Friday, December 21, 2007

King of the Jews

This last Sunday Pastor David was preaching...He was talking about several things but there was one thing that stood out to me. He read Matthew 2. In verses 1-7 an interesting thing transpires. As you read take special note of Herod.


Matthew 2
The Visit of the Magi 1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5"In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: 6" 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"
7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."
9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route."



Did you see it? I hadn't ever noticed this particular little thing before Pastor David pointed it out...Herod is called "King Herod" with a capitol "K" until verse 7. From that point on he is referred to with a small "k" or by his name only. This is no minor detail as, well, he could have bought Bill Gates out for what would have seemed like a song to him.


I love the small things of the Bible that say so much...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Edges...

I was just listening to John Piper on youtube.com. He made an interesting statement. He said, "God has edges." God IS this. God IS NOT that. I can get to know Him if I know what He is and is not. That is so polar opposite of our culture where everything is GREY. EVERYTHING is ok. EVERYTHING is acceptable...There are no "edges" as it were. "Tolerance overtakes TRUTH." (Mark Driscoll) "And the feelings of people overtake the feelings of God. Passivity takes over and it changes how you live...if it's all just opinion and perspective and ideology...why live passionately? Why live differently?..." (Mark Driscoll)


Hebrews 4:12, 13 "God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon's scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God's Word. We can't get away from it—no matter what."

Sunday, December 2, 2007

meandering thoughts...






It snowed today! Beautiful white snow. I love how the world looks when it's snowed...so cozy, so clean. I was thinking how in the Bible how it says, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow..." (Is. 1:18).




I was also thinking about children...how much joy they find in the simplest thing. It struck me that Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 18:3)...there are so many days that I forget the simplicity and joy and wonder of a child. Life gets so complex. I'm so thankful to have the children that God gave me around me every day. When I take the time they are a constant reminder...I think He's pretty strategic in His reminders...when we are children it's easy to remember what that verse means, when we are parents or auntie and uncles, it's easy if we take the time...and then as grandparents those wee ones remind us again...at every phase. God is good all the time...

fences vs. relationship


Today in church our wonderful Pastor Mark gave a really good teaching on a particular text that I have always stopped over and pondered but never really got what it was saying...well I thought it was saying one thing but it was really saying something else.

Matthew 5:17-20
"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."

ok...I will break it down like he did (or I will try is what I should say :)).
1) that word "law" is a REALLY bad translation, come to find out. Because when we see that word we associate it with rules to keep. So here is the more accurate word "Torah": the very words of God...the Bible. The Torah is about relationship...not rules and regulations. It's a spiritual map. I.E.: Deut. 6:5 says, "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." Mark 12: 30-31 says, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark added "with all your mind" to the original text b/c he was a Greek writing to Greeks...our culture is much more Greek than Jewish...the mind vs. emotion.)
-Here's a clarifying point :): There is something called "Rabbinic Fences". And example of this was with Moses (Ex. 19:12-13 "Put limits for the people around the mountain and tell them, 'Be careful that you do not go up the mountain or touch the foot of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. He shall surely be stoned or shot with arrows; not a hand is to be laid on him. Whether man or animal, he shall not be permitted to live.'). So were did the mountain start? Did it start at the base of the mountain or the foothills...where? So Moses built a fence and told people not to cross it. There is nothing wrong with fences. We all need limits. But the thing is that we tend to focus on the fences and in doing so miss the whole point...Rabbinic Fences. The Rabbi's of Jesus' time had 613 laws (and some still today) that they kept this way focusing on the fences...remember in John 9 or Luke 13 and 14 when Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath and the religious leaders went nuts? He had "worked" on the Sabbath. In Luke He asked them if they would help their animal out of a ditch...wouldn't you heal a man from sickness then? The point was they were looking at fences. The Sabbath was made for man not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). The Sabbath was made for us so we could know God, love Him, and love people.
-the Rabbi's of that time had laws that were more important, in the 613, and less important. I.E.: After loving God the most important one was "Honor your father and mother...that your days may be long and it may go well with you (Ex 20:12, Deut. 5:16, and Lev. 19:3)". The least law can be found in Deut. 2:6,7 having to do with not killing a mother bird, etc.. It's something like we view certain sins...murder vs. lying...which is worse in our eyes? Murder of course!

So what Jesus was saying to them (and us really) is that they/us had missed the whole point. It's not about the laws/rules...the fences...those are there for protection. It's about 2 simple things..."Love the Lord your God..." with ALL of you. And "Love your neighbor as yourself". That about covers it. That's what the whole Bible and the kingdom of heaven are all about. Very simple. It's about right relationship not keeping fences.

In Vs. 18 of Matthew 5 He talks about us being able to count on the Word of God. John 1:1-5,14 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.
3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it...14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."
Jesus is the Word. All the Torah will be accomplished. So this is where not taking the Bible and picking our favorite parts or the understandable parts comes in. It's all in...it's "Whatever You say we will do" vs. taking the Bible under advisement.

In order to do what He asks
1)we have to know WHAT He asks and that means we have to be people of the Word. We need to know the very words of God. Be men and women of the text.
2) we cannot twist it for our desires...now I have been thinking about this lately with my Grandpa dying. As I was sitting in his room watching him struggle more and more to breath as his lungs filled with fluid. Watching the end approach I had thought of understanding why people do euthanasia. My grandpa was suffering and it was uncomfortable for me to watch. It was uncomfortable for him. I felt completely helpless. Now this goes against what I understand the Bible to say about life and it's value. It goes against EVERYTHING I believe...God holds all life in His hands...but it sure would have been easy to twist what I believe for my own comfort and his (not that it was an option not that I wanted it to be an option...but it was the first time I understood people who do this...their thinking). It's true with complex things like that and simple things like stealing. I realize there is mercy and grace in this life...Romans 6:1 says do we keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? NO WAY!
...there were lots of other excellent point like not using the Bible to judge others or inflate ourselves...but the above 2 are the ones that stood out to me.


Psalms. 19:7-14 is to be our view of the text of the entire Bible:
"The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together.
The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road.
The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy.
The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes.
God's reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee.
The decisions of God are accurate down to the nth degree.
God's Word is better than a diamond, better than a diamond set between emeralds.
You'll like it better than strawberries in spring, better than red, ripe strawberries.
There's more: God's Word warns us of danger and directs us to hidden treasure.
Otherwise how will we find our way? Or know when we play the fool?
Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins, from thinking I can take over your work;
Then I can start this day sun-washed, scrubbed clean of the grime of sin.
These are the words in my mouth;
these are what I chew on and pray.
Accept them when I place them on the morning altar,
O God, my Altar-Rock, God, Priest-of-My-Altar. "


May I be a woman of the text of Lord my God...


Saturday, November 17, 2007

death...and some of it's faces

I had the unexpectedly wonderful and sad opportunity, the last few days , to go back to Reno and say goodbye to my Grandpa. I also got to see my Mom's side of the family for the first time since I was 16 (and before that since I was 6). I also got to hang out with my dad for a few hours. It was a good trip. It was an incredibly hard trip.


