Saturday, November 18, 2006

Another week

Well it’s a dreary Saturday outside here in the “Great White North” (well it’s not white yet but we will see more white than green over the next 6 months!!)

Chris & Tammye got back from their cruise on Saturday (11th) after dinner and we had a nice evening visiting and looking at their pictures. In the picture , Linda is with Hunter & Camdyn. Camdyn is wearing an oversized top that her mom brought her from Jamacia. Either it will need adjustments or it will have to wait for her to grow into it. If she keeps sprouting like she has been that won't be long.

Camdyn came down with a sore throat and cough that had kept her out of school Thursday & Friday. Her mother took her to the doctor on Monday and found she had sinus/ear infection and she is now on antibiotics. Aside from that we had a great time with the kids sharing in their stories – I suffered my usual “whupping” at the video games administered by my 8 year old grandson – How on earth can you figure out which of those 10 buttons to push at the right time to keep from getting blown up or falling in a hole??

Sunday we decided to head out mid-afternoon and drove as far as Oconto, WI before stopping for the night. Monday,we drove through rain, sleet and some snow before the precipitation stopped about 30 minutes from home.

The rest of the week whizzed by as I was catching up on my projects, class work and the occasional foray to find what was going on out in “blogland”. Linda was busy getting the house back into order to her satisfaction – although I will say she was pleased that I had managed to keep it from looking like a disaster.

We spent a few hour cleaning out the garage and packing summer stuff away into the shed so we can get the car in before the snow flies and that's pretty much it for this week.

A few things happened while we were away that I hadn’t mentioned.

On the way to Aurora I stopped for lunch in Merrellville Indiana to meet Glenn Ziegler – a “blogging buddy” that I met on the Berean Spirit list. He is a “tad” taller than I am. He is 2 metres (6’ 7”) -- "towering" 28 cm (11 inches higher than I -- and out weighs me by a few kilos (lbs) as well. We had a short visit over lunch. Good to put a face and a “real” person to add to the “virtual” conversations that we have had.

I received an email from my sister Goldie that Morris was finally scheduled for hip replacement surgery on December 4th, earlier than expected. He has been in a lot of pain and we pray that the surgery will allow him to get around without having to endure that.

On the 7th I got an email from my sister Ruby announcing that my Dad now has 71 direct descendents with the 35th great-grandchild (Art & Ruby’s their 3rd grandchild ) being born to James & January Ford. To learn more about Kiera Lynn Ford click HERE

I also got an email from my youngest sister Diamond (that’s all of the family “jewels” heard from!!) reporting on her ongoing medical issues with loss of balance and inability to concentrate which means that for now she is unable to drive. That is a challenge for her and we pray that the Drs. will figure out something to resolve it.

There was a lot of chatter on the NET about the US elections this past week. Monday was the day for municipal elections here in Ontario. Our Mayor John Roswell was re-elected for a 3rd term. Some people may be puzzled by that because he has had a global view and a lot of “wild-eyed” schemes to improve our economy by various international trade initiatives which required him to make several trips to other continents. He was sometimes referred to in the press as “jet setting” Johnny. His opponents mostly ran campaigns of “not doing what he was doing” rather than outlining a positive agenda that would provide benefits to the community and I suspect that people voted for “trying to do something” rather than “complaining about how that something was being done” . I’m basically “apolitical” and, while I exercise my right to vote, I usually give it to those who I feel will be most focused on working for the good of the community rather than pursuing selfish agendas – although sorting that out can make your head hurt.

For the rest of this post I want to point you to some interesting blog traffic that I browsed through this week .

My friend Dee Andrews sent this note “I'm very happy to announce that Finding Direction: The Wind Vane Chronicles is starting a new mini-contest today. Rules are simple. There aren't any except that you only have two weeks to enter your submissions. The contest is to officially name the new Finding Direction Fan Club. Read about it here: Finding Direction Fan Club Name Contest

Bobby Cohoon from North Carolina wrote a somewhat tongue-in-cheek article on allergies pondering on how to see this affliction as one of the blessings of God’s creation. Click HERE

Mike Cope talks about a book by Barry Schwarz on our consumer society and why “More is less
John Dobbs tries to relieve his angst about living with a doctor ordered diet by offering a little light hearted chatter about a ”plethora” of things. Click Here

Larry James challenges Christians to think about the justice behind oppressing the poor and alien workers in the US – but I think there are issues here at home that fit in this category Click HERE

Finally, Bobby Valentine gives us something to laugh at in his listing of which Hymn is suitable for various occupations and driving habits Click HERE

I did come across a new blog site on denominations referred to by “Wren” who visited and left a comment here last week. I haven’t had time to explore it yet so I don’t have any comment on what might be found there.

