope we have found in Him.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Being a Child of God

In November 2005, I was asked to share a faith story in the Women's Journey of Faith magazine. I'll share the published format with you here. I may have saved the longer, unedited version earlier with you in another post.

You can also check out other Faith Stories from the Women's Journey of Faith website at

Being a Child of God
Story by Lisa Braun

As a child, I felt as if I didn't fit in my family. When my parents were away I would search for adoption papers so I could find my real family. I had six older siblings, born in six years, and I came along four years later. My siblings were close to each other and shared many hardships growing up, but I felt apart from them.
It wasn't easy growing up in my family; we all left home at a very young age. My mother has a mental illness, which we never really understood. Many wonderful relatives cared for us because my mother was unable to, and I thank God for them. Unfortunately, we were not taught to respect one another, and I am ashamed of how I treated my mother. I was bitter toward my parents and siblings, but God had a purpose in each of our lives.
Romans 8:28 says, “We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” I have had a problem understanding how all things can work together for good. Bad things happen which we don't understand and frustration results, but God is able to turn every circumstance around for our long-term good. Through all these things I have learned to trust God. Even a small faith is enough for God to move, but He has brought me to greater faith over the years, and has moved mountains in my life.
God has taught me to accept the differences between me and my siblings and to love and pray for them, but God also has a larger family in mind for me: His family of believers. I have been spiritually adopted into the family of God. I am amazed at His Master Plan, which is far greater than I can ever imagine
God does not promise that life will be easy when we live for Him. The Bible teaches that the more we live for Christ, the more hardships we may endure, but the more blessings we will receive as well. Wounds take time to heal, but God uses those wounds to create a more beautiful person. When I rebel against the pain, God reminds me that life is not about me. Sometimes the pruning He does in my life is for the benefit of others, and I am only an instrument of purpose that God is using.
I am often reminded of the story of Joseph in the Bible. His family didn't accept him and he experienced much pain, but God had a wonderful and far-reaching plan in mind for him. Joseph relied on God's strength to get him through the tough times, and because of this trust, Joseph became better instead of bitter. To see the tests in our lives as blessings is truly a gift from God.
In spite of my many bad choices, my blindness to His goodness, and my extreme selfishness at times, God has been faithful in fulfilling His purpose in me. It has not been easy to forgive myself for the mistakes I've made, but when I have drawn on His forgiving mercy, He has helped me and taught me to forgive myself and others on a continual basis. The enemy wants me to give up, but God promises never to test me beyond what I can bear. When I try to live in my own strength, I fail, but when I ask God for His strength, He and I are victorious. God's plan and purpose is always best. He sees the whole picture, the puzzle already put together, and each day can be exciting as I discover where the next piece fits
Why would I not trust God and rely on His faithfulness when He promises to complete a good work in me? He knows the experiences I must go through to mold me into the person He wants me to be, and to work me into His perfect purpose and plan. My greatest desire and daily prayer is that God would fulfill His will in my life. My faith journey is to seek His purpose for me.

Believing God

This Fall, I've been leading 3 Bible study groups of women on a study called "Believing God" by Beth Moore. It has just been incredible!! God has been stretching our faith so greatly and has been showing us many new and wonderful things. I can't say enough about this study. I'll share some more later in more detail.

If you'd like more information on Beth Moore and her studies, you can go to and click on Beth Moore. I believe she also has a website called that you can check out.

I've shared a number of things on Facebook as well about the study:
(The following is what I shared on the Women's Bible Studies Facebook site)

On October 3/07, I shared this:

When I was in Bolivia in '06, I attended a Bible Study with Dorothy Fehr and they were studying Believing God. After just one session, I knew I wanted to bring it back to Saskatchewan. In September, 3 different groups started this study - about 50 ladies and I lead the groups. I feel very small and inadequate but with my BIG GOD, He can use me and work through me if I am willing. It is an incredible study!! God has worked in the group already and has worked on me. I recommend it to anyone.

On October 11/07, I shared this:

This "Believing God" study by Beth Moore is just incredible! WOW! Is God stretching my faith bigtime. It is soooo good!
5 major truths to apply to everyday life bigtime are these:


Ladies, I'm believing God!! He's so real!

On Oct. 18/07, I shared this:

WOW! I can hardly describe how I'm feeling right now. I know God is working on me and in my life and is preparing me for something. Nov. 05 at a Women's Journey of Faith conference God touched me in a way that I've never been touched before. I knew then that He was preparing me for something. When He prepares you, it takes time before it is fulfilled. I know that know. Today, during the 5th week of this study, He confirmed to me that He is still preparing me, He is with me, I am to be strong and courageous and HE WILL NEVER FAIL ME! even if I have such a fear of failing Him - ooohhh, how I don't want to fail My God. He's movin in my heart big time and showing me wonderful things. I praise Him because I am fearfully and wonderfully made! Give me confidence God to do what You have called me to do. Reveal to me more the calling You have for me through all this.

I also shared on the Beth Moore facebook site and this is what I shared on there:

I am leading 3 groups of women in the study "Believing God" and am being blessed beyond description. God has somethin with the #3. By the 3rd time that I've watched it in 24 hours, the teaching is so engrained in me that my spirit wants to land on my knees and cry. We're only on #5 and I can't even relay to you how the assignments and the videos (3 times each week) have been speaking to my heart and my life. God touched me in an incredible way 2 years ago and I knew then that He was beginning to prepare me for something. Today, it was so much more confirmed to me through the 5th video of Believing God, that He is still preparing me for something no matter how afraid I am of failing Him. He has told me through Beth, through sharing from Beth about Kay Arthur, that I am to be strong and courageous and HE WILL NOT FAIL ME! That message just came across so strong on me today. Lord, I am willing. Please be with me wherever you take me.God bless you Beth for writing this study.

This was the quickest way I could share with you tidbits of what's been on my very full heart! I hope you didn't mind.
If you've taken any Beth Moore studies and you'd like to share, please leave a comment.

God bless you all!

Prayer of Scripture

WOW! It's been a long time since I've written anything here. Sorry. Sometimes things happen and I lose my courage to keep going and to stand up for what I feel God is telling me. He's workin on that for me and He's definitely been stretching me in my faith.

I've been very involved with a wonderful Bible study by Beth Moore called "Believing God". It's just's hard to find words to describe it because it's been so good. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, God gave me many scripture verses that I've been writing down on cue cards. He's given them to me to write out in a prayer, He completely and totally put them in order - I had nothing to do with it. This is what He gave me to share with you - may it be a blessing to you!

Scripture Prayer for Ladies Bible Study

I praise you Father, I praise you Jesus. I love you.
You have called us to be a holy people - holy women - you love us. Help us Father to clothe ourselves with tenderhearted mercy and kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Teach us to make allowance for one another’s faults - to see others through your eyes - and forgive others when they offend us. Keep our tongues from speaking evil, keep our lips from telling lies, turn us away from evil and teach us to do good and to work hard at living at peace with others. You are open to our prayers O God.
O Father that we would be of one mind, full of sympathy towards one another, loving one another, not repaying evil for evil or retaliating against one another but being a blessing to each other. Help us not to be overly concerned about our outward beauty but to be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is so precious to you. O God, that we would live a blameless life, a life of integrity in our homes. Father give us understanding of the incredible greatness of your power. Pour out your spirit out over us O God.
Ladies, I have never stopped thanking God for you - praying for God to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. O how I pray that your hearts would be sooo flooded with light so that you would understand the wonderful future God has promised to you, his chosen ones, whom he has called. Oh how I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance He has given to you his people, his women.
Father we can do all things through you, you give us the strength. You chose us from the beginning and things are happening God, in our lives and around us, just as you decided long ago. Long ago, even before you made the world, you chose us, you chose us, your women, you chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in your eyes. Your unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into your family and bring us to yourself through Jesus. It brings you such pleasure.
O Lord, we beg you to help us never to tell a lie and to give us neither poverty nor riches but just enough to satisfy our needs. Teach us your wisdom Lord. Oh that we would refuse to set anything evil before our eyes, to look at anything vile and vulgar. That we would hate crooked dealings and have nothing to do with them. Lord that we would reject perverse ideas and stay away from evil and not tolerate it when others slander their neighbors or to tolerate conceit and pride.
O God, satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Cleanse our hearts God, and cleanse the hearts of our descendants so that we will love you with all our heart, and soul so we may live. Give us a relaxed attitude Father - cure us of jealousy of others because it only rots us away. Teach us to be wise women building our house - not to be foolish tearing it down.
Thank you God, Thank you Father. In the precious Holy name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Scripture Prayer compiled by Lisa Braun for
Women’s Bible Study Nov. 2007
Taken completely from NLT of God’s Word
References: Col. 3:12,13; Ps. 34:12-16; 1 Pet. 3:10-12; 1 Pet. 3:8-9; 1 Pet. 3:1b-4; Ps. 101:2; Eph. 1:19a; Eph 1:16-18; Phil 4:13; Eph 1:11; Eph 1:4-5; Prov. 30:7-9; Ps. 101:3-5; Ps. 90:14; Deut. 30:6; Prov. 14:30; Prov. 14:1

Thursday, March 08, 2007

An Instrument of Peace

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace

Where there is hatred, let me show love
Where there is injury, Pardon…
Where there is doubt, Faith…
Where there is despair, Hope…
Where there is darkness, Light…
and where there is sadness, Joy…

Grant that I might not so much seek
to be consoled as to console…
to be understood as to understand…
to be loved as to love…

For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born
to eternal life.