I received the news that my Grandpa was taken off of life support (as per his living will) and moved to a care home (from the hospital). So my mom flew me down. It was great to see everyone and to have little visits. They were very generous to me and welcoming. My mom and I spent a fair bit of time just hanging out with my Grandpa. At one point a few of my cousins had left, after visiting, and my mom was talking to the head nurse so it was just Grandpa and I. And I received a very precious gift...he had a clear moment (he is on a lot of morphine) and he just started talking to me. Sometimes it was hard to understand due to how slurred his words were. But the main gist of what he said was that he was so glad I had come and that he loved me. We were talking about how he loves to chew on ice and that must have been where I got it. Just simple things but important when it's really the last things we will have said to each other in this life. It was a precious time. It lasted for about 20 minutes. After he started to fade I sung him to sleep. He fell asleep with a smile and look of peace. I think I will always cherish that memory. As I was typing that my mom phoned. My Grandpa died today at 2:55 p.m.
(this painting is by Akiane and it's called "Returning Home")

I didn't get to know him as well as I would have liked. But when I was little he was always very kind and always had a smile and a hug for me. From what I have heard about him he was just a very sweet person. He generally deferred to others. Even on a high dosage of morphine he was concerned about others. He had an artists soul I think. A lover not a fighter...although I think there was some feistiness in there. When he was in his early twenties he was in University to become a pastor until he came down with Tuberculosis. He was in a sanatorium for several years. My mom's earliest memories of him are him wanting to be with Jesus. My grandparents were married married for 62 years and he loved my Grandma deeply. They just wanted each other it seems. Very rare that kind of love. Yes I would have liked to know my Grandpa more...perhaps in the next life...
I didn't like the retirement home he was in the last 5 days of his life. It really is just a warehouse where people go to die it seems. My mom and I really had to stand in the gap for him so he would get the proper treatment. I don't know what people who don't have relatives to intervene for them do. They must feel so forgotten. It was so draining being there in his room. My mom was there much more than I. I really respect the complete sacrifice of herself in that. She really hates anything like that but for her dad she was willing to put aside personal feelings and be there. So I imagine she will feel pretty emotionally frayed. I don't know how people go through these things without God. Where is the bigger picture if you don't know Him and rely on Him?
I was thinking about Keiko and wondering what it would take to train her to be one of those dogs that can go into a care home or hospital and cheer up people. She would be fabulous at that. She is such a happy and pretty puppy. I will have to look into that. I also saw some children coming to visit one of their relatives and watched my grandpa when some of my cousin's kids came to visit him. The light came back into their eyes just for a moment. Children are so precious. They bring such joy with them and delight. I have found that between children and a dog EVERYONE will talk to me because it is rare to find a person who doesn't like one or the other. I will think and pray on this...what I can do for the forgotten and helpless.
Anyway, all this reminded me that life is short...that each moment is precious. It made me think...if my funeral was held today...what would my legacy be? What would people be left saying about me? And most importantly, what would God say to me? Did I point others to Him or away from Him? It really puts what's important into perspective.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Our wee girls and the dog

There are days that simply exhaust me. There are days that make me thankful, to God, to be who I am at this time and make me giggle. The other day was the latter. I was praying with Portia before she went to sleep. Usually I start praying and she interjects thanking Jesus for "Papa, and Nanny, and Grandma, and Auntie Becca, and Jack ,and Sammy, and Pickles (Sammy's big doggy), and..." on and on she goes. Where she stops we never know. Anyway, this particular night she interjected with "...and thank you Jesus for my princess body." Now I was prepared for a person's name...I double checked with her to make sure I had heard correctly and not misunderstood her. She came up with that one on her own. We hadn't even talked about princesses that day. She just knows she is a princess...the girls and I have had many discussions about that. :)

Then yesterday we were driving in the car. Mercedes and I were having a discussion about semis. I was trying to pass all of them on Mary Hill by-pass. I don't know why I thought I needed to...perhaps because it was a beautiful sunny day and I have a V6. I like going fast. Always have... I digress. Mercedes asked me why I was going fast and I said "because the trucks are slow". Instantly I thought I better not leave it there so I went on to tell her how important those semis are to our world. How they bring food to the stores for us so we can then buy it. How they bring gasoline to the gas station so then we can pump it into our cars and so we can keep going fast. We were having quite the question and answer time when all of a sudden Mercedes says, "Mommy look there's a plane up in the sky. I wonder if it's going far away like to South An Erica?" I said, "Ummmm...Where?" "South An Erica Mommy". I asked her if she meant "South America?" "Oh yes that is what I meant. "


Whenever her Papa goes traveling for work we always show her on the map where he is going. As he goes all over the world she has seen a fair bit of the map. Anyway, it was just very cute and very funny all at the same time. Those are the jewels some of the most precious jewels of my day. Thought I would share them :).

oh and I just thought of one more thing...this afternoon as I was coming home from the park with the girls and Keiko our neighbor waved at me. She said she knocked on our door yesterday to tell me that Keiko had brought a whole roast into their yard. And was I missing a roast? I said no I was not...wondering where in the world my crazy dog had gotten a huge roast. She said it was still packaged nicely so it was still edible and did I want it. I said no thank you feel free to keep it. The fence needs to be fixed in our yard so Keiko is forever taking herself on walks down the alley. The landlord won't fix it...so I think we will have to do a make shift fix for now...it will look pretty tacky but hey at least the neighbors won't be annoyed and Keiko, when in heat, won't find herself "with puppy" as it were. The only thing I can figure it that she went in the back door of the grocery store and nabbed it.

well that's about all the interesting things I have to share :) Be blessed!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Disturbed

Ya know I'm gonna rant! So here is another grand opportunity to tuck your toes in...

The other day I was listening to the radio and I heard that in the States Planned Parenthood has been allegedly performing late term abortions...that means AFTER 21 weeks of pregnancy.They get something like 1 billion dollars of funding a year from the government. If this is found to be true all this funding dries up for them. I have to say I have heard the term abortion thrown around for years and it is defiantly disturbing...but this was the first time that I had really thought about it since having my own children. I just started crying right there in the car. I could feel my babies kicking by 21 weeks. I had heard their heart beat and felt them rolling around inside of me. I had seen them moving on an ultra-sound screen. At what point does a baby become a baby and not a fetus? Well I guess that's where ethics come in. That's were you're whole world view comes in. What do you believe? And at the end of the day does it really matter what YOU believe? I mean does it make it true? If you don't believe a baby is a baby until birth does that mean it's truth? In this present age we know SO much...so much more than even our parents about what goes on in the womb from a scientific perceptive.



I remember reading a story about the Assyrian about 4,000 years ago or so and one of their war tactics for their enemies was to slash the women's bellies (who were pregnant) to make sure that the mother AND baby were dead. Obviously they didn't know that when the mother died so did the baby. How barbaric! You think we are any better? You think we are so advanced? Listen to this...Ever heard the term "partial birth abortion"? Do you know what that is? I didn't! I had just heard the term...It's when a pregnancy has gone past the 21 week mark and is considered late term...the abortionist goes in with forceps and grabs the baby's legs and delivers the baby up to it's head. Then the doctor grabs some scissors and punctures the baby's head and then uses the scissors to enlarge the hole. Then they get a high powered suction and suction out the brains...the baby only stops moving and doing the startle reflex at the very end of the "procedure"... (http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/pba/diagram.html) or sometimes the doctor just pulls until the head pops off...or a foot or an arm...how barbaric...only you know what? Instead of an enemy doing this as an act of war...it's a mother doing it to her child. A child that she was given by God to love, to protect...
This is still legal in Canada. We are legally allowed to murder our own children and walk around free. Yeah for us! Wonder what God thinks of us now! We're so amazing...we agree to these laws without a blink of an eye. "Well it's the woman's right to choose". Tell me something...why do people, then, think it's so horrible when mother's kill their children who are born? I mean...what's the difference?



Psalms 139:13-16 "Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb. I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day." http://www.dougbrittonbooks.com/onlinebiblestudies-cultureandsocietyinfluences/abortionoflifeinthewomb-sinandgodsforgiveness.asp



I know that some women (well many) have had abortions. I know someone very close to me who has. The scarring, the guilt, and so many other psychological factors from that never ends but for the grace of God. I know there is mercy for such an act if you seek it. I know that there is forgiveness. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God can turn this act (just as any other sin) into something good for His glory and honour.



And then I watch some of my friends and relatives go through the very difficult time of desperately wanting a child and not being able to conceive...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Where's the flood mommy?


So this morning Miss M hopped into our bed and informed us that it was raining. Then she wanted to know where the flood was? I mean it's raining mommy doesn't that mean that there is supposed to be a flood? I asked her why she thought that since it was raining there should also be a flood she said "Well when it rains it's just supposed to flood" Like duh Mom that's just how life is...don't you know anything? I then clued in that Shaun had read her the story in the Bible about Noah and the flood during bath time a couple of days ago. I then explained to her that, really, we don't want floods to happen. They are not good things. That particular one happened because God was judging the earth. She wasn't convinced and still wanted a flood.

As I was putting Mercedes to bed tonight I checked her teeth to make sure i had done a good job brushing them. she looked at me a second and then asked, "Is there plastic on them Mommy?" I said "Plastic? Do you mean plaque?" She said "Yes that's what I mean. What's plaque Mommy?"


Just when I put the girls down for their nap I warned them to go right to sleep and told them not to "mess around". They could mess around all they wanted too when they got up but right now it is quite time. I have them say "Yes Mommy" so I know they are listening and Portia didn't say that so I said in my best mommy voice with sternness (which is nearly impossible with my little button of a girl as she's just so cute) "Portia" and she looked at me and said with equal sternness and deep concentration on her little pixie face "No messing around Poor-tuh (which is how she pronounces her name some days)".

I am blessed! I am thankful that I have the opportunity to be home and enjoy those little moments with our girls. They are treasured times that I do not take for granted.

Have a good day enjoying the treasures (whomever they may be...) that God has richly given to you.


Tama

Monday, October 8, 2007

Ambushed and a lesson I learned about light

This weekend (for Canadian Thanksgiving) we got to go away for 3 whole nights to the Island of Galiano. It's beautiful there. We stayed at my in-law's cabin. It's right on the ocean. I had an interesting thing happen to me when I was there. On Sunday I was late to leave the cabin to go to church. Everyone else has left and walked down. I was about 10 minutes behind them. I left the cabin and was walking down a path that leads along the ocean for a few minutes. It's beautiful and refreshes the soul like nothing else. I had about a 10 minute walk (if that).

Now in my life there is rarely a time when I am outside just walking by myself in an area where I am unlikely to run into people (or bears and cougars...this island has neither :) yeah for Galiano) AND along the ocean. In fact I cannot remember the last time I took that luxury. On a side note, I am a person who needs moments of solitude. And yet in this season of my life I rarely have time to just soak in creation and quite my soul and listen. BUT this was an unlooked for opportunity for just that.

Anyway, back to my story. As I was walking it's like God just ambushed me. It was like He saw that I was alone and dropped everything to take those precious few moments with me. I know for someone reading this who does not believe in God this sounds weird. But I'm telling you it was amazing. You know when you love someone passionately you just love every second with them and will drop whatever you are doing to take whatever time they have? Well God did that with me that morning. He just started talking to me. I slowed down and listened intently. I cherished the moment. It was like He hadn't had time with me, like this, lately and He had so much to tell me. It just poured out. I was fascinated. I felt deeply and totally loved. Something that I have come to understand in my head (yet again sometimes the journey from my brain to my heart takes awhile) is that God loves me passionately. He sings over us...did you know that? Zephaniah 3:17 (it's one of those books in the Bible rarely mentioned :)) "The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." There are many more things said like that in the Bible all throughout. It's a strange thought to me but one I am mulling through. Makes me wonder what else He thinks of me.

The other experience that was noteworthy to me (in the parable sense of the word)...we went to another cabin's place for Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday evening and had a delightful time meeting some fabulous people. They were so warm and welcoming. The only people we walked in knowing were Shaun's dad and mom and we walked out having met some amazing people and having had some great conversations. Anyway, we left first because the girls needed to get to bed and we had to pack because we had to catch an 8:25 am ferry which means that we had to be there 40 minutes before that to get our reservation honoured, it was a 30 minute drive and we needed to load the car...you get the picture...it was an early morning :). So Shaun, the girls, and I set out from this house for a 5 minute walk to the cabin we were staying at. It was pitch dark. We were in the country and so it was difficult to see our hands in front of our faces. It was an interesting challenge with 2 small children. There was no moon to speak of. Not sure why we didn't think to bring a flashlight...but there you go. Anyway, we walked down this road and tried to stay in the middle where the grass was (not a paved road obviously). We did this by trying to decipher what was grass, with shoes on, as we were walking blindly along. I really enjoyed it...we saw a million stars through the trees. But those stars, while they were beautiful, did nothing to light our path. So we shuffled along for awhile and we could tell we were on the right path...then we came to a cabin that had a porch light on. What a difference one little light makes in complete darkness. I immediately set to thinking about what the Bible says about light and darkness...
Matthew 5:14-16 says this "You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven".

