Friday, March 27, 2009

Hush! God is Here!

I came across this Scripture verse recently.

“Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path and you’ll find rest for your souls...”(Jeremiah 6: 16-19).

I guess it's probably my age, but I often think about the old, godly ways, and long for them.

I'm longing for the reverence of God in acknowledgment of His holiness; an awe of Who He is. I know He's our friend, and I love the relationship we have with Him on that basis.

But He is also God Almighty; Maker of Heaven and Earth; the One Who holds all things together -- the One Whom the angels worship 24 hours a day; the One Whose "eyes are like a flaming fire...His voice as the sound of many waters...."

When John saw Him like that in his vision, he fell at His feet as dead, the book of Revelation says. That's awe!

I'm reminded of a little church my sister and I visited in the UK, in 2007. St. Leonard's in Speeton, Yorkshire dates back at least the the 12th century, maybe even further:

It's the tiniest church I've ever seen -- surely couldn't hold more than 50 people -- set on the outskirts of the village. It was lovely to sit in its pews and meditate for a while; so quiet and peaceful.

But what struck me the most was the sign on the door:

Don't you think this sign should be on every church door?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Finishing Well

Over the course of a lifetime there have been numerous books that have impacted my life and changed me forever. One that comes to mind immediately is The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.

The ten Boom family lived in Holland during the Nazi occupation. Appalled by the treatment of the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis, they took it upon themselves to shelter Jews in a secret room in their house.

Ultimately, the ten Booms were arrested -- but the Jews hiding in their house escaped detection. The ten Booms were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp, where Corrie and her sister Betsy managed to stay together until Betsy passed away there.

Corrie was finally released -- the only one in her family to survive -- apparently because of a clerical error. But the core of the book is the trial of faith which Corrie and Betsy go through in the camp, and the inspiration that Betsy was to her sister and the women in the camp.

You can see the trailer of the movie of The Hiding Place here. And you can find other excerpts from the movie also on YouTube.

The book, and then the movie, had a great impact on my life during an extremely difficult time in my life, and also on the lives of my pre-teen (at that time) children. We have never forgotten Corrie's story and talk about her frequently.

Throughout my lifetime I have read, I think, just about every book Corrie had ever written (she passed away in 1983 at the age of 91), and I have loved every one of them.

But I recently discovered a book I'd not read -- one not written by Corrie herself, but by her latter-years companion, Pamela Rosewell Moore -- about another form of imprisonment that Corrie suffered in her end days.
Corrie suffered several strokes in her 80s. She was in and out of hospitals, undergoing physiotherapy, making headway -- until another stroke would hit. She ultimately lost her speech completely, but lived for quite some time after that...communicating with eyes, through elaborate guessing games with those around her.

"For those five silent years of imprisonment, Corrie's spiritual depth offered mute testimony to her ongoing trust in her heavenly Father.

"The book attests to the truth Corrie loved so dearly: that in spite of everything else, Jesus is always Victor."

This incredibly moving account will encourage anyone, but especially those who are elderly, handicapped, or bedridden -- or those who work with them.

I am none of the above (well, getting to be elderly!), but I was so moved by what I read that when I had finished the book I wrote the following in my journal:

Lord, I desire to 'finish well'

I desire that my life would be pleasing to you to the end.

I desire not to be crotchety and cranky, but to be...

loving and compassionate
full of wisdom (the kind that comes with grey hairs!)
taking care of my health and my body


with a clear and bright mind for as long as possible!

Remember, Lord, that you said;

"Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?" (Jeremiah 32:27)

I am trusting that there is not!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

What are You Reading?

One of my favorite forms of relaxation is reading. I love it so much that when my family asks me what I'd like for birthdays or Christmas, my response is always the same: "Ooh, I'd LOVE a Chapters gift card!" And although they are never thrilled about me not asking for something more beautiful, useful or exotic, I think they've finally got the message!

I received a lovely lot of Chapter's gift cards this past Christmas, and oh, the joy of spending them all on line! I've learned that I can get free shipping if I spend over $40 at one time (as long as I remember to tick the little box), and generally I receive my package within a couple of days.

Chapter's gift cards are like having Christmas all year round!!

I now have a little pile of unread books waiting for me -- how delicious is THAT!

I work from home, so I take a 45 minute lunch break every day, and read a book at the same time...that's generally all I have time for, so the going is slow, but that's ok. It's good discipline for someone who COULD read at least one whole book a day!

I determined at the beginning of the year that I should read some authors I've not read before -- so these are waiting for me (it's quite a mixture):

The Idiot -- Fyodor Dostoevsky (I've heard it's somewhat morbid)

Three by Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, An American Childhood and The Writing Life)

The Man Who Was Thursday: G.K. Chesterton (I love a good mystery; I'm hoping this lives up to its reputation)

Three Men in a Boat: Jerome K. Jerome. Actually, I'm cheating with this one -- I've read it before, but loaned it out and it was never returned. I don't read too many books twice, but this one's worth it -- ya gotta love British humor!

Noah's Flood: Ryan and Pitman (saw some of the documentary on TV, and even if their 'discoveries' are only theories, I found it most interesting)

Here are some I've read since the beginning of the year:

A Hunger for God: John Piper (love his books!)

The Classics We've Read, The Difference They've Made: Philip Yancey (love his, too! I think I've read them all)

The Right Side of the Dyke (A book I received for Christmas from my sister, about Flamborough -- a beautiful village in Yorkshire, UK - where we lived when we were children).

And I'm in the middle of Destined for the Throne: Paul E. Billheimer (a 1975 Christian classic everyone should read)

Three Cups of Tea:
Greg Mortenson
("One man's mission to promote school at a time')

The Way of the Heart:
Henri J.M.Nouwen
("...bringing desert spirituality to bear upon the contemporary scene").

I also like Reader's Digest Condensed Books. A dear friend recently asked me if I would like some that she'd been given. She's still my friend even though, when we met, she loaded my trunk with three boxes of them! I could never read them all -- not in a month of Sundays, so (sorry Maija, if you are reading this!), 2 1/2 boxes went to Goodwill, and I am slowly making my way through the rest.

So...what does your favorite reading look like?

What are you reading right now?

What books would you recommend to me? I've still got some dollars left on my gift cards!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

17th Century Nun's Prayer

Lord, thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing old and will someday be old.

Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.

Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs.

Make me thoughtful but not moody: helpful but not bossy.

With my vast store of wisdom it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end.

Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.

Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others' pains, but help me to endure them with patience.

I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessing cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memory of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a saint -- some of them are so hard to live with -- but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil.

Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And, give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

What's going to happen to the U.S.?

I'm not really into end-time prophecy, but I do keep up with Joel Rosenberg's weblog. Joel seems to have great credibility and much knowledge in this area of theology.

I've read four of his novels: The Last Jihad (2002), The Last Days (2003), The Ezekiel Option (2005) and The Copper Scroll (2006), and I plan to purchase his latest, Dead Heat, when it's published.

I do believe he speaks with integrity when it comes to world politics and economy. So I found his March 6th posting quite interesting. He recently met with some evangelical Christian business leaders in Naples, Florida who asked him what he thought the future held. And one of their questions was:

Where is the United States in End Times Bible prophecy?
When he replied that the Bible makes no indication that the U.S. is a significant player in End Times prophecy, they responded,
“Why? What happens to us?”

You can read Joel's complete post here.

But I'd like to hear what YOU have to say.

Do you think the U.S. is mentioned in End Times Bible prophecy?
If yes, where?

If no -- do you think this is significant?

And what do you think about Joel's response to that question?

Friday, March 6, 2009