Well that’s my week – Hope you all had a good one – What will next week bring? God knows and God is good. (even though I may not always see the good I know it is there to be found)

God Bless

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Mary Seabrook

I had mentioned Mary Seabrook in several of my posts over the past few weeks. Mary was a long-time friend of my parents and had attended at Pine Hill where her daughter Leona attends for many years. She has been unable to get out for the past several years due to her age and ongoing health problems. She fell with a broken hip in early October and was unable to recuperate from that. She left this world for a better home on Thursday November 9 2006.

Our prayers are with her family as they say goodbye.

Obituary for Mrs. Mary Alice (nee Shedden) Seabrook

SEABROOK, Mrs. Mary Alice (nee Shedden) - Peacefully passed away at the F.J. Davey Home with loved ones by her side on Thursday, November 9th, 2006 in her 96th year. Beloved wife of Gordon for 40 years (predeceased in 1971). Daughter of the late John and Louisa Shedden (Ingram). Sister of the late Fred Shedden (Dorothy), Aliza Lewis (Stuart), Annie Mortimore (Bill), Louisa Shedden and John Shedden (Frances). Cherished mother of Donald (Diane), Leona Devin (Lionel) and the late Glen. Grandmother of Vonnie Eveleigh (Arch) of Angus, Kathy Stevenson (Terry) of Burlington, Judy Lang (Andrew) of Oakville and Andrea Dawson (Jarrette) of Sault Ste. Marie. Great grandmother of Tyler and Devin Eveleigh, Dexter and Lindsay Stevenson, Christopher and Alicia Lang. Special “great-gramma“ of Jacob Causley- Wilkins and Elijah Dawson. Resting at the BEGGS FUNERAL HOME Thessalon where friends may call on Monday, November 13, 2006 from 10 a.m. until time of service at 11:30 a.m. Interment in Maple Ridge Cemetery. Donations to the F.J. Davey Home or the charity of your choice gratefully accepted.

Friday, November 10, 2006

C'est la vie

I'm at my Son's place in Aurora helping? Linda look after Hunter & Camdyn while Chris & Tammye are on a cruise celebrating their 15th anniversary.

I arrived here on Wednesday -- very happy to see Linda after almost a month apart due to her grandmothering "excursions" - first to B.C. to watch Will and then here to watch the other 2.

Yesterday I took Sonny (the dog) for a walk and saw a vanity plate that said "Say la vi"
It took a moment but I quicly recognized the French saying "C'est la vie" that is used to express the saying "that's life" or that's the way it is.

As I thought about this saying I wondered about the meaning -- How do we use this expression -- is it a good philosophy to live by or is it a more cynical "what's the use" type of attitude.

I thought about Wednesday evening when Linda had been thinking we would take time for dessert and tea after the kids were in bed -- so we could catch up on each others thoughts -- and not knowing she had this in mind I had my desert before she came down causing her significant distress. C'est la vie but ... Is that life -- to accept disappointment or is it life to accept your "insensitivity" and move on.

Of course, we all handle our failures (intentional or otherwise) in different ways. -- often in sequence.

We can deny -- we can say its not my fault -- you should have told me what you were thinking.

We can try to remove the problem -- we can say I didn't mean it and you shouldn't be upset -- effectively shifting the "reason" for the hurt to other people --

We can dwell on going over it again and explaing how it happened or why it happened trying to see where we went wrong. But explaining why doesn't help and often it shifts the failure to someone else -- Why weren't they more clear? Why didn't they ...

We can get into "begging" saying "I'm sorry -- forgive me" and then get upset because that doesn't make the problem go away -- it isn't just a matter of "I'm sorry" and all the hurt disappears. Again we start shifting it to the other person -- I'm sorry -- so you should get over it ..

