Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalms 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4
And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7
I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is…Will you be my child? John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
He's an absolutely incredible writer: intellectual, but not overly cerebral; wickedly funny, but in a dry, self-effacing way; wise, but not condescending; and, most important, Don loves God with his whole heart.
Don came to speak at my church several years ago (before he was famous), and I found he really appealed to the person I was back in college - the idealistic left-wing liberal. I always find it so refreshing when a committed and passionate follower of Christ is also a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat who truly cares about social issues (I guess I jut love to "explode" stereotypes....) :-)
Regardless, Don was interviewed by Steve Brown (www.stevebrownetc.com) and I wanted to include a link to the audio portion of the interview. It's really fantastic and definitely worth a listen. (Links below - Click on the "play" icon once you're re-directed to the SBE webpage.)
Don Miller Interview - Part One
Don Miller Interview - Part Two
Friday, January 25, 2008
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Therefore, since warm weather and Spring flowers are still a good 2 months away, I thought I'd post a video that would help clear out "mental icicles".... so watch the below, enjoy the sights and sounds, and relax. Spring will return; it always does. :-)
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
- Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.
- Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.
- Beauty is God's handwriting.
- Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.
- Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.
- What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.
- A man is what he thinks about all day long.
- Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants, and to serve them one's self?
- As we grow old, the beauty steals inward.
- Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.
- It is not the length of life that matters, but the depth of life.
- God enters by a private door into every individual.
- To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
- Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
- Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as to think.
- Earth laughs in flowers.
sees a sign in front of a broken down shanty-style house:
"Talking Dog For Sale."
He rings the bell and the owner appears and tells him the dog
is in the backyard. The guy goes into the backyard and sees a
serious looking dog sitting there.
"You talk?" he asks.
"Yep," the dog replies.
After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog speak,
he says, "So, what's your story?"
The dog looks up and says, "Well, I discovered that I could
talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government,
so I told them. In no time at all they had me jetting from
country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world
leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.
I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years
"But the jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I
wasn't getting any younger so I decided to settle down. I
signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover
security, wandering near suspicious characters and listening
"I uncovered some incredible stuff and was awarded a bunch of
medals. I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I'm just
The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he
wants for the dog.
"Ten dollars," the guy says.
"Ten dollars?! This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you
selling him so cheap?"
"Because he's a liar. He never did any of that stuff."
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
So, while surfing some of my favorite blogs, I came upon the below. This is from Ann V's blog: http://holyexperience.blogspot.com/ . Ann's writing is truly a gift: it is profound and amazing. I'm sure she would be the first to say she lives an ordinary life - she is a farmer's wife and mother of 6, carving out a simple life in a rural corner of Ontario. I've never met her but her writing has left me speechless on many occasions with its sheer power and beauty.
I have copied her Personal Creed below. This is not my creed, mind you, although it's very close to what I would like mine to encompass. Her writing is beautiful, honest, and moving.
I love the words she chose, and how the clear adoration of her Maker and her Savior shines through. Ann is an inspiration to me, and I know she is an inspiration to many other women as well.
I believe in Jehovah God who created the whirling galaxies, the birds soaring in the sky overhead, the endless crashing waves and all that dances within them.
I believe in Father of all who knits together life, made in His very own image, in the secret quiet of our beings.
I believe in Jesus Christ, the One with no earthly Father, with the dust of this earth between His toes, and with our names etched onto the palm of His hands, right beneath the nail scars…Who now sits at the Father’s right hand making endless intercession on our behalf.
I believe in the stone rolled away, in the Body being raised, in the first fruits of the dead…and us all following soon, very soon.
I believe in the Cross as our only Hope, our only Claim, and our only Foundation.
I believe that in the pounding surf of life we have only one thing to cling to: the feet of our Lord, hanging on that tree, His lifeblood flowing down, washing us whiter than snow.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, moving, whispering, indwelling our very skin.
I believe in living by the Spirit, walking in the Spirit, and producing fruit in the Spirit…in the Spirit who helps us in our weakness with groanings that can’t be expressed in words.
I believe in the infallibility of the Bible, God’s Word - a sure Word, a pure Word, the only secure Word.
I believe the words on those pages are breathed from the very throne room of heaven, and are the love letter penned from the heart of the Lover of our souls; a beacon of light for stumbling feet to find sure footing on a dark path.
I believe there is more than believing.
There is living what I believe.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
I remember when I was a kid, and the excitement and the giddiness of the impending snow day. I remember waiting and hoping that school would be called off... getting up while it was not yet light out.... straining to see out my bedroom window into the dark (is there snow on the ground?). Yes! Then, of course, there was the agony of waiting through the interminably long list of school closings on the radio. It always seemed like my school system was the VERY last one to announce whether or not they would close.