Ephesians 5:7-10 says "Don't let yourselves get taken in by religious smooth talk. God gets furious with people who are full of religious sales talk but want nothing to do with him. Don't even hang around people like that."
You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You're out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it."
Those are just two passages. The Bible says A LOT about light and darkness. If you type in those 2 words together at http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/ There's a lot there. It's fascinating. I learned a great lesson by stumbling around in the dark that night. Literally and spiritually I need light for life. And what a difference one little light makes to a whole area of deep darkness.
And that was just one 12 hour stretch...never dull I tell ya!
I will leave you with something a king said about the word of God:
"Oh, how I love all you've revealed; I reverently ponder it all the day long. Your commands give me an edge on my enemies; they never become obsolete. I've even become smarter than my teachers since I've pondered and absorbed your counsel. I've become wiser than the wise old sages simply by doing what you tell me. I watch my step, avoiding the ditches and ruts of evil so I can spend all my time keeping your Word. I never make detours from the route you laid out; you gave me such good directions. Your words are so choice, so tasty; I prefer them to the best home cooking. With your instruction, I understand life; that's why I hate false propaganda.
By your words I can see where I'm going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. I've committed myself and I'll never turn back from living by your righteous order. Everything's falling apart on me, God; put me together again with your Word. Festoon me with your finest sayings, God; teach me your holy rules. My life is as close as my own hands, but I don't forget what you have revealed. The wicked do their best to throw me off track, but I don't swerve an inch from your course. I inherited your book on living; it's mine forever—what a gift! And how happy it makes me! I concentrate on doing exactly what you say— I always have and always will." Psalms 119:97-112


"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path"...the words above are the context for that...:)
on the path,
Tama

Monday, September 10, 2007

Meandering through my thoughts


I haven't posted in awhile. I have been so busy...doing what? who knows! I purpose to live in every moment yet the sum of it all sometime eludes me. I also haven't had anything just bursting out of me that I needed to blog about. Still really don't have anything important to say. Just thought I would meander through my thoughts. Isn't it funny how the seasons of life go.


I watch my children and am amazed that they are not babies anymore. We got rid of bottles last week. Yes my 4 year old was till using a bottle at nap time. Not sure why I didn't do it much sooner...just one more thing to spend money I didn't have on-sippy cups. We are working on Mercedes taking responsibility for her actions. That includes things like telling the truth the first time and not blaming others for things. Come to think of it I am still working on that one. No one can MAKE me feel a certain way...I choose it! No matter what they do to me...I choose how I respond...there is never a reason to get angry at someone. Hmmmmmm...yep! Still working on that one. Anyway, the other day something happened and I asked the girls "What happened?". Portia immediately piped up "Portia did it!" Not because she had but because she had heard Mercedes say that so many times that she thought it was the proper answer. I laughed...it was just so cute! She sounds just like Mercedes...she had the tone and conviction of it all down pat. She is a very funny girl. She has a GREAT sense of humor. She does things, at 2, that she knows will get a laugh. I take more and more joy in our children with each passing day.


Yesterday Shaun's cousin's came over from Vancouver Island and they had a guys day. So the girls and I went to shoppers bought hair dye (for the mama), nail polish (for all of us), and little diamond (ish) rings (for the girls). We had a great girl's time. While they bathed I dyed my hair. I get bored with my hair on a regualr basis and I hadn't been able to go to the salon due to the new car (ohhhh yes...we got a new car...cherry red 2007 RAV4) so I took matters into my own hands. Now mind you, the last time I did that it ended up costing me $300 at the salon to fix my little impulse decision. This time I didn't highlight. I dyed the WHOLE thing one color. Not sure what I think of it and Shaun isn't going to tell me he doesn't like it because then I would just dye it again...so here we are...a deep mahogany.


I run across many people...I like people...most days. I like just talking to people. Hearing about their lives. I like to run into someone I haven't seen for 10 years and catch up. That happened to me yersterday. I saw someone that I went to school with but never really knew yet always admired. I saw her and her husband at church yesterday. I had so much fun talking to them . It was an unlooked for bonus to my day. I like seeing people, I know, on the street and just waving as I drive by. I like meeting strangers. I like people...when I set me mind to it. Then there are days that I don't like anything that lives...U2 sings a song about that...it always makes me laugh when I hear it. The song is called "Some Days Are Better Than Others" and one of the lines says "Some days you can't stand the sight of a puppy".


Now that I am the wise old age of 30 (hahahahahahahahaha) I can, at least, look back on life a BIT! I can see cycles, I can give more mercy and forgiveness than I would have at 20...well perhaps not more but with a greater capacity. I was thinking about a particular meaningful talk I had this summer. It was one I had looked to have 7 years ago...but it never happened. and looking back I'm glad. I wasn't a parent yet, I hadn't fallen so many times so hard, I hadn't learned so many of the lessons I have learned. I would have probably had a much more pompous response. I would have seen life from a completely different position. I would not have tried so hard to walk in this person's shoes. I would have been the one who would have had to seek more forgiveness in the long run due to not seeing the whole picture...arrogance That is truth...seeing a situation from all the belt loops instead of just mine....the belt of truth.


There are lots of things I don't have a clue about. There are lots of things that really hold not one ounce of logic for me. And yet...there are many beautiful things that inspire me every day. Here are a few (not in any particular order:

1) my children putting their heads together and giggeling over something

2) my husband playing with my children and making them laugh and laugh

3) that special sparkle my husband gets in his beautiful blue eyes when he looks at me

4) my mama who has been there every second of every day of my life....cheering me on and being a strong support and friend

5) my dad who is taking the time to be my dad...that takes a lot of courage after 30 years of not

6) my Grandpa (and Grandma) who has loved me since he first heard about me and showed me every way he knew how over a long distance

7) my friends who have been my friends no matter the distance between us and how many children we have...it's the short conversations between screaming children that make all the difference in the world

8) God...who has watched over me and loved me passionately since my creation was a thought in His mind

9) the world He created...every sunrise and sunset I have seen, every animal, every leaf, every slowflake that flies, the wind on my face, water ebbing and flowing...and all the things I have yet to discover ALL remind me of Him. I am in awe of God just as my name means.

10) people I am just getting to know...who share some of themselves with me.


There are so many more things that inspire me and give me hope...but there's a few.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Gratitude, Nichole Nordeman Tradução

(I realize the video shows Portugues...just listen to the words)
I was thinking about how much importance we, as a culture, place on safety. How is it we long so much for something that we can never have? Then I came to a thought that perhaps it was a shadow mission. Perhaps our longing for safety is really a strong desire that leads us to learn how to trust...completely...in God.

Here are the words in English:
Send some rain, would You send some rain?
'Cause the earth is dry and needs to drink again
And the sun is high and we are sinking in the shade
Would You send a cloud, thunder long and loud?
Let the sky grow black and send some mercy down
Surely You can see that we are thirsty and afraid
But maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case . . .

(Chorus)

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
For lessons learned in how to thirst for You
How to bless the very sun that warms our face
If You never send us rain

Daily bread, give us daily bread
Bless our bodies, keep our children fed
Fill our cups, then fill them up again tonight
Wrap us up and warm us through
Tucked away beneath our sturdy roofs
Let us slumber safe from danger's view this time
Or maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case . . .

(Chorus)

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
A lesson learned to hunger after You
That a starry sky offers a better view if no roof is overhead And if we never taste that bread

Oh, the differences that often are between
What we want and what we really need

So grant us peace, Jesus, grant us peace
Move our hearts to hear a single beat
Between alibis and enemies tonight
Or maybe not, not today
Peace might be another world away
And if that's the case . . .