Or we can say "C'est la vie" -- "it is what it is" -- I failed, the consequnces are there, I didn't want this to happen but it did and I'm cupable -- it was me who made this what it is -- I can't change that -- I can't re-wind the clock and take away the consequences but I can accept my failure and turn to helping do whatever I can to help the healing -- I can sit down and listen to how you feel and how this has hurt you and I can do so without being defensive or accusing you of failing to forgive -- "it is what it is" and we move on with that reality --

You know we sometimes are so harsh in our judgement of other people's visible failures - I'm thinking of the Ted Haggard situation -- the consequences of his behavior have a tremendous impact. They make it easy for people to say "that's why I don't want to be a Christian because they are all hypocrites" -- and certainly that is why Chritian leaders need to be above reproach.

I am very sad for this hurting and harmful action -- I am angry at the ammunition that Satan has given the world to doubt the power of our Lord because he devoured this man and drew him (by his own choices and through his own lack of faith) into this wickedness.

But it is easy to be suspicious of his sincerity and the genuineness of his penitence -- it is easy to be angry at him and think that's a horrible sin because it is devastating to so many people when a public person breaks faith with their trust.

However, in terms of how he deals with this failing his options are the same as mine and yours -- when we fail in my relationships -- and in the first instance it is between him and God and his wife and his close family & friends. Others who are at more of a distance aren't really part of this healing process (or in assessing that he is not seeking healing) -- It isn't about us and we can't judge what is going on. Time will tell and God knows -- that is enough for me.--

But as described above "it is what it is" -- "C'est la vie" --

The real question is will he do what it takes in surrendering himself -- taking himself out of the issue and move to healing those relationships or will he see it as about "Ted" and focus on "rationalizing" and "suppressing" -- only God and he know his heart and I pray his heart is being "cut" until his focus is not on "fixing" himsel but rather on seeking healing for others -- for I believe healing of self only comes by surrender of self to the altar of "others first"- in particular surrender to Jesus.

So "Say la vi" -- Say there is life -- there is hope for those who surrender self and look to healing and restoration through surrender to God.

I pray for myself, for others I hurt in my day and I pray for Ted Haggard as to-day's "visible" sinner.

Avoid pointing at him - rather think about healing your own broken relationships -- those without sin should cast the first stones.

God Bless

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Fighting the Blahs

One of the things I like about blogging is the connections you make with other people. Since starting this blog in March and through my connection with John Dobbs (see links on the sidebar) I have made acquaintances with a number of bloggers (most of whom I’ve never met outside cyberspace butI have come to regard them as friends)

Some I visit regularly and some less frequently – but the great thing is that they will so often say something in their blog that may seem incidental to them but for some reason is just what I needed to hear at that time. I choose to think that God has a hand in that but in any case it happens. This gives me hope that some of my meanderings and musings may be helpful to others. – and once in while I get a comment from someone that suggests this is true.

I say all that because my friend Dee writes in her November 1st posting

“Any of you ever get the blahs?
If so, what do you do about them? What do you advise? I need help.
I've got the blahs. Big time.
Actually, I do have the blahs and nothing seems quite right. I'm not my usual perky self. It started on the weekend, which wasn't up to it's usual two days of riotous laughs, and has now settled in in earnest. Everyone at church noticed it Sunday. They all kept asking me what was wrong and how was I feeling.
I'm feeling okay, I'm just out of sorts a bit and bored. BLAH!! “

Well Dee doesn’t know this (yet) but her honest admission that she was experiencing the BLAHS was sufficient to keep me from falling into that black hole of discouragement this weekend.

If you had the patience to go back through my postings you would find a frequent theme is the battle I have with “slumps’ (see for example my post for Friday May 26 ) most often brought on because I have become overcommitted and have made the matter worse by frittering away my time on things other than the stuff I’ve promised to do.

This past week (see yesterday’s post) was one were I just couldn’t seem to get the things on my list done. Towards the end of the week – it started to snow signaling a long winter ahead and every where I looked there was a bunch of “unfinished clutter” – all this was was starting to depress me. And then I read about Dee’s BLAHS and somehow the candor (and humor) – the humanity -- that showed in that post gave me a jolt – and instead of “slumping” I just buckled down and got to work.