Beauty Tips

Beauty Tips

For attractive lips
speak words of kindness
For lovely eyes
seek out the good in people
For a slim figure
share your food with the hungry
For beautiful hair
let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day
For poise
walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone
People, even more than things,
have to be restored, renewed,
revived, reclaimed, and redeemed;
never throw out anyone. Remember,
if you ever need a helping hand,
you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older,you will discover that you have two hands;
one for helping yourself,
and the other for helping others.

How to Plant Your Garden

How To Plant Your Garden
First, you Come to the garden alone,
while the dew is still on the roses.
1. Peace of mind
2. Peace of heart
3. Peace of soul
1. Squash gossip
2. Squash indifference
3. Squash grumbling
4. Squash selfishness
1. Lettuce be faithful
2. Lettuce be kind
3. Lettuce be patient
4. Lettuce really love one another
1. Turnip for meetings
2. Turnip for service
3. Turnip to help one another
1. Thyme for each other
2. Thyme for family
3. Thyme for friends

Planting the Seed

Today, I shared with another Women's group in a small town not far from where I live. It was a good morning! God is sooooo good! The same passage of scripture I used to open my talk, the leader this morning read to us and prayed for me before I shared what God laid on my heart. You know, God has really been stretching me to begin sharing with other women in different communities - to start speaking at different ladies events. He does so many wonderful things each time!! Every time before I share, after I've written out what I want to share, the enemy throws so many lies at me throughout the day. Lies like, "Of they're not going to like what you say, or It's not good enough, or That sound so stupid"....and they go on and on. But God always confirms with me that what I've written out on paper, what He's laid on my heart is what the women need to hear that morning. He reassures me time and time again. God is so faithful!! So, here's what I shared with the ladies this morning:

Planting the Seed

I want to start with these verses that came to my mind as ideas have been compiling in my mind for this talk that I was asked to give today. What of my heart did I wish to share with you today on Planting the Seed. Let’s read:
Matthew 13:3b-8 “…A farmer went to plant seed. 4 Some seeds were planted along the road, and birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds were planted on rocky ground, where there was little soil. The plants sprouted quickly because the soil wasn't deep. 6 But when the sun came up, they were scorched. They withered because their roots weren't deep enough. 7 Other seeds were planted among thornbushes, and the thornbushes grew up and choked them. 8 But other seeds were planted on good ground and produced grain. They produced one hundred, sixty, or thirty times as much as was planted.”

When I think of planting seeds and of this passage, so many pictures came through my mind. What are the roads, thorns, birds, rocks, the sun, withering plants, good ground and grain in our lives, in my life? All plants start with a seed and I am a plant. There have been so many times when seeds have been planted in my life to help me grow or scorch or choke or wither but there has always been a gardener, whether I saw him or not. The planting of that tiny seed is where I want to begin.

As I was growing up, my mother was often too sick to take care of me. Aunts and Uncles would take me into their home and they would care for me and nurture me. They were planting seeds of love and care into my life that would affect me forever.

There was a minister in the church I grew up in and he always made me feel good about who I was. He did not portray a critical or judgemental spirit. He showed interest in who I was and I always liked him and looked up to him. There was something about him that drew me to him and what he had and believed in. He was planting seeds of acceptance and love and showed me that I was made special.

In my neighborhood, we often had children’s clubs, Good News Clubs and 5 Day clubs. I loved those as a child and looked forward to them so much. It was a very positive experience in my life. Those young people who taught those clubs worked through Child Evangelism and they planted seeds of God’s love and wonderful stories in my mind and heart. I will never forget those memorable seeds.

Even though my mom was often too sick, and not herself, she tried to plant seeds of love into my life. I didn’t always accept them well but looking back now I know that she did what she could and what she knew how in spite of her limitations of pain and sickness. She never gave up trying to plant seeds into my life – even though she often hurt so much. She taught me to pray – that’s often all she did because there were times she did not know what else to do. She also taught me to pray everyday for my future spouse – my prayer was that I wanted to be a mom and a wife and that I would marry a tall, dark-haired handsome Christian man.

As a teenager I was rebellious and I left home at age 15, there was the mother of a friend of mine that invited me to live in their home for a time and she treated me like her own daughter. She accepted me as her own, loved me, talked with me, cried with me and encouraged me. She was planting, sowing seeds into my life.

This mother’s daughter, a dear friend, who saw how messed up I was becoming because of alcohol, partying and other wrong choices I was making at such a young age, also planted seeds of love into my life. She was my friend and loved me but never took part in what I did. There came a point where she really encouraged me to go and work at camp for the summer. I felt I had no other place to go – my brother had just kicked me out of his home, there was no way I was going back to live with my parents, so I decided to go to this camp at the lake. That became a huge gardening season of my life that has brought in a harvest time and time again. The director of the camp at the time gave me his Bible, the counselors were my friends, cried with me and prayed with me, other young people that I worked with showed me the many different types of homes that we come from and that I wasn’t the only one. Because of this good friend’s persistence and gentle nudging, my life was blessed through this garden in a season of my life.

When Roger, the tall, dark-haired handsome man came into my life, neither of us were living a life honoring to God. But there were many people who planted seeds in our lives, many examples around us of God’s love and acceptance. We knew we did not want to continue in this lifestyle, but it was hard to draw out those roots, those seeds that were buried so deep into bad soil. The dear Friend who had encouraged me to go to camp, invited Roger and I to go to an evangelical meeting in the city and that night, my tall, dark-haired handsome man had many questions. Later, after he went home, alone in his bedroom, down on his knees he invited Jesus to be a part of his life. I phoned my mom and said, “Mom, I’m marrying a Christian man.” God had answered my prayer. He had given me a tall, dark-haired, handsome Christian man. That seed that my mom had planted had grown and blossomed. J
So many of these seeds that were planted in our lives, drew us out of our partying lifestyle which we were choking in and slowly, through good times and in bad, released us of their hold and we began growing together into trees that grew near the water. Even though our roots were continually reaching for that living water, there were many times in which our branches would try to grow through thorn bushes and thistles. The winds would come and bend us the wrong way, and often break. But then the sun would come out after those rainy, windy days and have us yearning for, thirsting for and reaching out for that living water again. The gardener would come and prune those dying branches, take away those dying, unfruitful limbs and nurture us to blossom as our roots continued to stretch towards the water and our branches reached towards the sky.

Times were not easy – life was not easy. We both had a career, we were trying to find new friends, trying to establish ourselves in a church, buying a home, beginning a family, and continually trying to break free from the thornbrushes and rocks of our lives. But life was never meant to be easy, we were never promised an easy life. God’s Word tells us that it is a rough, narrow way, but a blessed path to eternity and He is there with us every step of the way.

Over the years, many, many people have planted seeds in my life, in our lives. The list is endless. Friend’s parents who were like parents to me. Women who have been a mentor to me and been a godly example for me as I grew into womanhood learned how to be wife and then into stepped into motherhood. There are women that have laughed with me through the silly and joyful times and then cried with me through the tough, rough and sad times. Then there are the older women that have taught me how to love my husband and take care of my home and raise my children. The couples that have reached out to us and have been friends to us. There are men that have been a part of my husband’s life and the older men that have been like a father to my husband. Oh the pastors and church leaders that taught us so much and planted seeds of discipleship and nurturing into our lives. Then there are those parents that are an example to my children. Those lovely women and young ladies who have watched over my children when they were young so that I could have some time away or take part in or lead a Ladies Bible Study group. The kids that have befriended my kids, the youth that have been godly examples to my kids, the adults at church that have encouraged my kids and have taught them Sunday School and clubs. The teachers that have come through my children’s lives at school…..the list could go on and on. So many good seeds that have been planted into our lives and that we have been so eternally grateful for. For all these seeds, there will be a time of great reaping.

When I think of the passage of the farmer sowing or planting the seeds, I think of the times that I have been that farmer. What kinds of seeds have I planted and dropped along the way and what part do I play in nurturing those seeds. At times I’ve been the rocky ground, the withering plants, and the thorn bushes – not being good food for seeds that have been planted. And thankfully, at times I’ve been the seed in the good ground or I have planted good seeds – yearning to produce a large wheat field full of healthy grains of wheat. Anyway that you look at it, I’ve been some type of seed in my life and I’ve been some type of plant in my lifetime.
Now I’ve reached a point of growth in this plant of life to be planting seeds of my own. Many seeds I’ve already planted. These haven’t always been seeds from the Fruits of the Spirit. Unfortunately they’ve been seeds of discord, of jealousy, of hurt and of pain and frustration. When seeds have landed on rocky soil, I have at times been the thorns that have choked the life out of them because of the sour seeds that have been sown in my own life and the wrong choices that I myself have made. Again, the Gardener has come along and restored and pruned those lifeless branches and has thrown them away. I am eternally grateful for that.

