Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Salt & Light

Just recently I was studying Matthew 5:13 - How to be the salt and light in this World.

Mat 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

I had one of those flash back moments remembering when my friend Anita was moving home in the winter, her new home had a really long drive way that you could fit 6 or more cars on. Well we arrived to find snow covered lawn and ice 1/2 inch thick on the drive way all the way to the garage and back door where most the furniture was coming in through. Well we are all not a young bunch (more like the Brady bunch) but I was very concerned that someone was going to slip on this glass type ice and really get hurt, the younger ones were having a whale of a time sliding down it, as I looked on and held my breath - well it was time for action so I took off in my van to Walmart to pick up some bags of salt crystals - there I was holding this heavy bag at my side rested on my hip like I used to hold my babies, shaking my hips side to side to spread the crystals across as much as possible - it was then another friend (if I remember correctly it was Michel) took a lampshade and put it on my head "there Michelle, now you can be Salt and Light!" it gave us all quite a laugh. Or was that just Michel's infectious laugh.......

But isn't that so true, without salt we just could not live and without the light we would be in total darkness not being able to find our way. Another flash back to the black out we all experienced a few years ago. Salt is a purifier, and also a seasoning - what ever the season you may be in, try to be seasoning in the life of someone - be salt and light.

I hope you enjoyed a little laugh at my expense! God bless and take care until the next time.
Love Michelle

Friday, September 21, 2007

When I look forward to heaven......

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.....

There are moments in my life when things get so difficult, when I think wouldn't it be nice to escape and go to heaven.

Reflecting of the timing of my children, women generally have there children beginning in the 20's and around middle age have teenage children - now I have come to think this may not be the best option going through pre-menopause and dealing with teenagers, teenagers are in their own little world most of the time and being pre-menopausal mother has me acting like I am from another world and to honest, I would not like to meet myself at those times! and then there our husbands who wonder, when is life going to get back to normal? What is normal anyway....... and if they are smart, they would never actually verbalize such a statement to their wives. Have you ever read the book "My mother is weird" by Rachna Gilmore. I love this book, I find it very funny, helps me stay humble

Synopsis' My mother is weird. Some mornings when she wakes up, she has horns on her head and long, pointy teeth and claws. She speaks in a voice like a jackhammer. But after her morning coffee, Mom's horns disappear, and her teeth and claws shrink back to normal..'This is a book to help children understand their parents and their changing moods.

Well I am trying not to be that weird and I have come to appreciate the Lord's prayer more and more and often find myself reflecting on each line daily as I come across obstacles in my life and trying to live out my faith, whether it be working through forgiving someone for a wrong or realising I have a responsibility of making heaven a reality on earth. There are times when I want to run away from situations and realise by going through them I become a better person if I choose to take the right action based on the Lord's Prayer.

Our Father, who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
For ever and ever, Amen.

Love to all,

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I saw Jesus Yesterday, Today and will definately tomorrow!

Tuesday September 11 for many is a day to remember some awful in-humane actions, and remember some wonderful people who were lost in this tragic event, but for me this year it was the day for a planned surgery. As I tried my best to prepare myself mentally, I came to the realization that accidents happen and pre-existing medical conditions could complicate the procedure and I may not awaken to this world. May be a little morbid but I try to be realistic in realizing my time here could be cut short without notice, so if this was to be my time, I wanted to let my husband know how much I loved him and to let the girls know despite my nagging, it is with the intent to try to encourage them to become the best that they can be.

Well I woke to see Jesus, he was with me yesterday, today and will definitely be there tomorrow - no I did not go to heaven yet. At 6 p.m. I saw Jesus in duplicate, yes you are now thinking the morphine is talking, but I was still coherent (others may not agree) if not a little sappy, but there stood my husband and my best friend Louise waiting by my bed in the hospital after my move from the recovery room. Jesus brought me knickers Wednesday morning (in the form of Phyllis) - now who goes to hospital and forgets their knickers!!!! I did remember my nightie (which is a miracle if you ask my best friends who I am in ministry with when we room together at the retreats!), I woke to see Jesus holding Sunflowers in the form of a my dearest best friends Garry & Anita who serve in ministry together, and candles & candies from my best friend Cheri. Jesus called me from afar when he couldn't be there in person - Kimberley and my many friends, family and colleagues from Work, and visited me at home.