At long last, it was announced - my school was closed for the day! There was the delicious bliss of being able to go back to sleep for awhile. Then I'd wander downstairs in my jammies; watch cartoons for awhile, and have breakfast. Mom would make french toast and hot cocoa for me and my brother, and she'd have a fire going in the fireplace. Once we were full and ready to brave the elements, the fun would begin. We'd get all bundled up and go outside, meet up with our friends and make snowmen and have snowball fights. We'd stay outdoors until our hands were completely numb and we couldn't feel our toes. So we'd come back in, thaw out by the fire, drink more cocoa, then go out and do it all some more. I also loved walking through the woods with my dog and the way the fresh snow would crunch under my boots and how quiet everything was; and how everything looked so different when it was covered in a blanket of pure white. Beautiful. Silent.
I really hope it snows tonight.
I'll have the french toast and the hot chocolate ready for my kids.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
When I meditated on the word Guidance,
I kept seeing "dance" at the end of the word.
I remember reading that doing God's will is a lot like dancing.
When two people try to lead, nothing feels right.
The movement doesn't flow with the music,
and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky.
When one person realizes that, and lets the other lead,
both bodies begin to flow with the music.
One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back
or by pressing lightly in one direction or another.
It's as if two become one body, moving beautifully.
The dance takes surrender, willingness,
and attentiveness from one person
and gentle guidance and skill from the other.
My eyes drew back to the word Guidance.
When I saw "G: I thought of God, followed by "u" and "i".
"God, "u" and "i" dance."
God, you, and I dance.
As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust
that I would get guidance about my life.
Once again, I became willing to let God lead.
My prayer for you today is that God's blessings
and mercies be upon you on this day and everyday.
May you abide in God as God
abides in you.
Dance together with God, trusting God to lead
and to guide you through each season of your life.
This prayer is powerful and there is nothing attached.
If God has done anything for
you in your life,
please share this message with someone else,
for prayer is one of the best gifts we can receive.
There is no cost but a lot of rewards;
so let's continue to pray for one another.
And I Hope You Dance
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Saturday, January 12, 2008
it is not a person.
Yesterday really did end last night.
Today is a brand new day.
That simply means that you can fail in an event,
but by no stretch of imagination
does that make you a failure as a person.
Friday, January 11, 2008
- "I expect to pass through this life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again." - William Penn
- "Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough." - Franklin D. Roosevelt
- "A kind word can warm three Winter months." - Japanese Proverb
- "That best portion of a good man's life are his little nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love." - Williams Wordsworth
- "Kindness in women, not their beauteous looks, shall win my love." -William Shakespeare
- "Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust and hositility to evaporate." - Albert Schweitzer
- "Wise sayings often fall on barren ground; but a kind word is never thrown away." - Sir Arthur Helps
- "Kindness has converted more sinners than zeal, eloquence, or learning." - Frederick W. Faber
- "One can pay back the loan of gold, but one lies forever in debt to those who are kind." - Marcus Aurelius
- "What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?" - George Eliot
- "Kindness begets kindness." - Sophocles
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Monday, January 7, 2008
Posted: December 19, 20071:00 a.m. Eastern
"Just like on other days of the year, at Christmas time there will be Christians who perish in the death camps of North Korea, ranked No. 1 on the Open Doors World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the greatest persecution," said a spokesman for the group.
Reports of the execution of Christians in North Korea circulate routinely, sometimes for an offense no worse than having a Bible.
"The state is working hard to wipe out Christianity," said Open Doors USA spokesman Jerry Dykstra.
"Nowhere in the world is such a high price paid as in this country with its tyrannical regime," he said.
Dykstra released a statement on the "celebration" in North Korea of Christmas, as an observance of the birth of Christ one of Christianity's most significant dates.
"No bright lights, no Christmas dinner and not even a Christmas Eve service for the followers of Jesus Christ," will be on tap for the holiday.
"This Christmas – just like any other day in the year – there are no festive lights in the streets of Pyongyang. The city is largely shrouded in darkness. North Korea is the only country in the world where the Cold War is not yet over, and one of the few countries in which it is not permitted to celebrate Christmas at all," he said.
But even under such repression, "Christians find ways to celebrate Christmas," he said.
Confirmation comes from "Brother Simon," who coordinates the work of Open Doors from a secret location.
"But, of course, Christians do reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ," he said. "Only they can't just go along to church to sing or listen to a sermon. They can't even visit one another to read the Bible together. Being a Christian in North Korea is very lonely."
He said most often Christians gather in groups of only two, trying to keep underneath the social radar that alerts authorities to groups that meet. Only sporadically, and in secret locations, do numbers higher than that assemble.
"For example (on an ordinary Sunday), a Christian goes and sits on a bench in the park. Another Christian comes and sits next to him. Sometimes it is dangerous even to speak to one another, but they know they are both Christians, and at such a time, this is enough. If there is no one around, they may be able to share a Bible verse which they have learned by heart and briefly say something about it. They also share prayer topics with each other. Then they leave one another and go and look for Christians in some other part of their town. This continues throughout Sunday. A cell group usually consists of fewer than 20 Christians who encourage and strengthen one another in this way. Besides this, there are one-to-one meetings in people's homes," Simon said.
It's similar with Christmas.