(Chorus)

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
For lessons learned in how to trust in You
That we are blessed beyond what we could ever dream
In abundance or in need
And if You never grant us peace

But Jesus, would You please . . .

Monday, August 20, 2007

Acuna matta, acuna matta, acuna matta It means no worries For the rest of your dddaaayyyys

Over the last little while...well I would say the last...well since I became a mother...I think that I have become too serious. I have been grappling with the responsibilities of life. The things like...we now have 2 wee children who depend on us solely for everything, I am to be an example, I ask myself am I succeeding or failing them every second of the day and then at the end of the day...how did the day go? Was I the best mother I could be today? So there was that. Then the responsibility of being a wife...does my husband still find me beautiful? Was I the best wife that I could be to him today? etc. Then my responsibility to family, friends, strangers to show kindness and love. My relationship with God...I must finish well and what about the poor and the oppressed? Have I done enough today? When I stand before God will He say "well done" or "depart from me I never knew you"?

Inevitably the answer to all those questions was..."well you could have done better". What a strange way to look at life...I mean taking responsibility for MY actions is important. But carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders is silly.



Matthew 11:28-30 " Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly. "





That is truth...that is freedom...that is joy...that is what we all long for. That is where Jesus comes in...our Saviour, our burden bearer...wonder when I'll actually allow Him to do what He longs to do.





I have heard it said that "fun and laughter is like a spice that's added to life". I've also heard that "Fun on it's own, being determined to seek out fun has an inverted rate of return". Or another way to say that is...we never sit down and eat a bowl of all spices. But food without any spice is terrible. "We never run from reality but laughter is the spice of life as we face reality". [John Fichtner]





I will keep pondering these things. And reprogram myself. The potential for JOY (not happiness...that is a fleeting thing, an emotion...but true deep abiding joy no matter what the circumstance that can only ever be found in God) is exponential if I pay attention to that Matthew 11 passage and take it to heart and actually apply it to my life. hmmmmmmmmm



Saturday, August 18, 2007

Priviledge of birth?

ok here's one...We just finished watching a movie called "Shooting Dogs" (In the Us it is called "Beyond the Gates" (http://www.beyondthegates-movie.com/main.html). It is a movie based on actual events, filmed in the actual location the events happened and with survivors of the event. Here is a web page with a history of the Rwandan Genocide (http://academic.udayton.edu/race/06hrights/GeoRegions/Africa/Rwanda01.htm) It made Shaun and I think...
Since I was born in North America at this time and not in, ohhhh say, Rwanda or Darfur or in abject poverty does that mean that I get to grow up be a "good" person. Live a "nice" life? Raise a "nice" family? Buy LOTS of "nice" stuff? Be a REALLY "nice" neighbor? I don't know maybe that means believing in God, maybe it doesn't. Maybe it just means being a moral person. Perhaps it means being a good parent and raising contributing members to MY society. Whatever it means to you...and then I raise my children to be the same and they raise their children to be the same...you get the picture. It's a nice little cycle of patting ourselves on the back and saying "well done me!" And all the time the orphans, the widows, the poor...the people for whom all my wealth (and YES I am extremely wealthy compared to them) do not benefit one bit from me having been born. Their lives are left untouched.

What happens (just for ONE example of the many) if you are born into a Tutsi family and were alive in Rwanda at the time of the genocide there in 1994? You know that genocide that all of us were alive for but we couldn't decide what to call it and therefore didn't step and stop it...the UN bickered about a term to call what was happening in a completely stoppable genocide (I THINK we were the ones who said "never again" after Hitler...) for oh at least 4 MONTHS 800,000 people were hacked to death with machetes...so by virtue of birth their lives were rendered meaningless while my middle class life was going very nicely...thank you very much and therefore MY life was of high value...it seems. For I was allowed to live...by virtue of birth.

OR could it be that by virtue of birth I was put here so that I could be Christ's Ambassador.

Why do innocent people suffer? Well in part...
The Bible says that God has given this world over to Satan. 1 John 5:19 says, " We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one" We live in a fallen world. Satan is master. God will not step in until that day...that final day of Judgement. A true judge always judges completely, fully and fairly. When we ask "God why did you allow...whatever?" What we are really saying is God be my puppet on a string and judge what I want judged. When Jesus comes again He WILL judge totally (Rev. 19:14-16) ... In the mean time, according to the Bible, we (who believe the Bible and in Jesus) are supposed to be Christ's Ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:16-20). We understand that term very well...We have all sorts of Ambassadors in our governments. To give you the context...2 Corinthians 5 says this:
"1-5For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we'll never have to relocate our "tents" again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what's coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we're tired of it! We've been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what's ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we'll never settle for less.
6-8That's why we live with such good cheer. You won't see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don't get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It's what we trust in but don't yet see that keeps us going. Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we'll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming.
9-10But neither exile nor homecoming is the main thing. Cheerfully pleasing God is the main thing, and that's what we aim to do, regardless of our conditions. Sooner or later we'll all have to face God, regardless of our conditions. We will appear before Christ and take what's coming to us as a result of our actions, either good or bad.
11-14That keeps us vigilant, you can be sure. It's no light thing to know that we'll all one day stand in that place of Judgment. That's why we work urgently with everyone we meet to get them ready to face God. God alone knows how well we do this, but I hope you realize how much and deeply we care. We're not saying this to make ourselves look good to you. We just thought it would make you feel good, proud even, that we're on your side and not just nice to your face as so many people are. If I acted crazy, I did it for God; if I acted overly serious, I did it for you. Christ's love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do.
A New Life 14-15Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.
16-20Because of this decision we don't evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don't look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We're Christ's representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God's work of making things right between them. We're speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he's already a friend with you.
21How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.
"

So if I believe the Bible as I say I do...that means that my so called "privilege of birth" is for a purpose...you know....if you have been reading my blog for any amount of time...that Shaun and I are pursuing a way to raise awareness of literal slavery in our present day world (27 million people...by virtue of birth...). I was thinking 2 days ago about how the majority of people get into slavery...poverty! That is the bottom line for the majority who become enslaved. Disease isn't the only side effect to poverty.

I heard this one story of a Ukrainian woman (present day...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mluvE3C_HnA&mode=related&search there are several parts to this PBS Frontline) who's family lives near Chernobyl. Her sister has tumors on her face, her brother's appendix ruptured, she has children to care for. They borrowed money to try and pay for the medical bills. The lender called in the debt. So she went to the city with a "trusted" acquaintance...who sold her into the "rape for profit" business. Were she was kept was raided. She was deported back home. Her young brother was dying (from the ruptured appendix I believe...rotting from the inside out) so she went back to that same city in Turkey, this time as a prostitute...the brothel was raided...she was sent home...still had a sick sister but her brother died...they still owed the debt. Do you know how much money they owed? $200! $200? I can blow $200 in about 10 seconds with a purchase...or even a really REALLY nice dinner or a semi nice outfit. For $200 she went through all that. Poverty! There are millions of stories (at LEAST 27 million) like that. So does that mean that their lives have less value? That it's their problem? Let's walk on by shall we?!