All the actions we do from a heart out of love for one another we do in the name of Jesus, for God is Love and I have been very loved and I wanted to appreciate everyone of you.

I give thanks with a grateful heart! Much love, Michelle

Jesus said follow me, be my disciple, do what I do - and you did......and no doubt will continue to do

We have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord. (1 Sam. 20:42)

You have a very special place in my heart.(Phil. 1:7)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Sand, Sun, Bermuda Triangle, Dripping Tent and Deflated Air

Hi Friends,

Well what a blast this past weekend as 8 families and a few extra special guests joined us for a long weekend of camping. Most of us getting up in those years where a real mattress and a real roof over your head is preferred but we sucked it up and had a blast.

It would not be right if I did not mention how proud I was of 3 of our young people this weekend. Our precious Beth (13), daughter of who I call our extended family cut her foot the week prior to camping and had 4 stitches the ball of her foot, but she took care each day cleaning and strapping to keep it clean, it limited her ability to join in everything yet she was a real trooper and did not let this spoil her time. My own daughter Ebony (16) who is such a home body and a creature of comfort and also being in those teenage years where hanging with parents just can't be fun or cool, she was not a complainer either, and then Marine (14), who arrived in this country from Malawi in July to join her Mom who took up a new position here in December. Moving into a new country in summer and being a teenager is not easy and there is not much opportunity for her to meet people until she starts school in September so I invited her to join my family (she had only met Mike and I once) - so I think the bravery award goes to Marine. As well as the most mosquito bites!!! Hopefully we haven't scared her away and she will join us again.

It wouldn't be right not to mention my other daughter Lauren who is 14, she is just like her mama although she would hate to admit it at this age, but she is the real trooper, if there is fun to be had, I want to be part of it! She is the quick witted one, so you have to be on your toes to out smart her with a comment, because she is fully loaded to come back at you with both barrels having everyone giggling around. Well those who understand our relationship that is. She was the tent construction team although it was her break time by the time her Dad and I arrived at the site. She travelled with our friends Lance and Louise, Beth and Jamie.

My husband Mike said he didn't need a watch through the night, he could tell what time it was by the amount of air that had escaped the air mattress. By the time his rear was touching the ground it was 5 a.m., what was the best night was leaving all the coverings open and sleeping under the beautiful array of stars.

Warm water, sun, sand, volleyball and golf! I have to say I am quite the golf player and the heat didn't bother me at all! It was the Bermuda Triangle Golf in a bug tent with friends! Yes it was a card game that I was taught on the weekend and it is a real favourite - Thanks Jeff, Lori, Cheri, Peter and Rozanne, honory mention to John! Most of us were sitting around the fire and every now and then someone would disappear to look for someone and they never came back, so I also went to look and never came back!

Then there was the bug prank, I bought a real looking bug just over an inch in length and tricked a few people, although Joe gets the award for the most dynamic leap! Cheri and I had fun as we walked from site to site pulling pranks, and even strangers as I put the bug in my mouth with the antenas sticking out and chewing like I enjoyed it. These two young girls about 17-18 were totally freaked out, as I explained they are full of protein!

Sunday night we received all the rain that was meant for the whole Province as three storms came through one after the other! I had to check on my daughter and friend in the tent last year that leaked - thanks to the waterproofing spray from C.Tire they were kept dry. Unfortunately all our friends did not fare as well - 3 poles of Kimberley and Montgomery's tent broke, and John and Lisa's youngest were experiencing a shower in their sleep, we all met at the washrooms at 5 a.m. discussing our camping woes and so the three little ones jumped into the back of our stow and go van with their sleeping bags to get a little more dry sleep before the morning. Thankfully this was our last night and a few tents will be journeying back to the store from wence they came and we left a few behind that just will not make another journey.

I wonder what the apostle Paul's tents were like? We could have given him some business this weekend.

What was so nice is that it was like a huge family get together. This morning in my devotional I was reading Matthew 12: 46-50. As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside asking to speak to Him. Someone told Jesus, "your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to speak to you". Jesus asked "who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" Then he pointed to his disciples and said, "Look these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!"

One profound statement that came from this devotional was sometimes we treat others as though our brothers and sisters and not as our brothers and sisters. I think we accomplished the latter this weekend!

Thanks for a great weekend everyone!


Monday, July 30, 2007

In the Grip of Grace

This past weekend, I was so blessed to invite an old friend to stay for the weekend. This year she had been on my heart so much and Louise and I would often talk about our friend and wonder how we lost touch and how can we find her again. Louise had never erased a phone message our friend had left on her machine from maybe 2 years earlier, but no tel# was left. We had only had one of our conversations on the weekend over tea, when I went to a meeting on the following Wednesday to listen to a group of people who had come back from Zimbabwe and wanted to start a program where they could help fight the battle of the HIV and Aids Pandemic. As the meeting ended my husband and I turned around and there was our friend at the back of the room (I will not post her name for personal reasons) and my heart skipped a beat I wanted to cry on the spot. She stood there looking as radiant as ever with this beautiful smile across her face, she stood with another old acquaintance so it was double the joy. We had the pleasure of seeing the other acquaintance proclaim her new faith in Jesus when she was baptized in early 2000 or 2001.

I noticed she struggled to find some words and as we chatted she told us she could no longer drive because she was diagnosed with a stage 4 brain tumor in March of this year. It was like someone had let the air out of my lungs, I was in shock wanting to cry but not wanting to make her uncomfortable so I had to put my drama skills into action. Yet as she shared she still held much hope, she had been to visit her son over Christmas and snook into her country, (she was forced to leave her country many years ago leaving her son behind) and ever since we had been praying the Government would issue a passport so he could join his mom. Well we are still praying and hoping that soon they can be re-united as the process seems a little closer but things can change so quickly in this country with corruption at every corner.

For the past 9 months I had feared for my own daughters life as she served in Baghdad, (a place we could not publicly say at that time as this could bring harm to her life) but now she has left, we are relieved, each day was a blessing each email message was a Praise to God - he kept her safe to complete the work set before her.

I find myself now wondering about my dear friend and what lies ahead - it is no coincidence that God's message in church is speaking right into my life, we are studying Paul's letter to the Phillipians when he was in prison. Philippians 1:20-26 For I live in eager expectations and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past, and that my life will always honor Christ, whether I live or I die. For me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better. Yet if I live, that means fruitful service for Christ, I really don't know which is better. I'm torn between two desires: Sometimes I want to live, and sometimes I long to go and be with Christ. That would be far better for me, but it is better for you that I live.

This is how I want to live my life for Christ, if I am to stay here on earth, then each day I want to serve Him. I want to be the better in other people's lives as they interact with me. My friend is already going through the process of volunteering at one of the hospitals in Toronto where she now lives. She is a true picture of humilty and grace, continuing to serve God in her time of suffering.

My dear friend explains how blessed she has been since her diagnosis, as she said, some people never get to know they only have a certain time to live, their life on this earth can be taken in a heart beat, to my friend everything has taken on a new light, she no longer rushes from one thing to the next but takes time to let everything take on a new light as though learning to see the beauty for the first time. Yes there are times when she is overcome but the Lord picks her up and whispers love into her life, that He continues to let her know He is with her in her suffering, and provides a circle of friends to lift her up.

What if we all lived like the song _live like you were dying? Would we not spend endless hours worrying about things we have no control over, wasting time fighting with each other, struggling and going into debt to buy things we can not take with us from this life, and passing people by who need a friendly hello.

I am hoping my friend will visit as often as she needs to so that she can have a break and we can love on her. We enjoyed our weekend together, we laughed and ate, talked our Africa, put the world to rights and took a trip out to the country. To finish our time together we went to a praise night where I could secretly cry in the darkness, pray, sing and lift Jesus name on high amidst the pain in my heart for my friend.

I am learning how to love in the midst of pain.
Please help me in joining in prayer for our friend, God knows her name, it is written already on His heart.


Where Have I Been?

There is no excuse, it has been nearly over 2 months since I posted a devotional blog on my site. The problem is I sit in front of a computer all day at work, when I get home, my teenagers have taken root infront of the computer and then I forgot how to get onto my site to post a blog and get frustrated, so I just sit and read my sisters blogs. Now my home computer has crashed again for the 2nd time this year, I am even more frustrated at how our lives seem to be controlled by electronic gadgets.

Time does go faster as you get older - it just keeps ticking, I sometimes wonder about the first days of creation, some theologians say we don't know how long the day was in the first 3 days, until God created to Sun and Moon and created the day. Somedays I wish for one of those days that doesn't end and the energy to go with it so that I can catch up on so many things you just don't get to do working full-time.

Let me count my blessings that each day at work begins with devotionals, and I get to go to church twice a week, once at work and once in the weekend. I call it my topping up time on Wednesday's, although I am blessed each week, but there is something about being blessed with different speakers giving the message each week and learning to appreciate the different talents and worship styles as we sing, and learn more about being like Christ.

I have many blessing, I have a husband who loves me and his daughters, I have an older daughter serving in the mission field pouring out her heart for the Lord, a teen who is learning to find herself and her independence (not the easiest letting go) and a younger daughter who loves to worship, I have 5 wonderful friends in ministry, I work with such loving and dedicated colleagues/friends at work, and I have such wonderful friends outside of these areas. Many of whom we are going camping with this weekend. YEH!!!!!

So where have I been, I have been immersed in the Love of God, learning to appreciate so much that I have, and tonight I have my husbands laptop and after 10 attempts, finally worked out my password to post a blog. I suffer from a bad memory but I try really hard.

I love to read scripture especially Isaiah 6:3 - Talks about the angels 'in a great chorus they sang, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD almighty! The whole earth is filled with His glory!" Sometimes we don't feel like it because of evil and selfish desires we are bombarded with each day and because of our own choices, but God is at work and we can still see His Glory here on earth. We can bring glory to God by our actions and love to others.

Psalm 115:1 - Not to us, O Lord, but to you goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfullness.

I hope you experience the opportunity of giving God glory by helping someone in need.

With much love,

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Tea at the Whitehouse

Well you would think I am special, like royalty to be invited to Tea at the White House. Well actually I invited myself and took my friend L. Her last name is White and so I always get a giggle saying we are going for tea at the White House, but this time, it is not a L's house - it is at the White House, but not the one that would come to your mind. This White House is a tea shop in Waterdown, Ontario that serves high tea, with scones, jam and clotted cream - well we are both from England and so this is a special treat to enjoy this time together outside on the patio. A last minute idea that meant so much.

On the table next to us was probably 3 generations of women, Grandma, Mom and her daughter I am guessing around 7, and possibly another Aunt. The little girl was dressed in a lovely yellow dress and she had her very own 3-tier sandwich tray with fruit, scones and little triangle sandwiches. I wonder if she realises just what a real princess she is. Well we had Coronation tea, from England, Earl Grey with Jasmine and a few other flavours, it is just so special to have tea with a friend, and the scones are to die for - I hope you visit. I actually bought some of the loose tea to bring home and enjoy. Tell me your favourite!

This day was my Friday off work and I had planned out many chores to accomplish that day - finish an album for Anita's birthday, vacuum, polish, laundry - oh the list was long, it still is and it always will be - but special moments with friends are rare jewels that you can not put a value on - I am so very fortunate to have many jewels in my life and they are more precious than any rubies, diamond or emeralds. Love, laughter and being a friend is what living is about. That means with your neighbours too!

Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you. 3 John 1:5

This is a picture of the real White House, in Waterdown, Ontario.

Friends are the flavour of life!