"Christmas is mainly celebrated in the heart of the Christian," said Simon. "Only if the whole family has turned to Christ is it possible to have something like a real gathering. For fear of retribution it is necessary to keep your faith hidden from the neighbors. It is sometimes possible to hold a meeting in remote areas with a group of 10 to 20 people. Very occasionally, it is possible for Christians to go unobtrusively into the mountains and to hold a 'service' at a secret location. Then there might be as many as 60 or 70 North Koreans gathered together."
But he noted that like any other day of the year, there will be those martyred for their faith on Christmas Day.
This repression, however, is proving unsuccessful at halting the church's growth, he confirmed. "The church is growing," he said, based on information from his networks of sources, and largely is due to refugees who have fled North Korea, but come to Christ in the relatively free society of China, and return to their homeland as missionaries.
WND previously reported on the escape of a North Korean man from the bondage of that nation's dictatorship, who reported many North Koreans believe dictator Kim Jong-il actually is a god.
The Christian, now living in South Korea, was identified only as Mr. Kim. He told Voice of the Martyrs that Kim Jong-il, and his late father Kim Il Sung, both are portrayed as gods.
"All North Koreans really believe that Kim Il Sung is a god. He [hid] the bad things he had done, to preserve his godlike status to the people. I think 70 to 80 percent of what is said about Kim Il Sung is similar to the Bible," he told the ministry, for which he also recorded himself singing .
Mr. Kim sings "Brightly beams, Our Father's mercy."
While comprehensive information about Kim Jong-il's present rule in North Korea is hard to obtain because of the absolute dictatorship that exists, anecdotal evidence abounds about his cruelty and excesses.
For example, Camp 22, the nation's largest concentration camp can hold up to 50,000 men, women and children accused of political "crimes," while reports of atrocities such as the rampant murder of babies born to inmates are supported by witnesses.
Meanwhile, his expensive tastes have become known internationally. Reuters reported, "No one enjoys luxury goods more than paramount leader Kim Jong-il, who boasts the country's finest wine cellar with space for 10,000 bottles. … His annual purchases of Hennessy cognac reportedly total to $700,000, while the average North Korean earns the rough estimate equivalent of $900 per year."
Mr. Kim said while growing up he had no real knowledge of religion, and had not even heard about Christianity. He had seen filmed representations of Christmas parties but had no idea they were related to Jesus.
"We were taught that religion is the opium of the people, and that pastors were spies of South Korea, trying to bring imperialism to North Korea. I was taught that religion was bad and school text books reinforced this idea, explaining that people from other countries built the hospitals, schools and did all kinds of good deeds for North Korea in order to spy," he said.
Then, like others, he went to visit relatives in China as a college student during 1998, and was shocked.
"The conditions overall were better in China, but one thing I really noticed was that people were energetic and had dreams. In North Korea, even college students were depressed and under a lot of pressure. When I returned to North Korea, I couldn't forget the faces of those in China," he said.
He went back to China, "escaped" is how he described it, just a few months later.
"I had heard if you go to churches the members would help. That's why I went to a church," he said. There he first got financial and other help. "I also went to a church in Shanghai, where I met a man who was president of a company who offered me a job… I found out later that this man was also an elder in a church," he said.
At that company, he was exposed to worship services morning and night.
"I spent one and a half years studying the Bible, underlining passages and taking notes," he said. "I really focused on studying the Bible, and this was the time that I became a Christian."
As WND has reported, not all Christians are so fortunate.
Son Jong Hoon and his brother, Son Jong Nam, who has been condemned to execution in North Korea for being a Christian (Voice of the Martyrs photo)
An international campaign was launched by the Voice of the Martyrs to generate worldwide pressure on North Korean officials who have ordered a man executed for being a Christian.
Son Jong Hoon told a news conference in Washington, D.C., that his life's goal now is to save his brother, Son Jong Nam, a former North Korean Army officer turned underground evangelist.
"I pray to God for my brother's safety," he said, describing the horrors of the basement jail cell where Son Jong Nam has been held, beaten and tortured since his most recent arrest.
Friday, January 4, 2008
“No,” the teacher replied, “that’s not my point. The point is: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you will never get them in at all.”
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Below are my New Years resolutions for 2008. Yes, these are a joke. (I'm all FOR personal change, but I think the habit of making Grand Pronouncements on January 1st is a wee bit silly.)
- Gain weight. At least 30 pounds.
- Stop exercising. Complete waste of time.
- Read less. Why bother thinking?
- Watch more TV. Think of all the good stuff I might have been missing!
- Procrastinate more. Starting tomorrow.
- Take a vacation to someplace important.... like to see the world's largest ball of twine.
- Start being superstitious, and begin using the "evil eye" to ward off enemies.
- Personal goal: bring back disco. Dress like an extra from “Flashdance”.
- Buy an '83 low-rider Eldorado and get a really loud stereo system; the kind that makes the windows vibrate. Tint the windows purple and buy some pink fur for the dash.
- Wear hip hugger jeans that are 2 sizes too small. Accent this with a midriff baring top. Don't forget the navel ring to complete the look.
As always, Dave Barry's "Year in Review" is hilarious and worth reading. Below is a link to his 2007 Year In Review column from the Miami Herald: