Monday, June 20, 2011

Mulling over Thoughts

This morning I read the passage in Matthew 15:1-20 but mainly what was said in verses 1-9 is what is mulling about in my mind.  I truly don't know what to think at times and for me it is difficult finding a balance in certain things.  I certainly wish it wasn't like that at times, that things were a little more cut and dried.  :)  But it's not always and life is just a continual learning process, looking for answers in the right places and being at peace with your own decisions, regardless of what others often say or think.

So here is what I read in my New Living Translation:

"Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. They asked him, 2 “Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition? For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.”
 3 Jesus replied, “And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God? 4 For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’[a] and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’[b] 5 But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ 6 In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents.[c] And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,

 8 ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  9 Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God."

In my study notes about these verses, it talks about century long traditions being put in such high importance, even as important as the Bible itself.  "Certain religious traditions can add richness and meaning to life. But we can't assume that just because our own traditions have been practiced for years, that they should be elevated to a such a sacred standing. God's principles don't change and his law doesn't need any additions. Traditions should really help us to understand God's laws better, not become laws themselves." In so many churches today, there is often the discussion about hymns versus choruses or should a pastor stay in his office 40 hours of the week and visit the people of the church the rest of his waking hours, or should jeans or dresses be worn in church, does how we do church always have to be the same or changed up a bit, long hair or short hair, tatoos and earrings or none, should we work on Sundays and what actions describe work on a Sunday....and the list goes on and on of things we could constantly be disputing over.
How much time can be spent on talking over these things time and again.  Yikes, we can be caught up in such a dither on all these things. Where's the balance and what is right and wrong when it comes to them all.  Those are the questions that often mull about in my mind and I don't always find answers for them either.  :)  It can often be a daily/weekly thing at times to peacefully come to a decision about all of these and in each individual circumstance.

The 2nd thing mulling about in my brain this morning is what Jesus says about parents, honoring your needy parents and not putting your giving to the church in front of taking care of your parents. Many of us have aging  parents and I've often heard it said, where's the balance between looking after aging parents, taking care of your own marriage and teaching/raising your own kids, giving to others...and finding time for yourself, your work and your own devotion time.  Whooh!  For myself, I find the balance is difficult at times. Now in my study notes again, it says that the trouble in those times back then was that "anytime someone made a certain (Corban) vow in the temple, that their money would go to God's Temple rather than going to support their needy parents and thus giving the religious leaders an acceptable excuse to neglect taking responsibility for looking after their parents. So often they were completely disregarding God's command to care for their needy parents."  I must admit, I am in that boat sometimes. There's so many wonderful organizations and things that are needing money and support, and all the good things that churches are doing need help too.  But again where's the balance.  I have a mother who needs me VERY often...where's the balance. That is a difficult thing for me to discern too often and I will admit very openly to you that I have a huge guilt complex. Guilt that I can never DO enough.  I need 5 of me some days/weeks.  :)  And of course I always want to justify everything I do.  I think for the most part we all do.  Whether we want to justify giving to the church or giving to other charities, or justifying eating certain foods, or justifying our actions when we want to take justice into our own hands rather than allowing God to work things through, or justifying what "work" means on a Sunday, or justifying what is tradition or what is our own personal preference, or justifying the time we spend on our work/play or on our TV's/ computers/games rather than taking time to build relationships with others and going out of our comfort zones and being stretched by God.  Yikes, we can try to justify every action we make.

So ya!  :)  I guess this post is more about mulling my thoughts around in the open and for the most part leaving them unanswered.  It is a daily thing to process them, it really is. I am just so thankful that I DON'T have to have all the answers and that God is such an incredible God of Grace and Mercy and He loves me SO!  I don't have to have everything figured out all the time!  And there are just some things that I will never figure out or have an easy answer to.  The important part is, is to just remain in the Word, The Bible, and to give your questions to God cause He IS the only One who really does have all the answers.  The Word of God really does have ALL the answers to life and I know that I can't just give up reading it because it leaves me questioning sometimes.  Just gotta keep pressing on in life and pressing into the presence of God to receive peace, wisdom, understanding and discernment.