In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus talks about "that day"...the end of time... when life is over...when we stand before our Judge. This is what Jesus said:
31-33"When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.
34-36"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why: I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.'
37-40"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'
41-43"Then he will turn to the 'goats,' the ones on his left, and say, 'Get out, worthless goats! You're good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because— I was hungry and you gave me no meal, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was homeless and you gave me no bed, I was shivering and you gave me no clothes, Sick and in prison, and you never visited.'
44"Then those 'goats' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn't help?'
45"He will answer them, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.'
46"Then those 'goats' will be herded to their eternal doom, but the 'sheep' to their eternal reward."

I tend to believe the Bible...I mean I take it literally. So I can't just walk on by any more...but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord by serving the overlooked. Shaun and I have purposed to make a path for our children so that when they go down this path they will have even more tools to accomplish this mandate. It will be an easier trail, this one of caring for the poor, the orphans, and widows. They will have seen it all their lives. At the end of this movie we just watched one of the survivors says something like "we are blessed...we've been given more time...what will we do with it?"



Monday, August 13, 2007

NICHOLE NORDEMAN - LEGACY

This song says exactly my goals in life...

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Summer time....







Well it's been a fun and busy last little bit. I became a Canadian citizen on July 20, 2007! I swore allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II and all her heirs...etc. It was a really nice ceremony. There were something like 70 people there and there were 22 countries represented. I quite enjoyed it. It was really meaningful to me and I was surprised by that. There are so many things that I do in life that don't hit me emotionally that I often think should...so I wondered if this would...it did! I even got a little misty eyed. So now I am a duel citizen. Shaun is VERY happy about this. I feel a little more settled...in the back of my mind I think I may have worried about the political climate more that I realized...you know things like...what if the US and Canada decided to go to war against each other (I mean stranger things have happened). I would have likely been sent to the States while my husband and children would have had to stay here. You know simple things like that. Now they can't kick me out...Canada you're stuck with me :). After the ceremony my mom drove the girls back home to Coquitlam and Shaun and I hoofed it around downtown Vancouver. It was quite fun. We hadn't played tourist at home before. I think it was the first time in four years that we didn't have to be home at any time for one or both of the girls. We went to the Vancouver Art Gallery where they have Monet to Dali (post-impressionism late 1800's to early 1900's). That type of art, we discovered, is not our cup of tea. But it's fun to say "Oh yes, I've seen an original Manet, Monet, Cézanne, van Gogh, Rodin, Picasso, Dalí and other renowned artists". It sounds so cultured don't ya think? HAAAA. When we were in Vienna we went to the Kunsthistorisches Museum where they have amazing collections of art from the 15th -17th Centuries...NOW THAT fascinated us! They were beautiful pieces of art and HUGE! We saw several original Rembrandt etc. But this was just...boring in comparison to us...but then we aren't really that educated in these things. We're the ones who go to operas only to walk out. We also saw Emily Carr paintings and the Group of 7...and some others that both horrified and intrigued us by turn. Then we took the Sky Train and then a bus home. I have only ever taken a bus in Europe. So I had several new experiences that day. It was just a brilliant day!



Then the other major event thus far this summer is that my dad, grandpa (dad's dad) and new grandma Louise (my Grandma Shirley-Anne passed away right before Miss Portia was born). Came for a visit. Now that probably doesn't sound like that big of deal but the last time I saw my dad was in 2000 for my Grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary...and then before that not since I was, I think, a little under 2 years old. So...now you see...it was major. We spent the week they were here just visiting and talking. It was...I would say it was a healing time for me. When you are not sure about how your dad really feels about you from his own mouth and why he was never there...that can leave a big gap...and make room for other things that aren't conducive to a healthy soul. I would say for me it was like a huge weight lifted off of me. There again, I was never sure where I fit. Now I have more of a sense of belonging in this instance as well. And there again I was not sure how I would respond. I think I went through the whole week taking everything in and now I am processing. I like it! Also I have a half brother who is 21 and a half sister who is 15 1/2. I have ached to get to know them and love them. Now it seems that may be more possible. While my mom was up here for my citizenship ceremony she planned a trip for us to go to Reno for American Thanksgiving. I am QUITE excited about this as well. I will get to see my mom's family for the first time since I was 16 (and before that since I was 6ish). I have 6 cousins who I was quite close to as a small child who I will get to see most of I think. I will get to see my grandparents, Aunties, my Uncle Jim (everyone needs an Uncle Jim...Shaun has one and the girls have one :)). I have missed them. Shaun has also not met them and neither have the girls. I have been so surrounded by his family since we met. And I really love them. They are family to me now...but you always long for your family...well at least I have. Somehow all of this is coming together. I feel blessed and ready. I love knowing the people from whom I come. It really is a gift. I will also get to see my dad and I think my brother and sister. I will also get to see my mom's best friend who has so encouraged me and loved me my whole life. I really admire and respect her. As you can tell I am excited.


Our little family will be heading to a family reunion in Kelowna for the Huth side. We are excited about this. We have worked hard on the family tree. It should be interesting as there will be people there from Europe that are related in all different ways. Will tell more about that later.


As soon as we get back we are going to a Leadership Summit. That should be excellent. Then in November we are going to a Christian Musicians Summit in Washington. Shaun and I are REALLY looking forward to that one. I have been songwriting again and Shaun has really be focusing on the electric guitar (the guy is talented let me tell you!) and that should offer some help in those areas. For both summits my mom has generously agreed to watch the girls. So they should have a lot of fun with Grandma. My mom is so generous and wonderful to us. We love having her live closer to us.


Portia has started to potty train herself and pedal on her tricycle in the last week or so. Miss Mercedes is now riding a bicycle with training wheels. They both just took up those things on their own. We tried encouraging them on those things but they would have none of it. So we left it and now they are doing it on their own. It's so amazing to watch them live and learn. They are brilliant girls. I mean they have so much life, love, and joy. We do little lessons every once in awhile...like the other day we learned about colours. The order of a rainbow, the Bible story of the first rainbow, how to mix this and this colour to get that colour, painting a rainbow...it is all very fascinating...and that was only one lesson.


Shaun is working hard doing renovations. We are catching up and it is nice. Life is never boring and we are blessed beyond measure.
Have a great day!
Tama

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Teenage affluenza is spreading fast.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My sweet Miss M


I have been sick the last couple of days...but this morning I was feeling especially terrible so I was in bed. I was dozing in and out and I heard Mercedes say to Shaun "I brought mommy a flower". I looked over at my side table and sure enough there was a beautiful bright yellow dandelion. I just love those moments of being a mother.

On a funny note...the other night we were eating supper. Mercedes looked down at her plate and said, "Mom, why are there leaves on my plate?" I just cracked up laughing because the "leaves" were salad. Every time I think of it I giggle. I love seeing glimpses of life through the eyes of my sweet 4 year old.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What they say...

As I was reading that book "Terrify No More" the second to last chapter is called something like "Where is God?" Something that really caught my attention was the author said in all the times IJM has rescued someone from any type of slavery no one has ever asked him "where was God?" They believed there was a God and that He was there with them. That was never a question. They have all asked, "Where were YOU?"

Monday, July 9, 2007

did you know...?


(now tuck your toes in)...there are 27 million...yeah read that number again...27 MILLION slaves in our world today?...not metaphorical slaves...actual slaves! That is more than the amount of people stolen from their homes and lives from Africa during 400 years of the transatlantic slave trade. Many of them are in Southeast Asia...BUT there some HERE in North America. Likely right in your neighborhood...yeah Canada and America. Vancouver is a gateway for sex slavery (you know "rape for profit").
Sometimes when I read history I often wondered what I would have done had I been alive in Nazi Europe or in the South during the time of the great plantations and slavery. would I have been part of the Underground Railroad?...you know...LONG AGO in a land far far away...? Would I have helped to save people or would I have let all those people pass me by and die...kept my eyes closed to all the horror because of fear for my own life and that of my family...self preservation? What would I have done?
What would I have done in 1993 in Rwanda? When the Tutsis where massacring their neighboring Hutus?...Where approximately 800,000 people where murdered in just 8 weeks.
I just read a book about a man who worked for the Department of Justice (U.S.A.) and was loaned to the United Nations to direct the genocide investigation team in Rwanda. do you know what he found in all his tromping through mass graves and massacre sites? Here's what he says,
"Massive man-made disasters of epic proportions...are not of a distant era;
they are the tragedies of history taking place on our watch. Among
the most common disasters are global sex trafficking (the massive business
of rape for profit), slavery, illegal detention, and sexual violence...In the
face of such massive suffering, one has to ask: 'Why does such great evil
triumph in the world?'...I believe one of the greatest insights was articulated
by Edmond Burke about 200 years ago "All that is necessary for the triumph
of evil is that good men do nothing"...This was certainly true for the Rwandan
genocide. The history now written makes on thing clear. It could have been
stopped. And we missed it"
What would I have done for Darfur...450,000 dead 2.5 million displaced...oh wait that's not history that's happening right now! Isn't it nice to read those numbers from the safety of my house and say..."Oh brutal...that sucks...wonder what's on T.V."
Psalm 10:18 says, "defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more." (NIV translation) I just read a book that got it's title from the very last 3 words...TERRIFY NO MORE.
Psalm 10 says it well...the cry of a man over 4,000 years ago..His son was the wisest man who ever lived and he said "there is nothing new under the sun"... I would say that is absolutely true... Psalm 10 (The Message translation)
"God, are you avoiding me? Where are you when I need you? Full of hot air, the wicked are hot on the trail of the poor. Trip them up, tangle them up in their fine-tuned plots. The wicked are windbags, the swindlers have foul breath. The wicked snub God, their noses stuck high in the air. Their graffiti are scrawled on the walls: "Catch us if you can!" "God is dead." They care nothing for what you think; if you get in their way, they blow you off. They live (they think) a charmed life: "We can't go wrong. This is our lucky year!" They carry a mouthful of hexes, their tongues spit venom like adders. They hide behind ordinary people, then pounce on their victims. They mark the luckless, then wait like a hunter in a blind; When the poor wretch wanders too close, they stab him in the back. The hapless fool is kicked to the ground, the unlucky victim is brutally axed. He thinks God has dumped him, he's sure that God is indifferent to his plight. Time to get up, God—get moving. The luckless think they're Godforsaken. They wonder why the wicked scorn God and get away with it, Why the wicked are so cocksure they'll never come up for audit. But you know all about it—the contempt, the abuse. I dare to believe that the luckless will get lucky someday in you. You won't let them down: orphans won't be orphans forever. Break the wicked right arms, break all the evil left arms. Search and destroy every sign of crime. God's grace and order wins; godlessness loses. The victim's faint pulse picks up; the hearts of the hopeless pump red blood as you put your ear to their lips. Orphans get parents, the homeless get homes. The reign of terror is over, the rule of the gang lords is ended."
I need to learn to pray like that...Over and over and over again the Bible makes it VERY clear why God gives some power and wealth...something we have in the West in abundance. IT has NOTHING to do with them...It is only to help others. That's a very strange thing to say in the North American culture. Isaiah 1:17 says, "Say no to wrong. Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless." There are SO many passages like that.
The man who was the director for all those investigations in Rwanda went on to start an organization call International Justice Mission. (http://www.ijm.org/). Their mission statement is this "to help people suffering injustice and oppression who cannot rely on local authorities for relief." They document and monitor conditions of abuse and oppression, educate people about these abuses, and mobilize intervention on behalf of the victims. AMAZING STUFF! They are all highly trained professionals in their fields of human rights work.
That all sounds neat and tidy doesn't it...us north americans don't like to go down the road, in our mind's eye, of what that actually means do we? It would be too graphic and disturbing. And we all know we don't like to be disturbed from our nice life. It might get ugly and we might have to DO something about it. No better go to the mall and buy one more thing or watch another movie and be entertained, or drink more alcohol to live in an alternate reality for a few minutes...I mean who wants to think? And then if we ever venture into the area of ,having thought, wanting to do something about it? It might just change our world and rock the boat...never mind...except I can no longer do that...you see the only thing is I have 2 beautiful innocent daughters who are 2 and 4. There are (well the youngest documented) 3 year olds that are forced into rape for profit. Wee beautiful little girls that are robbed of all innocence, brutalized, dehumanized, tortured, beaten if they don't smile and enjoy it, before they even get a chance to be a child. So the next time you see a 3-5 year old and she happens to be a daughter, a sister, a niece...imagine that life for her. What is a life worth to you (besides your own)? Are you going to turn a blind eye and not say a word? Am I?
Shaun and I are currently looking into an organization right here in Vancouver who helps people right here in Vancouver...who are brought in for slavery...we are going to see what we can do...we are tired of feeling the rage and helplessness. We WILL do something. It's not a world away...it's right here.
ok you can untuck your toes...as the saying goes.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Old friends...


Well I went down memory lane last night and today for WAY too long. I ran into many loved and familiar faces that I hadn't seen in 10 years (including my own). It's fun to do. There are so many memories attached to a face. I got to feeling rather nostalgic. Shaun and I have known each other for 11 years now. In September we'll have been married for 9 of those. There are so many people that have walked down our road with us. Some for the whole time, others have been in and out, and yet others have added new dimensions to our lives for only a season. But as I looked at each face there was a precious jewel that was given to us by each person. I think that I underestimate the value of a person way to often...in hindsight I can see more clearly exactly what they gifted me with...the impact they had on my life. One person made me laugh over and over, another taught me patience, another offered a sweet smile, another taught me how to be quieter, another person I didn't really notice until the second time of them coming back into my life and I saw that we have many of the same interests, another was a heart friend, another just loved me as I was. We each have something to offer to another person. I wonder what impact I had or have on their lives? Was my life a gift to them or a lesson?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Solution

If you would like to see the background to this song go to http://www.iheartrevolution.com/trailer.html
This is where Shaun and I are at.

