BALANCE or COLLAPSE, it’s your CHOICE.

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People observing people… trying desperately to balance their lives. I wonder how many ‘balancing act’ courses exist? How many of these courses are able to teach us how to harmonize our chaotic schedules?

In seeking answers today, I came across a few articles that spoke about ‘plates being too full’. One author’s solution was to insist our vision was too small. “Get a bigger plate” he said. “O dear” is my rebuttal.

The trend today is to brag about how busy we are, but chaos should never be something we aspire to. Paul certainly had something to say about busybodies (1 Tim. 5:13). Don’t sign up to do more stuff simply because there are a plethora of choices.

I asked a colleague yesterday what her secret to balancing life was. She answered, “Ask Him”. Two very powerful words that we Christians can put into practice. Before signing our entire family up for our ‘culture craze’ way of living, let’s see what God wants. Jesus certainly was accountable to the Father. Christ’s short life on earth was purposeful and focused. He could have accomplished more, but instead He gloriously fulfilled his purpose. I have often reflected on how hard it must have been for him to restrain himself from healing everyone he met, just because he could.

While reading “Spiritual Leadership” by Henry and Richard Blackaby, I came across a paragraph that struck a chord. In brief they talk about a man who decided to climb Mount Everest simply because ‘IT WAS THERE’. Years later his body was discovered. He lost his life trying to achieve an unessential objective.

Isn’t that what we all experience at one time or another over the course of our lifetime? We embark upon the unnecessary, just because the opportunity is there, AND ‘balance’ continues to evade us. This is where the enemy of our soul wants us – running around in circles like a chicken with its head cut off.

The Blackaby’s write, “why are you taking a particular action?”  “What are the long term ramifications?” The authors conclude, “Those who impulsively charge forward will eventually collapse on their mountain, their efforts misspent.”

So let us revisit the “Ask Him”, and let us challenge one another to read God’s Word, and find out what He has to say in regards to balance.

 

Blackaby, Henry and Richard, Spiritual Leadership, B&H Publishing Group, 2011, pg 86, 87.

 

 

 

Forgiveness Only Goes So Far?

The next time you mess up, remember we serve a God who runs after our heart!

“Forever is Ours”

I get stuck in the ‘here and now’, although free of my past.

I forget forever is ours.

I can fret all I want to, but you pray for me.

I’m never too far from your arms.

Why is it easier to picture a King who reigns on high,

than a friend who runs after my heart?

Because it’s in my stinkin’ nature to propagate the lie,

that your forgiveness only goes so far.

 

So I’m struck by your patience and freed by your truth.

Reminded forever is ours.

You purchased my soul, you’re not trading me in,

and you died to hold me in your arms.

Why is it easier to picture a King who reigns on high,

than a friend who runs after my heart?

Because it’s in my stinkin’ nature to propagate the lie,

that your forgiveness only goes so far…

written in May of 2012 ©Cindy Palin

Psalm 103:12, Hebrews 10:17, Isaiah 1:18, Proverbs 18:24

How to Pray When You are Hurting…..

…specifically when you are suffering for taking a stand for Christ.

  1. Get on your knees “…pray for those who hurt you” (Luke 6:28).
  2. Identify who or what has hurt you (what does it look like spiritually?)
  3. Ask God for help on how to pray
  4. Sit quietly and reflect on someone who may have been in a similar situation (someone written about in God’s Word).
  5. How did they respond?
  6. Look up the related scripture that comes to mind through the Holy Spirit’s leading.
  7. Continue to wait on God, and listen for His response

2 Corinthians 10:4 talks about the ‘weapons of our warfare’. Followers of Christ have effective tools to use in spiritual warfare, tools that are not of this world.

I wondered to myself, the other night as I knelt in the dark, “what are those weapons?”.

The verse goes on to inform us our weapons have “divine power to demolish strongholds”. Verse 5 continues “We tear down arguments, and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.…”. 

2 Corinthians 6:7 opens the window of clarity a bit further, “in truthful speech and in the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left.”

But again what are those weapons of righteousness? Ephesians 6:10-18 gives us more insight. Verse 12 (in context) reminds us insults may be hurled from human lips but “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against….” (Eph 6:12).

Find a Bible, a Bible app, or use www.biblegateway.com and read on for yourself. A study guide Bible is the best because you are provided with extra explanatory notes below, and other verse references.

The remaining verses in Ephesians 6:10 – 18 continue to describe our weapons, (the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, sword of truth…)

As I waited in the dark I asked God to show me how these weapons demolish strongholds and tear down arguments? I lifted my arms and pulled down an invisible wall in front of me, trying to see if further understanding would come. It did.

I recognized my accuser as someone I loved. Suddenly I understood as we pray God’s power transforms us. We begin to see the situation through His eyes. Just as God forgives, we  forgive. In love and forgiveness we are able to see through the circumstances. We are able to take our thoughts captive and submit to God’s purposes (2 Cor. 10:5).

I recognized I had a choice to wear the false accusations and allow the curse to linger, or to pray and clothe myself in Christ (Romans 13:14).

 

 

 

 

 

Live TRUTH, and combat UNTRUTH

The choice to focus my thoughts on Christ is very personal, and an effective way to live with purpose and meaning, within the relationship we enjoy together. I get very disheartened when friends, and family abandon their faith for some new teaching, introduced by the latest, and greatest guru.  It is perfectly normal to keep our ears open, to listen and learn – but watch out if the teacher’s motivations and messages do not measure up with scripture.

“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Tim. 4:3, 2 Tim. 3:7, Eph. 4:14).

 

The Gospel is still the message I choose to believe in, and the person of Christ has made himself known to me in many ways throughout my life thus far. My new worship song is entitled: I Love You Jesus. The lyrics are very simple, but the message means more than meets the eye (discussed below).

You’re so good to me, Jesus (Jesus)

So good to me, Jesus (Jesus)

I give you my whole heart, mind and soul. I love you Jesus.

You’re truthful to me, Jesus (Jesus)

So truthful to me, Jesus (Jesus)

I hide your Word within, You’re life to these limbs. I love you Jesus.

I lift your name on high before all men.

Never to turn away from our covenant.

You’re faithful to me, Jesus (Jesus)

So faithful to me, Jesus (Jesus)

And I have a faithful heart, because of who YOU are. I love you Jesus. ©CindyPalin/May 2018

The first stanza “You’re so good to me Jesus” are words of honour and gratitude, acknowledgement of God’s goodness regardless of my circumstance.  My choice to worship Jesus for His goodness is not based on material wealth and health, but on who He is, what He has done for me, and how He continues to grow me.

“I give you my whole heart, mind and soul” are words of obedience to Christ’s command in Matthew 22:37.

The second stanza declares “You’re truthful to me Jesus, I’ll hide your Word within, you’re life to these limbs, I love you Jesus.” Check out what Randy Alcorn writes about Jesus and the truth… He begins by quoting “Jesus is the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6), and continues to say “Jesus is the reference point for evaluating all truth claims.”   http://www.jesus.org/is-jesus-god/names-of-jesus/how-is-jesus-the-truth.html

The third stanza shouts “You’re faithful to me Jesus, and I have a faithful heart because of who you are, I love you Jesus”. Our faith does not depend on us, but on God’s faithfulness to us.  “So that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Cor. 2:5).

The words “I love you Jesus” are significant. Even believers can struggle saying these words, but they are not based on feelings, or whether we’ve had a faithful day or not. Again these words are a choice. The more we say them, the more we are shaped by them, and the more we reflect Him.

The chorus is a declaration of unwavering commitment.. “I lift your name on high before all men, never to turn away from our covenant.” I am tired of all the psycho-babble out there. To quote another songwriter – “Just Give me Jesus” – Jeremy Camp.

We need to speak our faith in Jesus out loud (and sing it). This is not something I do to convince myself of what my heart already knows, I do it to LIVE the TRUTH, and combat all UNTRUTH.

Song Sample to be posted shortly – Cindy Palin

Grab Hold of the Days Ahead….

I remember Africa and the journal I kept. A miracle a day was my daily writing task. “Keep your eyes open and watch for what God is going to do, and write it down”, I told myself. I was scared out of my mind and watching and writing calmed my racing heart.

This past Sunday our Pastor spoke from Hebrews, chapter eleven, but began with having the congregation read Hebrews 10:39. “But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.”

Sunday night I crawled into bed and asked God how I was to approach the coming week. Monday morning, when my body and spirit were just starting to stir, and my eyelids beginning to flutter – I saw a little girl jump out of bed, and I knew. I was to grab hold of the days ahead like an excited little girl on Christmas morning. Coupled with the verse from Sunday what did it all mean exactly?

My husband drove me to the airport and despite the snow and fog, I was relaxed and felt very content. I should have barraged him with “little girl’ questions like “are we there yet?”

Tuesday a.m. in my hotel room I looked up a few scripture verses on the theme of faith and children, in hopes to glean further instructions. There were a few that stood out, but before I assume anything I am going to jump out of bed like God’s little, faithful child and watch for what He has for me.

(at the CAPSS conference in Niagra Falls, Ontario.)

 

 

The Saviour Complex

One of the most important life lessons – there is only one Saviour. No matter how justified or righteous we may feel, getting in the way of God is costly. Most often it happens because we think He is too slow. If we can just push the envelope, then that person will have the help they need. But will that help last?

God’s plan and His timing gets to the bottom of the barrel and illuminates the real problems that are preventing people from thriving. We have to get out of the way and learn to pray for the Holy Spirit to do the ‘deep’ work.. Then the mess is truly dealt with, and a firm foundation can be built for future generations.

Our Saviour complex is a bandaid approach that gives the appearance all is well, but it only makes us feel better temporarily. These thoughts in no way are to be used as an excuse to do nothing. Simply by asking Jesus to speak to you is the best place to start. And sometimes, like today, the best thing I can do is go to the piano, and listen.

“Run to the Rescue”

Sometimes you ask for just what you get

and wonder why life is so hard?

Layers of bandages fester regrets,

but lets you pretend who you are.

So you run to the rescue,

and help someone else make it right.

So keep telling yourself you’re the Saviour.

Keep pulling the ocean uphill.

Keep talking to God like he’s needing your favours,

and blaming Him when your plan fails.

I’ll love you in-spite of your blindness,

‘Cause he loves me in-spite of mine,

But what will it take to convince your Highness

playing God’s wasting your time.

Sometimes we’re standing in the truth zone,

and choose to get lost anyway.

Peeling our history back to the bone

is far too depressing to face.

So we run to the rescue

to help someone else find the light.

©Cindy Palin March 17th, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

The Gift

I was walking to work the other morning, one of our warmer mornings, and was thinking about our children across the miles.  I celebrate each of them for their unique God given gifts and abilities, and their determination to follow their dreams. I cherish their friend relationships, their mentors, their loved ones. As I listened to the crunch of the snow under my feet and watched my breath crystallize and fog my glasses, I smiled. Each of our grown up children live long distances away, if we are to count the miles, but there is one gift that keeps them closer than we are able to comprehend – the gift of prayer.

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. ~ Philippians 4:6

The Nativity, Yesterday and Tomorrow….

Last Christmas we bought our grand-daughter a Nativity Scene, I think it was the PlaySkool brand. For both of them we purchased a storybook about the Nativity, with incredible life like  illustrations, Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell and Jason Cockcroft

This Christmas we cannot be with our grand-children and their parents, so I wanted to make the children something special in honour of our baby King, and to teach them about our very sacred family tradition. My husband bought me a Precious Moments Nativity Set some thirty years ago. Precious Moments are Sam Butcher’s creation. I pulled them back out of the box and crafted a story. Now that this little video has been made perhaps we’ll need to come up with another way to share the Nativity next year?

I did suggest to my family, (the ones that are here) that we go down to Hildebrand Motors and tell the story using their Nativity Scene, by moving the almost life size figures around, and video taping it. They thought that was a tad weird. It would have been great fun.

Anyway, thank you to Sam, Garage Band, and Facebook, oh yes and iMovie

A home made Christmas present for my two little grand-children….

Merry Christmas Willow and Thorin

Love Grammie and Papa

My Christmas Surprise

We were expecting a rather quiet, but blessed Christmas season, with our youngest daughter who teaches at a Bible School, flying in from Australia. It would be her first Christmas at home in three years.

We learned months prior to December we would be blessed for four days the week before Christmas, by our daughter’s bestie, whom we endearingly refer to as ‘number four’. She was flying in from Toronto, where she studies dance. Accompanying her would be her fiance, whom we had met the year before at Christmas time. He was flying in from Florida.

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Monday night I left work in the dark and walked home along the snowless sidewalk, excited to see who would be gathered around the fire at home. The air was crisp, but unusually warm for the week before Christmas.

I rounded the final block and a car came out of no where, and drove up beside me and stopped. The window went down and I heard a voice say “can we help you with your bags?” I bent down to see a familiar face smiling at me. It was our son’s girlfriend. I looked behind the wheel and there he was – our son. But how I wondered? They were in Europe skating. We had just Face-timed them the day before.

Still in shock, I hopped in the back seat. Seconds later their rental car was parked in our driveway. They had flown all the way from Utrecht (Netherlands) to surprise us. Although they were given five days off, much of that would be travel time. I was overjoyed at their adventurous spirits and their huge sacrifice to be with us for a few short days. Due to the nature of our son’s work, it was his first Christmas at home in seven years.

Although our eldest daughter and son-n-law and two precious grand-children would not be able to join us, I cherished our time together in October and November.

As if things couldn’t get better, I looked out the window Monday night and saw the snow begin to fall. Every bed in our house was full and so was my heart. 

The fullness would continue with a spur of the moment family dinner planned for the next evening, Mom and Grandma, and other dear friends travelling up the next day.

I knew in a few short days our circumstances would be quite different. Our full house would not remain full, but the memories made, our conversations and warm embraces would be more than enough to keep a smile on my face all year long.

-Cindy

 

 

Unanswered Prayers at Christmas Time?

Years later when another Christmas was fast approaching, my children and I were coming home from a medical appointment in the city. It was somewhere around 5:00 p.m. and the sky was already dark as I drove in a southerly direction  back into town. My children could hear me praying out loud as I drove. A very dear neighbour was terminally ill with cancer, and I was begging God for a miracle of healing. The next day I planned to stop in to see her at the hospital, if she wanted visitors.

She had been battling stoically, but privately, and even that summer when I happened to bump into her on the sidewalk with her rainbow toe socks, and Birkenstock sandals, she didn’t want to talk about it.

I dropped the girls off at the house. Our son was away. I then turned around and went back to the office to finish up where I left off. When I got to the shop my husband’s face said it all. She was gone.

With my head buried in my hands, I quietly sobbed behind my desk. With only an hour left until closing, my husband insisted I go home. For some reason I picked up the phone, and called our eldest daughter to give her the devastating news, and to announce I was coming home early. God then prompted my daughter to be an instrument of hope in the moments that followed.

We lived only a few blocks west of the store, but the blocks stretched into miles. I pushed my foot down on the gas pedal, but the van belligerently crawled along. Streetlights lined the road, but not one of them seemed capable of beating back the darkness. The bleak winter night grew blacker than ever before and threatened to swallow me whole. My lungs lamented beneath my ribs. Why had God not answered my prayers?

“Why did you allow her to die?” my spirit screamed into the darkness.

“Her children needed her, her husband needed her, and I needed her!”

My emotions were all over the map. I felt betrayed, and deeply wounded. For one very dark moment I believed God had abandon us all. I cranked the wheel to maneuver up our driveway. There on the peak of an enormous white snowdrift, which had conquered our front step, was one small candle propped in a mason jar, shining defiantly.

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God could have healed my friend, he could have made the moon stand still, but instead he chose to reveal himself to me through a tiny yellow flame, and the love of my children. The vast expanse of snow was indeed a vicious cruel reflection of the unfair world we live in, but the candle’s flame profoundly commanded the view, and spoke volumes.

“I hear you, and you are not alone” I heard Christ speak as I stared at the incredible view.

Christ’s presence lit up the sky and surrounded me. I went into the house and embraced my children. Together we walked to the window and silently watched the flame of the candle burn brightly.

Cindy Palin