Was I an encouragement to anyone?  Does anyone else not have all the answers? Does anyone else have these things mull over in their minds from time to time?  :)  I sure hope so.  Cause I really do know that I'm not the only one.  heehee

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Birthday Tribute to the Love of my Life

from grad 1987, to wedding
1989, to summer 2007
grad day June 1987 with
my dream man as my escort
Roger's birthday May 11/87
all dressed up to go on a very
special date to Ariel's Cove.
So young, me 17, Roger 23,
& soooooo in love :-)
(originally written on May 11/11 on Roger's birthday)
I am in love today!  YAY!  I am in love with a wonderful man who has a birthday today!  :-) And today I am reminded of our first birthday celebration of his on May 11, 1987.  We had only been dating for a couple of months. I had gotten a new dress just for him, I had done my hair all beautiful, I had made reservations at an expensive restaurant (Ariel's Cove in the Bessborough Hotel). These two small town folk  had never been to a real ritzy restaurant before.  :-)  What fun it was!  I had my friend Leona take our picture cause I knew it was gonna be a memory builder.  We were two young people, deeply in love after dating for only a couple of months. We knew, he knew, I kinda knew :-) that we were meant for each other. He was more convinced than I was at this point that I was the woman for him, that we were going to be married and enjoy a long life together.  He did give me a promise ring just a few days later on my birthday on the 15th, which I joyfully excepted!  :-)

wedding day Sept 24/87
with my prince charming,
my dream man whom
I had prayed for. :-)
our wedding day Sept 24 1989
yes, we are writing a book of love
having fun one summer -
such great memories!!
But I did love him and my heart was already lost  to him at this point. I was most definitely head over
heals in love with this handsome, dark haired man.  You know, I had prayed every night of my teenage years, "God, I want to get married, have a hubby and kids...but I want a tall dark haired handsome man who loves you, God."

Roger & I standing at the Sea of
Galilee in Israel Nov 2008 
our trip to Yellowstone National Park
in summer of 1992, I was pregnant
with Brandon
It's truly amazing how precisely God answered that prayer. When we first met though, we were both not living for the Lord. I was a very rebellious teenager drinking, partying and hadn't been living at home with my parents during my high school years. Roger was walking down the road of alcoholism, drinking and partying a TON too. But deep in my heart, I knew that somehow that was all gonna change. Neither of us really wanted this life for long.

Roger in 1990 with our
new puppy Fudge  :-)
1988 taking a break after
a hike out by Waskesiu
I do need to say though that not all relationships end up the way ours did. Even though I'd grown up knowing about God and knowing better than to be with a boy who drank and partied, not all circumstances always turn out good.. I know a woman who became a Christian just before she married a man who did not believe in God and even after years of marriage, he has never turned to God - their marriage has been very rocky and their kids suffer because of it. He wants absolutely nothing to do with God and the church, and has often given her much grief because of her desire to be part of a church family and live for God. So I don't want my personal story to give anyone permission to do the same because it's never a guarantee.  Sometimes a man's heart changes for God but other times it doesn't.
love rules my family -
great memories

It's only by the Grace of God that things turned out the way they have. I don't know why our marriage has turned out so good and another marriage hasn't. Only God knows the complete picture and all I can do is be is truly grateful and live the rest of my days for Him regardless of what happens.  God saw our lives at the very beginning, right up until now, and right up until the end of our lives....He sees the whole, completed picture.

Fudge full grown  :-)
1994 I think

before Brandon was
born, Roger wanting
to build a little
treehouse in 1992
Roger did make a commitment to God a few months before we got married and we started going to church together and took pre-marriage classes with the pastor at the church. Earlier that year, I had already rededicated my life to God. I phoned my mom and told her "Mom, God truly answered ALL of my prayers. God did give me a tall, dark, handsome man who loves Him. Roger gave his life to Christ and we truly do want to make better decisions together." I cried on the phone with my mom so many years ago. But, our relationship would still be a journey and at times a struggle, to leave the alcohol alone and to stay away from the partying. But God is so gracious and He looked after us so much!!  He definitely had his hand on us through the years.  It's been amazing where God has brought us from and where He is bringing us to! Such incredible memories we have looking back over the years!

Lisa on the ferry watching the sunset
between Vancouver & Victoria while
on our honeymoon Sept 1989
Roger on the ferry between
Vancouver and Victoria
while on our
honeymoon Sept 1989
Today, as I think of my handsome husband, he is still the man that I fell in love with so deeply as a young teenage girl....and oh so much more!  When I think back to so many years ago, never would I have ever imagined that  we would be where we are at today!!