Things aren’t perfect –I have a ”back breaking” list of things to complete Monday & Tuesday so I can leave Wednesday to go to Aurora (Chicago) but the feeling of “what’s the use – I might as well just let it all go because I’ll never get it done” has gone. So- weird as it may seem and with my apologies to Dee for profiting from her “misery” – Thank you Dee for having the BLAHS and sharing it –I hope that writing it and the comments you got helped you because you have helped me.

Linda arrived at Chris & Tammye’s yesterday p.m. She is pretty wiped out from the traveling and the time change. When I talked to her this p.m. she was really looking forward to tomorrow (Monday) when the kids would be in school and she could crash for a day. Only 2 more days and our month-long separation will be over. I think I’ve mentioned this before but I can’t help but thinking how blessed we have been – this is the longest separation we have experienced in 40 years of marriage.

Ted Miller from Thessalon spoke for us at Pinehill this morning. Our friendship with Ted & Laura goes back to high school. (I did a recent post talking about celebrating our 40th anniversaries this year (Click HERE to find out more about them and our longstanding friendship).

Ted’s lesson was on the need to put priority on the Great Commandment (Love God) and the “Golden rule” (love others) and to have our actions as Christians flow from love as opposed to what he called a ”check list system” –we have a list of do’s and don’t’s and we think we are doing OK if we can check these things off the list. This “system” or ”performance” based Christianity is “dead” (useless) in the absence of love and faith in God’s promises.

Normally, we have small group studies Sunday afternoon in place of an evening service. However, the first Sunday of the month we all meet for a common study time followed by a period of social fellowship to celebrate any birthday’s or anniversaries that are coming up.

It was my turn to provide the lesson for that session this week. I borrowed some material from Bobby’s Valentine's study of Deuteronomy showing that God’s covenant with the Israelites was a covenant of ”Love & Grace” –that the commands were given to the Israelites as way for them to show an obedient love response to God’s love and that there were 7 “unchanging” principles in those commands that applied to God’s people today as much as they applied to the Israelites.

Well – time for bed – To-morrow will be a full day. I’ll be traveling Wednesday and we won’t get home until the 13th—so I may not be posting again until after we are back.

God Bless

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Tempus fugit

Here it is Saturday again- It hardly seems like yesterday when I was posting and expressing the hope that I might manage to get back to doing more than one postper week. Where has the week gone?

Ephesians 5:15-16 says “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity (KJV says ‘Redeeming the time’ ), because the days are evil.

As I sat yesterday pondering this question of "Where had the week gone" – I wondered if I had been wise in the use of my time so I started reviewing the week.

Starting with the positive – time flew by because I was busy and getting a number of things done that needed to be done and that’s good(I think). It was also good that time is flying by because it brought me one week closer to seeing my wonderful wife who has been off “grandma-ing” since October 9.

However, there was the long list of things that hadn’t got done including the housework – wonder why that got left behind?

So what did I do?

Sunday – Morning services and afternoon group followed by a pleasant lunch at the Herzog's plus some reading and relaxation doing the puzzles in the last week’s paper took care of Sunday.

Monday – The big job was getting the “beast” serviced and then put into storage for the winter. Took all morning and some of the afternoon. Some email and time on the blog/list circuit and that day was gone.

It was a nostalgic time and sad as well when I walked away after parking the BBB in the storage warehouse. Nostaligic as I bade farewell to our travels for 2006. Lots of good memories –from Pascagoula and Texas –lots of new friends -- inspiration to be a better servant but sadness also because as far as we know we won’t be going south this year.

Tuesday- Pumpkins & ghosts. In the morning I had a meeting with Lloyd to go over a few things related to congregational plans and activities. I had to get a mid-term test ready for one class and prepare for another. I had a meeting at the university to review some planned program changes that affected courses I often teach and then give the exam and conduct a class. Another day gone.

