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Happiness Strikes

What a delight this video is!  Coca-Cola is doing this ‘thing’ called Happiness Strikes, blessing random people with random happy events.  This video follows three sweet people from the Philippines living in the United States, who are reunited with their familes through the efforts of the Coca-Cola Company.

Of course, while I believe Jesus Christ alone made the ultimate “Happiness Strike” by becoming a child–

..made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone….

–the giant beverage company does a fair job bringing a smile to many, and tears to these eyes.

I dedicate this to my long-distance, grace-filled and beautiful Filipino friend, Lidia, who blogs at Crown of Beauty.   This is sent with love and prayers for you, dear sister, and a desire for the good news of Jesus to resound and be received by many precious Filipino people, reconciling them to our loving Father and striking them with Joy unspeakable and full of glory!  Love you Lidia!

~~~

 

How to Disarm an Angry Person

“A gentle answer turns away wrath” Proverbs 15:1

Ministering grace in a time of need.

That’s what I desire of this blog, my Facebook page, and Twitter comments.  Granted, I’ve strayed from those at times, but the Lord pulls me back.  Back to Grace. Back to Him.

With that in mind, I wish to share a post by Christian counselor and teacher, Ed Welch, which I pray will minister grace to someone today.  Whether at work, in church, your marriage, family, or in friendship, the Lord may call you to respond correctly to someone’s anger, justified or not.   The Proverbs and our Lord’s example gives us the Ultimate guideline on how to respond to situations of every kind, and this article elaborates on some of those.

Here’s an excerpt that spoke to me, but please check out the article in its entirety HERE:   How to Disarm an Angry Person | CCEF

Track the life of Jesus and you will see that he was never angry because of the insults and derision of the religious leaders. He never took the attacks of others personally. That’s what happens when you live to enhance the Father’s reputation, you empty yourself of any interest in your own personal honor and reputation, and you love other people more than they love you. That’s what happens when you know that your Father is the perfect judge, so you don’t have to be the judge pro tem.

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:23)

Divest yourself of all the things you desire and cherish for yourself. Do you want love? Toss it and keep only the necessities, such as the desire to love. Do you need respect and understanding? It will only be an encumbrance. Get rid of it.

Early Christmas Present

I love receiving early Christmas presents! Yay!  I just received this one from my friend, almost-relative, gifted artist, and fellow blogger, Beth Stone.  Please check our her site HERE.

The award has a catch, but a good one 🙂  I am to answer the following questions in one word, then pass the award on to five other bloggers.

Here are the questions:

1. Where is your cell phone? here
2. Your hair? argh!
3. Your mother? serves
4. Your father?  loving
5. Your favorite food? Italian
6. Your dream last night? involved
7. Your favorite drink?  DietCoke
8. Your dream/goal?  Christ-centered
9. What room are you in?  toasty
10. Your hobby?  gardening
11. Your fear?  loss
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? abiding 
13. Where were you last night?  home
14. Something that you aren’t?  moody
15. Muffins?  no
16. Wish list item?  bed
17. Where did you grow up?  Colorado
18. Last thing you did?  typed
19. What are you wearing?  pjs
20. Your TV?  movies
21. Your Pets?  gone 😦
22. Friends?  love
23. Your life?  grace-filled
24. Your mood? Christmas
25. Missing Someone? daughters
26. Vehicle? toyota
27. Something you’re not wearing? make-up
28. Your favorite store?  kitchen
29. Your favorite colour? blue
30. When was the last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? Sunday
32. Your best friend? John
33. One place that I go to over and over? Ottawa 
34. Facebook? yes
35. Favorite place to eat? sunroom

Passing it on to…

Lidja
Ron

Marianne
Eb

Mercedes

55 Christmases

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”  Matthew 7:11

TMI. That’s what this post probably is. Who wants to know where I’ve spent a lifetime of Christmases?  But the Lord’s faithfulness over my vaporous years simply overwhelms me and I rejoice in His sovereign grace!  These years are like GOOD Christmas gifts, never requested or even dreamed of, all from the heart of a pure, loving, and extravagant Heavenly Father.