I have often sought the purpose of my life – the reason for this plant to be in the garden of life. My purpose, my reason to live is to plant seeds – I am a planter. How am I dropping those seeds in this journey through the garden of life?
* When I wake up each day, talk to God and am thankful – I am planting a seed.
* As I go throughout my day, cooking, cleaning, worshiping my God and being a wife and mother – I am planting seeds.
* When I have devotions with my children and pray with my husband – I am planting seeds.
* When I am a loving, submission wife with a desire to be my husband’s helper – I am planting a seed.
* As I look out the window, watching for my children to come home after school to share their day with me – I am planting a seed.
* If I pick up the phone to listen to a friend – I am planting a seed.
* As I followed God’s nudge to invite a woman over for coffee and listened over the next few weeks of her pain and hurt and continued to be her friend – I am planting a seed.
* On days where my camera is calling me to come along and capture memories of God’s creation – I am planting a seed.
* When I take those photos that I’ve captured and bless someone’s day with a print or a card – I am planting a seed.
* When I spend some time typing at my computer, putting my thoughts of God and life and sharing photos on my website – I am planting a seed.
* When I create greeting cards and encouragement cards with the photographs that I’ve taken and share them with others – I am planting a seed.
* When I was preparing for a trip to Bolivia, my father and his brother were dealing with unforgiveness in their hearts. I listened to each one and I encouraged them to make things right before I left to find their brother in another part of the world – I was planting a seed.
* In Bolivia, I was staying with my dear friend who so long ago helped me in my rebellious teenage years and steered me towards God. I listened to her, cried with her, talked with her, laughed with her and spent precious friend time together – I was planting seeds and as she was reaping what she had sown in a friendship so many years ago.
* While I was traveling by myself going to Bolivia and talking to others on the plane or in the airports and passing on my photo cards with scripture verses and handing out my business card sharing my website address – I was planting a seed.
* When I was in Bolivia, I had the unique opportunity to go to a Ladies Retreat with 44 missionary ladies in the Santa Cruz area. A speaker from Texas walked us through this book she had written called “More of Christ” and I took it home with me and taught it to the ladies in Bible study here in SK. Now we are studying another book from that church in Texas called “Titus 2 Woman”. I was asked to write an article for a women’s magazine in that church in Texas about our Bible study group here – I am planting a seed.
* Many photos that I’ve taken in Saskatchewan have been saved on a disc and are now in Bolivia being used on Sunday mornings on a screen with the words of Spanish worship music – they are being used to plant seeds across the world.
* While I continue to follow God’s calling in my life to lead Bible studies with women, learning together and teaching them His Word, listening to their hurts and praying with them – I am planting a seed.
* A woman had moved here from England and had joined our Bible study group for a time. She has now moved back to England with her family and has taken the “More of Christ” study with her to teach it there – I planted a seed and now she is planting a seed.
* As I pick up the phone to listen to my mom or to go and pick her and dad up for an appointment – I am planting a seed.
* If I allow myself to be used through my gifts and talents that the Good Lord has given me and am involved in my church, blessing others through Christ’s ministry – I am planting a seed.
* When I put together a calendar with photos that I’ve taken and put scripture verses on them – I am planting a seed.
* When I call a complete stranger and ask their permission to use the photo that I’ve taken on their land and share with them who I am and what I do and who I live for – I am planting a seed.
* I’d taken a photo of an abandoned home and as I was on the yard, an old, bitter, foul speaking man shared with me from his hardened heart. My heart went out to him as he cursed and swore. Some time later, I took the pictures of that abandoned home and knocked on his door. He stood there as I shared with him how I’d been praying for him and how I wanted to be a blessing to him that day. His whole body just melted as I gave him some black & white photos of the home that I had taken pictures of. I did not know his name and I have not seen him since but I was an angel to him that day planting seeds of love.

I have so many examples and stories that I could share of planting those seeds. Unfortunately, the seeds that I’ve planted have not always been good seeds of love, acceptance and forgiveness. I am not perfect and I have made many mistakes. I am often sad from missing certain plants that have been picked up and moved elsewhere to bloom and to be nurtured. At times they’ve been moved because of my bad soil and other times my work with those plants has been done. But God is continually bringing in new plants to be nurtured through this farmer. He extends His grace, mercy, forgiveness and love to me so faithfully day after day. I am eternally grateful and I will keep trying to be a humble servant, serving my Lord and planting His seeds in this garden of life here on this earth.
Thank you for having me share with you this morning.
God bless you!