We don’t get many trick or treaters but I was concerned that I wasn’t going to be here so I made up a poster and a basket of candy that I was going to leave on the porch. Turned out I didn’t have to because Alyssa was here to handle it. Anyhow I decided I wanted a picture to put on the poster and I found this one. Coincidentally my blogging friend Dee had it posted on her blog as well (although I see it is gone now) -

Tuesday was also the big day for Kevin. He is working on hisPh.D. in Neuropsychology at SFU . The reason Linda is there doing her grandma thing is that he needed to put a big push on his dissertation proposal and she was there look after Will while Sarah worked so he could spend his time getting this done. Tuesday he successfully defended the proposal – Way to go Kevin!!!

Unfortunately – it was sort of a good news bad news success. They told him that if he was going to meet his goal of having the research done by September so he could start his internship he would need to be dedicating 60 hours a week to get it done. That above trying to watch Will and work part-time is a big hurdle. As always I pray that they will look to God for help in this situation and that He will show a way that is best for them.

The other thing I came across related to Halloween was a song-video posted by John Dobbs called “The Nightmare before Christmas” – a haunting song with a poignant message for those who try to walk alone in this world. (Click HERE and scroll down – first the words and then the video from YOUTUBE) (BTW - I was honored to see that John mentioned my "Why do I blog" post in one of his postings last week.)

Wednesday – I had a Red Cross run – volunteer driver to take a lady to the Group Health centre for an appointment. Spent sometime reading while waiting. Rest of day was marking the exams and other miscellaneous stuff with some short stints on the list. I let myself get drawn into a non-productive debate about some doctrinal issues – which isn’t really important here—but I try to avoid discussions that just go around in circles with nothing new being said – but it took a couple of days to dig myself out of that “rabbit chasing” exercise.

Thursday - It started snowing . I had a dental checkup in morning and had to have a tire on the car repaired in the p.m. plus class and going to the “Full flame” session after that.

Friday – It was still snowing – I rushed out to put up the “rode-houses” (covers for Linda’s Rhodies – which should have been done earlier but October was a very wet & cold month and I kept thinking there’ll be a better day – (You can see them (the "houses") in the picture I took out the living room window this morning).

Then I had to clean out driveway – broke my rule about “no snow shoveling until after Christmas. Did some housecleaning . Rest of day was spent email and other computer stuff – I found an interesting article on the shift in attitudes towards moral issues in the so-called Buster generation and exchanged a couple of emails with my bro-in-law Art on his thoughts about that.

Went out for supper with my Dad and went in to visit Mary Seabrook. She is resting comfortably medication to deal with the pain. Leona is spending long days sitting with her mother. We visited for a while, prayed together and then Dad and I came home.

And so the week went. I did get to visit a number of blog sites that I haven’t been to for a while.

I had an email conversation with a blogging friend Dee Andrews which led me Mike Cope’s site where I discovered a link to well presented talk (by ScotMcKnight) on the topic of postmodernism and the church. I don’t quite get post-modern thought - I guess I'm too "modern" (or rational) in my thinking but it was good to have it explained in terms I could understand.

My listing activity was “normal” with 37 entries. I did a quite a bit of email catch up and sent out over40 emails (not counting “school” related on the university system). I learned about bananas by visiting my nephew Craig’s blog (Click Here)

Well - time flew - but it is kind of boring to tell about it I guess – Hopefully next time I’ll have something more interesting to think about

God Bless

Friday, November 03, 2006

My "house" of Faith - Summary of Beliefs

I have been posting the contents of a series of lessons that I had started to call "Foundations of Faith but have now changed "metaphors" to call it the "House of Faith" --

The following is the "foundation" and "superstructure" of faith. In subsequent lessons I will deal with each item in more detail to add (changing metaphors again) more "meat" to these "bones"

Purpose: To provide a summary of the things that I believe are sufficient to allow me, through faith*, to come into a kingdom relationship with God through Jesus and to remain in that relationship until He calls us home (to heaven).

In other words, accepting and acting on these beliefs will gives me an assurance of a saving relationship with God through Jesus, provide me with a basis for fellowship with other Christians and generates a Spirit-filled life – experiencing the fruits of joy, peace, love and so on, while doing those works of service I am created in Christ Jesus to do

*Faith means being convicted of the truth of God’s promises and acting on those convictions.

Note: Any summary, by definition, is NOT the complete picture. Agreement on these principles can provide a starting place in our walk with God. The Bible contains much more detailed explanations of these truths. Deeper study and understanding of the details is needed to move us towards a closer walk of love and fuller obedience to God’s commands for citizens of the kingdom.

