Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Oh to Be Like Him...

Our Sunday school teacher shared this challenging poem in our class and in the midst of the holiday pressure to give the most expensive presents, make the tastiest food, and display the largest nativity scene, it's important to remember the real Gift of Christmas. Let Jesus be your glory this Christmas season as we celebrate the sacrifice He so humbly made!

Litany of Humility
By Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val 
 
Oh Jesus meek and humble of heart, hear me.
Deliver me, Jesus, from the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honoured,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebuke,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected.
And, Jesus grant me the desire that others might be loved more than I,
That others might be more esteemed than I,
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others may become holier than I provided that I become as holy as I should.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

You Are Loved...

God created me and you for His pleasure and perfectly in His image. He was delighted with His creation and saw that it was good. But... we messed it up. Consumed with sin, we were no longer fit to associate with God much less to be loved by Him. But God loved us... I can't understand why or how but He did (and still does). In fact, He cared SO much that He sent His own Son down (literally killed Him on a cross) so that we sinful, undeserving, creatures, could live and worship Him.

In my mind I see a picture like this:

He looks at me with pleading eyes as He staggers under the weight af a heavy, dirty, cross meant for me. He is taking my pain, my guilt, my shame...

Inwardly I rebel at the thought of punishing someone so severely... I would never be so harsh as to kill someone on a cross. I'm really not that bad at all...

But when Jesus looks at me with those eyes of His. Purer and stronger with love than any I've ever seen, I feel dirty... Sinful, wretched, worthless, whatever you want to call it but I simply don't make the cut! He, the spotless, perfect, Son of God, is stooping low enough to carry a cross. One that He doesn't even need to carry... The pain and quiet determination in His eyes speaks volumes as He pleads with me to come and kneel at His feet where His blood can drip over me... Washing, cleansing, healing, my heart.

But as I consider it I think of my schoolmates who would make fun of me if I even mentioned Jesus' name and then  mocking visions of giving up a party to go to church, and getting up in the wee hours of morning to do devotions float through my brain.

I look back at the cross, covered in blood, carried by a beaten, bruised, and broken man. The Holy Son of God...

It's irrational, ridiculous really! There's no way I would let a man die for me... I'll make it on my own... He'll see..

Angered by the thought of someone even thinking that they would need to die for me, I turn and spit in the face of my Saviour before shouldering my heavy, black, pack, and resuming my journey down the Road of Life. I travel for miles, running quickly, trying to drown out the memory of the man carrying a cross. As the days pass my frustration mounts as I make mistake after mistake and the weight of the bag labelled sin cuts into my shoulder. At weak moments I allow myself to entertain short visions of the man at the cross and His fascinating eyes. The sorrow of His bent figure.. The piercing crown of thorns on His head.... The blood pouring from His wounds... I think back to the days of innocence... When every day was exciting, forgiveness came easily, and the pack on my back was small. Finally, in utter exhaustion, I take a close look at the pack slung over my shoulder. Memories of the lies, hypocrisy, and hopelessness of my past threaten to engulf me and I turn my face away in shame. It's then that I remember the face of Jesus... I debate a minute, than turn and head back in the direction I came from... As the cross slowly comes in view, my heart begins to pound, and I start running in desperation. The pack weighs me down and as I come to a halt at the foot of the cross, I drop to my knees and fling it to the ground.

I'm afraid to look up because I'm not fit to be seen and that bag of garbage I just threw at the feet of God are sure to disqualify me..

Then I hear a soft voice say my name.. So gently I'm afraid to breath but with a compassion that compels me to look upward. His eyes are like a magnet and they light up with joy as He says, "Rise up my child, Your sins are forgiven." Slightly baffled my eys fall to the pack I flung down minutes before...

I can't believe what I see! The pack: black, stained, and filthy is covered! Drenched in blood!

I look back at Jesus and He smiles as He explains, "You sins are under my blood, I have taken Your punishment. Child, you can go free!"


Saturday, 17 November 2012

Personality Is Just The Beginning

Hey Everyone!
          I felt like I had to share this with someone and I was thinking... thinking... thinking... and all of a sudden a burst of inspiration and I remembered the blog! I have never posted anything before so now that I am writing something, you can be sure it's important! :)
God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to
 leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus!
 -Max Lucado
      WOW! God loves you even when you...
-blow some steam off at your siblings,
-leave a poor witness in Wal-Mart,
-take his forgiveness for granted,
-let the occasional swear word slip,
-down a few too many calories of cheesecake, BUT...
He REFUSES to leave you that way. You are way too important to him and he won't leave you sitting. There is hope for you if you are a constant worrier battling with many fears. God loves you even when you're scared but he loves seeing his child keep growing and putting their faith and trust in Him.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed,
 for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
 -Isaiah 41:10 NIV
       Let go of your old self. God made you with a unique and good personality but... don't get so wrapped up in the thought that you're unique that you let sinful things creep in and you think it's just your personality. For example: Your brother tackles you to the ground, you jump back up as quick as possible and scream at him for scaring you. "Leave me alone! I do NOT like wrestling!" So what if you don't like wrestling? Be a sport. Maybe it's not your thing but screaming should not be your thing either! (I know, it's hard when a brother takes you quite unaware and tackles you down.) 
      We have probably all met people that we are just blown away by and are like, "He is a mirror image of Jesus", or, "She is perfect, is she ever as bad as me?" Well the truth is, no one is perfect, but... strong Christians like that are willing to let Christ change them and work in their life. I want to leave this challenge and hope with you and don't give up because it's worth the fight!