"Solution" the lyrics to above song

Solution by Joel Houston
(click on the video above)

It is not a human right To stare not fight While broken nations dream
Open up our eyes, so blind That we might find The Mercy for the need
Singin Hey Now Fill our hearts with your compassion
Hey Now As we hold to our confession
Yeah It is not too far a cry To much to try To help the least of these
Politics will not decide If we should rise And be your hands and feet
Singing Hey Now Fill our hearts with your compassion
Hey Now As we hold to our confession
Woah-oh-oh,God be the solution
Woah-oh-oh We will be Your hands and be Your feet.
Yeah, yeah
Higher than a circumstance Your promise stands Your love for all to see
Higher than protest line and dollar signs Your love is all we need
Only you can mend the broken heart And cause the blind to see
Erase complete the sinners pastAnd set the captives free
Only you can take the widows cry And cause her heart to sing
Be a father to the fatherless Our savior and our king

We will be your hands, we will be your feet We will run this race On the darkest place,
we will be your light We will be your light
We will be your hands , we will be your feet We will run this race for the least of these
In the darkest place, we will be your light We will be your light (we’ll say/sing?)
We will run we will run We will (run with the solution?) (2x)
We will be your hands we will be your feet We will run this race for the least of these In the darkest place we will be your light We will be your light


I really like this song. Shaun and I have been messing around with it on the piano and e.guitar for about a month but I just sat down yesterday and read through all the words. It's exactly where we have come too in our journey. Anyway, I thought I'd share it with you. :)

Have a fantastic day. God made you for a purpose...what is it?
Tama

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Heaven and Hell


I believe in the existence of both Heaven and Hell! I believe in that once we die our opportunity to change our eternal destination is over. So...I am starting an in depth study in the Bible on the the contract of Salvation in God's opinion found in the Bible. I realized that I have simply read over the Bible and taken other's interpretation of it for "gospel" as it were. I have not taken much of it in and studied it in depth.
The Bible says in Philippians 2:12 "...to work out your salvation with fear and trembling". Notice the "work" word. I never did before. I mean really notice it! That doesn't mean assume that someone else is right. Or get spoon fed. WORK! The Bible also says that MANY (that means even those that have called themselves "Christian" as well as those who haven't) will be shocked when God says to them "Depart from me I never knew you" (Matthew 7:21-23) and they end up in torment and agony for all eternity. I think it's worth my time to figure out what it takes to spend life in heaven instead of hell. (If you would like to do the same Matthew 6, 7, 24, 25 are a good place to start).
On the topic's Jesus talked about He only talked about money more. He obviously felt strongly about it. So I have started the journey. I am not looking to have my ears tickled. I am looking for truth. I read this book "Rescued" (you can see the cover there). It's all about this. It's a novel. Now I am going to do the Bible Study. I imagine it will take me some time.
Today I was reading through the book of Job (in the Old Testament of the Bible). I did not realize that chronologically Job was before or around the time of Abraham. Do you realize what that means? He did not have a Bible, he did not even have the tenoch (sp?), he did not have a people to go to and watch them as they lived for God. No one to really talk too...he knew nothing about good or evil from any books or another person. He had no idea that a Messiah would come to the world and be a bridge between death and a hopeless tormented eternity and God and all that is beautiful, good, all that is GOD! ...He simply knew! that God existed. Do you know why? Because we all do. God built that into us when He created us. None of us have an excuse. That REALLY got me today!
So my desire is to, at the Judgement Seat of Christ, have Him say to me "Come, you blessed of My Father [you favored of God and appointed to eternal salvation], inherit (receive as your own) the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." (Matthew 25:34).
I will finish well...so I am now going to learn exactly what that takes...by "work"ing.
Study well your eternity depends on it.
Tama

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Shaun and Portia's b-days







Well it was an eventful week. Shaun
turned 31 and Portia turned 2 :). This time of year is always so busy. We have all our immediate family birthdays from March until May...so between that, Easter, and all the other holidays it's nuts! But we have fun.



Shaun and I made our first (and likely last) Elmo cake. We enjoyed doing it and we thought that Portia would love it...I don't think she connected that it was Elmo on her cake until she saw the picture on the computer screen...but hey!
We tried.
Keiko even got to wear a shirt (one of Mercedes') and party hat for the first time...she was quite indignant I must say. The shirt was our first attempt at getting her to stop opening a cut that she keeps scratching every time it starts healing. We have since started putting a tupper-ware lid taped around her on and she cannot scratch...she looks funny but the wound is finally healing BUT she has been walking around QUITE indignant for sure
My mom came up to celebrate. We all always love her coming.

The girls especially have fun
It was a great weekend

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

God thought of me WAAAAAAAAAAAAY back then...what will He say about me when it's all said and done?



There are 2 passages of scripture that I have been pondering lately…Ephesians 2:10For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do “ The last part is what I’ve been thinking about. What is it that God created me to do? What is it that He laid out for me before that foundations of the world? He thought about me that much…that makes me smile. The other passage is Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” I’ve never really paid attention to that last little part about the race being marked out for us. It goes along with that other verse. I find it very interesting. It’s the issue of What is the great work that God has called me to do in my life?


As I read through the Bible it took Moses 80 years of training before he did the great work God called of him, Abraham 25 years, David 15ish years, Nehemiah was cup bearer to the king for decades before he re-built the walls of Jerusalem. There's comfort in reading about people, GREAT people at that, who've gone before me and needed time. I don’t think the answer will come all at once (and I’m not comparing myself to those people...but it seems to me there is something for all of us) but if God has layed something out for me I for sure don’t want to miss it…so while I’m in training I’m going to pay attention. I have my eye on the Judgement Seat.
On a rabbit trail just for fun ;)...2 Corinthians 5:10 says this "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." and Romans 14:10 says " You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's judgment seat." there are more passages...1 Corinthians 3:10-15 says, " By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. "This is talking about people who have accepted Jesus as their Saviour. Only Christians have the Judgement Seat. On this side of heaven we thankfully with the "mercy seat" and once we die we face the judgement seat where the catalogue of our lives will be unrolled before heaven and all unconfessed sin that we did not ask for forgiveness for on this side at the mercy seat will be judged...NOT WHAT we did but our motives for doing them (1 Corinthians 4:1-5, Matthew 6, Hebrews 4:12-14, and others talk about this:)). I want to hear "well done...". I don't want to just make it into heaven by the skin of my teeth and be on the edge. I want so much more. My position in heaven (yes there ARE indeed positions we won't be sitting on clouds strumming harps) and reward for ALL of ETERNITY (yeah that's beyond a REALLY long time) is determined by this "blink of an eye" life here on earth. I WILL FINISH MY RACE STRONG!
Have fun thinking and racing :)