Guiding Principle: These summary statements are unchanging truths that apply to all people at all times. If, in the details of our studies, we see something that seems to be in conflict with any of these truths, we need to seek an understanding that isn’t in conflict and, until we do, we need to say, “I don’t understand”.

Belief Statements: (Foundations)

1. I believe in the God of the Bible.

2. I believe that the Bible is the authoritative source of all that I need to know to please God.

I need to be diligent in searching the scriptures to discover His will (using and applying “common sense” methods in understanding the nature and purpose of the Bible, what message it was intending to convey, and how it applies to us today)

These first 2 beliefs are the “foundations” – they are based on evidence but accepted by faith.

If I don’t believe in God then it doesn’t matter what the Bible says He wants – and if I don’t believe the Bible is the authority, I should look elsewhere for instruction.

I believe the rest of the things listed below are unchanging Biblical truths, which provide the essential elements of understanding the good news of God’s grace and how we need to respond in love & faith in order to live in hope. They represent the "superstructure" of this house of faith that God provides to keep me "safe" from "all harm".

I believe that

1. God created the universe that includes this world and he created humans in his image as thinking beings with an eternal soul and with the ability to make choices.

2. The humans created by God (Adam & Eve) and all humans born of Adam’s seed are incapable of making choices about how they live and behave that will satisfy God’s standard of righteous. – and that includes me (all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God) – as a result I will become separated from God and be in jeopardy of his justice. – Left on my own, I am lost and without hope.

3. God in his love and mercy has worked, since the time of Adam, to restore that broken relationship – through Abraham, through Moses, through the prophets and finally, once for all, He sent his Son Jesus to die on the cross to take away our sins – past present & future – in a single complete loving act of redemption.

4. As a result of God’s work on the cross, we are saved if we have faith in Jesus. We are saved by faith and not by any work of ours. (There are, however responses that faith demands including repentance, confession and our surrender to him by being immersed (baptized). These responses allow God’s work of redemption to take effect in our lives – allow us to arise “to walk in a new life”)

5. God also gives Christians his Holy Spirit to help carry out the ongoing transformation into the likeness of Christ. – in a real and yet mysterious way I will be transformed and sanctified as I live in Christ – over time and limited only by my willingness to make that daily surrender of self -- to be a living sacrifice.

6. All of our actions and deeds must be governed by the 2 great commandments – to love God and to love others. -The primary message of the Gospel is about relationship – obedience must flow from love and the joy of the free gift rather than the fear of punishment. Fear is the reason for seeking God’s love – love is the motivator for obedience.

7. Even in my saved condition, I will fail in many ways to meet the standard of perfection (sanctification) that God ‘s spirit is working to produce in our lives. I can’t use this to justify (accept) my sin but I can use God's grace to remove the feelings of fear and guilt that can so easily overtake me.

8. When my failures cause offense to someone else or when I am offended by someone else’s failure, I need to follow Biblical process to seek forgiveness and reconciliation.

9. Because God has added me to his church (those that are being saved) I will seek community with fellow believers – community of praise & worship, community of service and community of friendship, eating, playing, working together to the glory of God. Unity in the community comes through our common bond with Christ - not through our own efforts or compliance to a standard set of “rules”. Each “family” grouping of believers is directly accountable to God in the areas of specific beliefs and practices. They cannot be imposed by other groups of Christians.

10. The community collectively, and Christians individually have, as their primary mission to live as “citizens of the kingdom in a strange and alien land” – to live as “salt, leaven and light” - to fulfill the “great commission of making disciples as we go.” Wherever we are and in whatever we do this mission is “Job 1”. (referring to the Ford slogan - not a reference to the Biblical book)

I offer this as my understanding of God'smessage to the world and his desire for how I should live in response to his love. I offer this with full knowledge that I have difficulty living consistently and completely in accordance with these beliefs.

This "gap" between "what I belief is right and what I do" points me to the fact that of all this the most important thing is God's loving gracious desire for relationship -- He loved enough that he paid the price to allow me to experience his loving presence despite my imperfections. Should I reject such a wonderful offer?

God Bless