~ Alyssa




Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Can't You See Them?

The hurting people I mean... Maybe it first hit home when I saw the Gospel Echoes brochure that comes every month or heard the starving orphan story from organizations like World Vision and Free the Children. Or maybe it came from hearing different people (even in our church) tell their story of being misunderstood, mocked, or rejected, with tears in their eyes. It hurts... And there's so many of them. Everywhere our family sings we encounter them... The people with hollow-eyed expressions who walk around with that half-scared haunted look in their sad eyes. Often they simply need someone to love them, understand them, and listen to them. Seeing these broken people through the eyes of God puts things in an entirely different light. He loves them... with a passion that we can only see a small glimpse of. He cries when they cry, hurts when they hurt, and holds them when they feel all alone. But the thing that hurts even more then these people's plight is when God's people (His filled with love, bringing peace, children) ignore the cry of those who need understanding (just a friend) and walk by with their nose in the air and sometimes (yes it happens) they may even through a stone or two (not literally, ok? :) But seeing the scars, the sadness... the hurts that are inflicted (even by God's messengers of love) was enough to prompt me to write a song and give these people a voice.. I beg you, as God's son or daughter, share your love, your hope, your joy.. Have compassion! Jesus saved You even though He had no reason to reach out to the dirty, hopeless, human race, who had spit on Him, hit Him, and killed Him. Please reach out in His Name... Just look around and you'll find them everywhere... the street corner, in the grocery store, in the nursing home, at school, and in church...

http://dmthe3rd.wordpress.com/category/uncategorized/
http://www.onelowerlight.com/writing/?p=7614

       




 Face It With A Prayer

Can't you see the one who's hurting,
Crying out does someone care?
Is there someone who will listen,
Hear me out and let me share?
 
Can't you see the one who's desperate,
Wondering is there hope for me,
Worry, sadness, and deception,
Mock my life of misery.
 
Can't you see the one who's praying,
For a friend who'll see his need?
Won't you go and share his burden?
On your knees you too can plead.

Won't you go and be a beacon,
Help your brother in despair?
Cause together you can journey,
And face it with a prayer.



Saturday, 29 September 2012

Upcoming Concert

Location: Faith Mennonite Church
                1533 Chalmers-Forrest
                Wellesley, ON N0B 2T0
Date: October 21, 2012
Time: 7:30 p.m.
 
Note: The concert will be instrumental and will be held in the church's gym.     
Address:


 
 


 

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Will You Blossom?

It's one of those sad Sundays when I'm cut off from all socializing and worshipping with fellow believers by a simple, annoying, cold. Sick of being retained in the housed, I trotted back the bush-lane for some fresh air. Now just last night, as me and Alyssa lay in bed staring at the ceiling (and I was trying to impart my big-sisterly wisdom to her) we discussed how we as Christians aren't perfect immediately after conversion. Sure we ask Jesus to come into our hearts and He cleanses and redeems us, but that`s only the beginning of our journey with Him. There's still that old, fleshly, sinful, nature that rears it's ugly head time and time again. Every day we learn more about surrendering, dying to self, and how to love our Creator and Saviour. As I was walking back the grassy lane this afternoon, I saw this small stem of flowers that had just passed it's prime with only a few bright, cheery, blooms still hanging in there. I snapped it off and started discarding the dead, shrivelled-up, buds that had long given up all traces of life... Then like a flash it hit me... This stem represented the verses in John 15 that say, I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. The bright yellow blooms had lived for awhile and had gone through growth spurts, rain, and wind, before they burst forth into a beautiful, fragrant, flower.
 
The dead, dried-up seeds, had gone through the same storms and growth spurts as the blooming flowers, but evidently they had given up, curled into a ball, and died. The problem is, Jesus calls us to keep thriving, to keep living, to get our strength from Him. He says, I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. (John 15:5&6)
 
 
Two weeks ago (September 9) Alyssa was baptized and promised to be faithful to God no matter what storms she goes through. Her theme verse was Hebrews 12:1, Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
 
 
The verdict is, we as young Christians all have a race to run, trials to face, storms to go through... We cannot choose what our life all includes, but we can (and must) choose how we will let it impact us. We can let hard times strengthen us, make us patient, and transform us into a beautiful blossom, or we can choose to let them harden us, make us bitter, until we curl up and die.... Which will you be? A beautiful flower, or a withered up seed? It's your choice...

Thursday, 13 September 2012

My Saviour

All I see is a canvas, splashed with guilt, sin, and shame.
On it's written, you're a sinner, in a scorning jagged hand.
The sheet is stained, the edges torn, my record's there for all to see.
I'm an outcast, hopeless prisoner, Satan smiles his evil glee.

But then Jesus starts arranging, and the blackened space removes,
Three long nails, a crown of thorns; his blood drops down into the grooves.
He looks at me and says it's finished, go my daughter, sin no more,
I smile in wonder, my heart is broken, Jesus my Saviour, my King, my Lord.

~ Corrine Horst

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Stick Closer Than A Brother...

I see it's been nearly a month since this poor blog had someone enscribe upon it :( In that case I shall pick a joyful and beautiful topic to make up for the long absence :) Throughout the 17 1/2 years I have been on this earth have been blessed with a large variety of friends. Some short - some tall, some freckled - some pimpled, and some loyal while others had two sides to them. Being a good (loyal) friend takes a LOT of work and determination. We all love having a "friend who sticks closer than a brother" but the tables turn when that trusting friend tells you a secretive secret that's to be kept only between you and them. So... for the next number of days you miserably stumble around trying desparately not to let this gigantic (and SO interesting) secret out to those around you until one moment when you simply can't hold it in any longer and a person was conveniently (or not so conveniently) available to hear it you let the secret out with a big dramatic whoosh and bam!! You just betrayed the friend who was trusting you. So maybe that was a little over-dramatic, but you get the picture. It's quite easy to forget yourself or give in to the temptation for a little bit of juicy (and destructive) gossip and before you know it, POP! The secret is out and maybe just as quickly (unless that special friend of yours is ultra-forgiving) your friendship (and that trust) is completely demolished. I think God had a reason for commanding us to love our neighbour (including our friends) as ourselves, and giving us examples (like Jonathan and David) to follow... So the conclusion is stick to your friends, hold their trust in you, and keep your mouth shut! Won't that make you happy to hear your friends say "I have a friend that sticks closer than a brother!" Proverbs 18:24

Monday, 30 July 2012

God Has Got a Plan For You

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path." Proberbs 3:5&6

The last while I've been thinking how life takes unexpected turns and curves and most or all of the time and we really have no idea what's over the next hill. This verse is truly amazing and a great promise for any one of God's children to hold onto. None of knows for sure where we'll be in ten years or even ten months from now. We may still be on earth or we may be rejoicing in heaven :) Whatever happens friend, just trust God with all the big and little things of your life. He has a plan for you!

"God has got a plan for me,
No matter what the circumstance may be,
At times I may not understand,
Still my life is in his hands
God has got a plan for me."

Song by Daughters of Grace

Friday, 13 July 2012

The Western Haul

So before you screw up your face at the lack of posting for the last few weeks, I shall reveal the secrets of poor internet and cellphone connection, 8 people squished into an RV for 3 weeks straight, singing for a few thousand people, and visiting the majestic Rockies. About 1 day, 18 hrs, and 27 min. ago my family drove in the lane and piled out of the RV back onto our glorious, spacious farm! We trooped into the house and wandered around like lost puppies completely baffled by the unlimited space...

No more boggle games!
What happened to my crops?!
(Thanks to our uncle and aunt the farm looked great :)
 
 
Clean out the RV? You gotta be kidding!
No more hair! Travelling with 5 women means everything gets covered in strands. Hair was hanging out of the cupboards, floating in the dishwater, and even wrapped around the toilet brush!
                                                                                                                             
Overall we had a wonderful time and since three weeks is a long time this will be a long post full of pictures :) The reason we embarked on this journey in the first place, was to sing at Thousand Oaks Camp in Winkler, Manitoba. The people there were wonderful and their passion for God was incredible. You can check it out at: http://www.thousandoaksinc.org/index.html

The 4 long-distance groups for the weekend...

The Glick Family
Gospel Echoes Ontario Team

Kenny & Milly Jackson

The Horst Family

The Children

The view from stage

The Food Stand

The row of RVs








The crowd on Sunday afternoon

                                                                                                                         
So after our great weekend we travelled on out across the prairies to see the majestic Rockies. Since we took at least 1,000 pictures there are a lot to choose from and therefore a lot on this post :) Following are some of the major events and highlights:

On the Road:















                                                                                                                           

Scenes Along the Way:


Salt hills beside the Trans-Canada highway in Saskatchewan.

West Edmonton Mall

A beautiful prairie sunset

A Mountain Goat (Alberta)

The Great Canadian Rockies!

Building a snowman, just to prove we were in snow :)

Athabasca Falls (Alberta)

Our trusty steed

Dad and Mom on their honeymoon - 1994


.... and 18 years later :)


The ice glaciers in the Rockies

Rowing on Emerald Lake (AB)

ATVs!!

Dad, Jess, Stacey, and Jamie got to take a blazer much to their delight :)

Drinking water off the sidewalk...
(Who would've invented that?)

Visiting a Hutterite Colony

The Badlands (AB)

Cactus in the Badlands

Lakeside (a huge feedlot in AB)

Raking and baling the ditches along the Trans-Canada :)
                                                                                                                          
As you can see our trip out west was a lot of fun, a lot of work, but definitely worth it :)

A quote to remember :)

"When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money!" ~ Unknown