I am amazed by what God has done, my love!  Had it not been for the love of God, the love we have for God and the love we have for each other...oh my, we would not be here today! I am so deeply grateful!

our young family photo taken for the
church directory in 1996
I wrote Roger a love letter today.  :-)  Yes, every now and then we do write each other love letters!  It's a great thing to do and something that will strengthen any marriage. I don't write him nearly often enough...we did write each other a whole lot more right after we attended Marriage Encounter in May 2005. That's where our love, our marriage and our relationship with each other really took an amazing turn for the greater and the deeper. After that we wrote love letters to each other A LOT!!  :-) oooooow eeeeee!  mmmmmm.  But we don't write nearly as often now. Our love is still just keeps happening, especially with driving teenagers all over the place. But I will share my letter with you, so here it is:

so many memories with our
lake home, our Warman
home together with our
family.....oh how precious!
on our wall in 2011
live simply, love generously,
laugh often...we do have
lots of laughs!!  :-)
our sweet kids Nov 2002
"It's your birthday today love!  :-)  WOW! Look how far we've come. Our love for each other has never been stronger...I don't think. It's definitely reached different heights and emotions over the years but it's deep today, hey? I REALLY don't know what I'd do without your  love. God could not have given me anyone better than you my love. You are so perfect for me and you compliment me so the ' T ' !  :-)  We have such beautiful kids you and I...just imagine, all three of them are a result of our love, a moment of heightened passion between two people who love each other so. I see parts of you in them that I love so much. What a gift God has given to us with them.

in our dating years
1988 Roger was best
man at his cousin
 Kevin's wedding
at Butchart Gardens
Vancouver Island on
our honeymoon Sept 89
I am reminded today of my first 'date' that I took you on at Ariel's Cove in the Bessborough Hotel. I carefully picked out a beautiful dress and took you out. My dream man! We were so young and knew so little, but yet we had experienced much up to that point. We were so newly in love. WOW! 1987 - 24 years ago! We've come a long way baby! :-) You are as perfect for me today, as you were back then. God knew what He was doing. I'm so glad He did because we sure didn't at times. He saved us from so much stupidity, He molded us and revamped us so uniquely, He brought us together so wonderfully. Through all the mistakes, joys, difficult times, funny times and sad times...God molded us so uniquely together. Oh how thankful I am today, how grateful I am for you Roger!

on our honeymoon in
Victoria Sept 1989
Back then, would you ever have imagined that we'd be where we are at today and that we'd have done what we've done and been where we've been??  WOW!  God is amazing!

I can't imagine the plans that He has coming up for us yet love. It's going to be so exciting to see them unfold. This year of course, in just over a month - our firstborn will graduate. :-)  Oh how my heart warms at what our boy has achieved in his life so far. WOW!

our great amazing what
God is doing and He has such
GREAT plans for their life!
stay strong in Him guys!
So love, I want you to read this before you go to work. :-) I love you so! I let Brandon choose your gift from us this year. He's so excited to give it to you later. He thinks you'll REALLY like it. Hope you do!

Have a great day honey! Can't wait for the next few years to unfold! Love you! :-) And remember to keep the vision baby...I know I got mine in full view! :-)"

hope     Dream    believe!
left top pic - Dream BIG -
take the plunge, you can do it!
mid top pic - we are ALL
carried by Jesus
top left pic - family pic at
FOCUS on the family
mid left pic - us/our marriage
started at the foot of the cross
mid right pic - we love the lake
& sunsets, family time
& building memories together
bottom left pic - teaching the kids
about Jesus through church,
youth & 5 Day clubs
bottom mid pics - keeping Jesus
& what he did on the cross
at the centre of our home
if it weren't for His love
we wouldn't be here today!
bottom right pic - mens & women's
ministries dear to our heart - oh
how we need to keep meeting
together & studying the Word
Some of you may think that this letter is a little intimate to share but, that's ok. I have no shame in the love I have for my husband. Yes there are things much more private than that but some things are definitely meant to be shared.

if it weren't for the LOVE of God,
Jesus dying on the cross, rising
again and giving us eternal life...
we would NOT be here! Our
marriage, our family, our kids...
our love for God will
forever hold us together!
You know my friends, being in love for years and years can be SO exciting!!  The grass in NOT greener on the other side you know. Love does not just happen though either. You both need to nurture and feed your love with each other day after day...otherwise it will die out. As I look back at photos of my parents and of their wedding day, they did look so much in love. Some say they should never have married...I don't believe that to be true. Yes there was lots of disfunction and hardship....but what marriage doesn't have some of that??  Everyone has stuff to work through and it can all be accomplished WITH God's strength and His Love...we cannot do it on our own! At times life is just not fair but with God, all things can work together for good.
if it weren't for the cross, we
wouldn't be here today. Our
marriage needs to stay close
to the cross. love love love

My parents loved each other deeply and relied heavily on each other until the very end. My mom had a one and only love, my dad, and I treasure that. She never dated lots of guys and she doted on my dad for years, and he did his best to take care of her. But yes, there were mistakes but so much is learned from mistakes. Their love grew deeper every year and they never gave up on each other, and they stuck it out!  That's where I want to see Roger & I...never giving up on each other no matter how tough the times may be, sticking it out, our love growing deeper every year, and only having eyes for each other.  Oooooh la la!  God answered my prayer so many years ago of who my heart desired to marry.....He is still answering that prayer. I am so grateful! That handsome man who was my Grade 12 grad escort is the same physical man today but a much more 'God improved' version.  God has done such a good work in him, and in can we ever ever stop living for Him!

Roger with the girls, Coke
& his camaro summer 2000
Life with God is
an amazing ride!!  :-)
California 2007
God has never given up on us and I know that He never will. We are together, we are in love, we are one in Christ....oh my love, we have soooo much to be thankful for! What incredible memories we share! Life has been good and God has been good to us!

I hope you have the best birthday ever just because of love!  HUGS!!

Show me Your Way, Oh Lord

This morning I was reading in Ecclesiastes about how meaningless things are.  I turned to this book in the Bible this morning after I heard of the senseless riots going on in downtown Vancouver after a hockey game.  A hockey game!  A game that will be forgotten about in such a short time...and people choose to allow their emotions and reactions to get so violently out of control and cause a huge riot in the streets! Innocent people get hurt and suffer the consequences of the actions of people acting completely irresponsible. I just don't get it!

"It is all meaningless, utterly meaningless! matter how much we see, we are never is all a chasing after the wind. What is wrong cannot be righted. What is missing cannot be recovered...people continue in their sin and they see they are no better than animals." the Book of Ecclesiastes

These verses totally made me think of the senseless riots happening in Vancouver over a silly hockey game that will soon be forgotten. The damage that is done, the shop owners that will have to rebuild, the people that are hurt, the charges that will be it all really that worth it?  It is all so meaningless and and.....  I am truly at a loss for words.

I know that there are huge sports fans, coffee fans, clothing fans, music fans, Facebook fans, food fans, author or actor fans, shopping fans, etc.....but to elevate them all up so high is not right. So many times God stresses in His Word, the Bible, about Him being a jealous God - how He is jealous of anything that takes our time away from Him. He created us for so much more!!  He created us as beings who are just passing through this earth to a much greater life in eternity with Him. We can spend so much time, wasting valuable time, doing everything BUT spending time in God's Word, praying and developing a relationship with Him. Yes, I know we all have jobs, school, daily duties that need attending to....we still need to live. BUT we CAN be in communication with God all day throughout these different activities and involve Him in each aspect of our lives. And if we are not IN the Word of God each day, in communication with Our Creator each day, we will completely lose sight of direction and not know how to handle things that come our way. It is IN HIM that our strength is found. It is in The Bible, the Word that God breathed His Breath and Inspiration into, that we find guidance, wisdom, and direction for how to live life each and every day AND we will much better be able to handle our emotions, thoughts and feelings.  It's in HIM that we have our ONLY hope!

As I turned on some praise music this morning, the song "Show me Your Way" by Brian Doerksen came on. My spirit immediately became tender and the tears began to flow as I listened to the words.

I dont want to take the selfish road,  I dont want to walk the path of pride,  I only want to follow where You lead
I only want to please You with my life.
Show me Your way O Lord,  Show me Your way O Lord,  Banish my fear in perfect love,  Show me Your way O Lord.

God's way is truly THEE MOST blessed way!  There are so many things that I seem to want...but really, they are all so meaningless, just like The Book of Ecclesiastes says. Read through it today and be reminded of what IS important.  Our own selfishness, our own pride can ONLY lead to destruction and an extremely unhappy life.  As another song of Brian Doerksen's sings, let us sing from the very depths of our souls

"purify my heart, cleanse me from within, and make me holy.  Purify my heart, cleanse me from my sin, deep within....refiner's fire, my heart's one desire, is to be holy, set apart for you Lord, I choose to be holy, set apart for you my Master, ready to do your will."


Song "Show Me Your Way" by Brian Doerksen

I dont want to take the selfish road
I dont want to walk the path of pride
I only want to follow where You lead
I only want to please You with my life

Show me Your way O Lord
Show me Your way O Lord
Banish my fear in perfect love
Show me Your way O Lord

Saturday, June 11, 2011

God is a God of Details

My God is such a God of details....and I LOVE THAT!

This morning I woke up at my usual time that God wakes me up every morning...just after 5 am. :) So I requested just to have a few minute snooze. 5:17 a.m. I am awake again. "Lord, I'd like to sleep in a little more today, it's Saturday. Could I have a couple more hours?" I prayed. I instantly fell asleep and the next time I woke up again, guess what??  Yup, you got it...7:17 a.m.  :)  God is so perfect, so detailed, so precise!  I LOVE that about Him!!  He just makes me smile!  But this is NOT the first time it's happened to's happened time and time again. God is so incredibly detailed...that's such a beautiful thing about Him!  So because of this, I KNEW that He had something good for me to read from His Word this morning. Well, there's ALWAYS good things to read in His Word every time we open it up...but I knew there would be something VERY precise for me to read today.

I've been reading through the Gospels chronologically and today I was reading the 2nd half of Luke 8, beginning at verse 26. Verses 26-39 is the story of Jesus sailing to the "other side" of the lake, the Sea of Galilee.  One of my favorite moments in Israel was being on that lake. But another interesting aspect is how Beth Moore spoke of this story in our last Bible study, Jesus the One and Only. She taught about Jesus going over to "the other side" of the lake and how uncomfortable it can be to go over to the "other side" and how we need protection. Here Jesus met up with a demon possessed man, who had many demons living in him, and he lived among the tombstones and caves here. Jesus delivered him! This man became the first missionary because the man wanted to go back with Jesus, but Jesus told him to go tell his family and the others about what Jesus had done for him. The demons knew who Jesus was, they knew His power and they were afraid of Him. There are many demonic forces in todays world too and we don't need to be afraid of their power. Jesus has MORE power and the Holy Spirit IN us, we have more power than demons who are active in todays world too. AMEN to that!!
So sitting on this hillside where Jesus sent all those demons into that herd of pigs so many years ago, it was definitely one of my favorite places in Israel, knowing that Jesus was there displaying the power of God in that place.

Another GREAT aspect of this mornings reading was verses 40-56. A week ago today, I was taking part in a  Women's Journey of Faith, AWAKEN "Faith Stories Seminar". We were encouraging women to share their stories, to overcome fear and shame and the desire to hide the not so good aspects of our lives. We gave them great tools to work with in order to write and share powerful testimonies of what Jesus has done in their lives. Maureen had done a little skit about the woman from verse 43, a woman who bled for 12 years. This woman was so desperate to reach Jesus and to just touch the hem of his robe, knowing that if she did so, she totally believed with all her heart that she would be healed...and SHE WAS! Oh what great faith!  Even Jesus stopped to point out who touched Him cause He wanted the people around Him to know how GREAT her faith was, and that she was an individual who needed love and care just like anyone else. I love how Jesus treated women in the Bible, showing how much they deserved love, attention, honor and respect. Even the Jewish men couldn't "look" at a bleeding woman, or be around them or speak to them...they were totally avoided. I can just imagine the pain of this woman being treated so horribly for many years.
AND JESUS TOUCHED HER, the very depths of her soul with love and attention. Oh this story always brings tears to my eyes!!  He stopped to proclaim and make a point to all the people around Him that an "unclean" woman touched Him because of her great faith and He healed her!  OH how she must have felt!  WOW!

So yes, The Good Lord had something very precise for me to read this morning. Thank you God! You are a God of the smallest and yet mightiest details!   Oh how I love you so!