So maybe this post is just for me.

Christmases 1 – 22:   Denver, Colorado.  Family and security.
Highlight: My life was secure, I don’t have any awful stories! Praise God!
Low: 1974- First Christmas without my Grandma.

Christmas 23 – 24: Okinawa, Japan.  Navy, Married and New Parents.
Highlight: 1977- Celebrated with our newborn daughter, Joy!
Low:  1976- 6-month military separation from John (as newlyweds!)

Christmas 25:  Denver, Colorado.   Family Visit.
Highlight: Seeing Handel’s Messiah performed at the Air Force Academy

Christmas 26: Sarasota, Florida.   Family Visit.
Highlight: Celebrating our first Christmas with daughter, Hope!

Christmas 27 – 28: Guam, Marianas Islands, US.  Navy, Family, Fellowship!
Highlight: Christmas with our newest bunny, Grace!
AND:  Great Fellowship with lifelong friends!

Christmas 29 -30: Camp Pendleton, California. Illegal Homeschool Mom 🙂
Highlight:  Christmas on Sunday, Praise before presents!

Christmas 31:  North Shore, Hawaii.  Three homes for homeschooling!
Highlight: Living in Hawaii!!

Christmas 32:  Sarasota, FL.  Family Visit.

Christmas 33:  Denver, Colorado.  Enjoy parent’s hospitality. And more homeschooling.
Highlight: My dad gave John his first 35mm Camera.

Christmas 34 – 36:  Sabana Seca, Puerto Rico.  Back in the Navy for Me.
Highlight:  Extended Christmas celebration through Three Kings Day!
Low: Having to work Christmas Day, Eve, etc.

Christmas 37:  Sarasota, Florida.   Family Visit.
Highlight: Our two families celebrated Christmas all together!

Christmas 38 – 40:  Augsburg, Germany.  Navy, Family, Old World Traditions.
Highlight:  Nurnberg Christkindlmarkt, Gluhwein, and all that is German.
Low:  Missed my parents–they never made it over to visit.     

 
 

Nurnberg Christkindlmarkt

Christmas 41 – 42:  Virginia Beach, Virginia. Navy Teacher, Family, the States.
Highlight: My parents visited twice!

Christmas 43:  Blue Ridge Mtns,  Family Visit.

Christmas 44 – 47:  Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  Smaller family, Bigger house!
Highlight:  White Christmases always guaranteed!
Low: 1997 – First Christmas with Joy living elsewhere.

Christmas 48 – 51:  Fort Meade, Maryland.  Girls coming and going!
Highlight:  All the girls together again!
Low: 2002-First Christmas Hope stayed in Ukraine. And 1st without my Dad.

Christmas 52 – 54:  Blue Ridge Mtns.

Highlight:  We couldn’t be with our family in December, so we celebrated in January.

Christmas 55: Ottawa, Canada.  We needed a snow and fellowship fix!

Christmas 56:  To be determined.

So, as the song by Steven Curtis Chapman says, “Christmas is all in the heart!” [1]  There were a few quiet Christmases, some leaner ones, and those much more abundant.   Lord, help me remember that, 

 ” in whatever State I am, at Christmas and everyday, therein to be content.  (Philippians 4:11 paraphrased) 

 

[1] Christmas is All in the Heart, Steven Curtis Chapman.  I just uploaded this to the blue Music Box, with a few other Christmas songs.  More to come….

A Web of Friends

A friend loves at all times.”  Proverbs 17:7 

For the next few days leading up to Thanksgiving, I’d like to practice thankfulness by sharing some things for which I’m personally thankful.

Today, I am so thankful for all the dear friends I’ve come to know or communicate with on the internet.  Though we aren’t able to talk over a nice latte or call each other when we’re feeling down, our friendships grow through encouraging posts and comments, discussing the Lord, sharing photos, Facebook statuses, tweeting, etc.  I’m deeply thankful for Connie, Kay, Kim, Lidja, Beth, Carrie, Mercedes, Marianne, Ben, Mike, Pastor Ron, and many more!   Different ages, different places, but one common thread ties us all together–the saving Grace of our Lord Jesus!   

Many of these friends have blogs, and it’s my sincerest desire that you’ll look at a few of them.  Each one is unique, and so worth reading.  Here’s a sampling:

Beth Stone Studio   
Beth is a young, beautiful, talented Christian artist in too many ways to share here.  See for yourself, and if you do so before Thanksgiving, you can enter in a contest to win one of her outstanding art prints.

Carrie’s Busy Nothings
Carrie just started blogging, and covers everything from crafts to coupons, and a ton of money-saving ideas!

Crown of Beauty
Lidja, an online friend in the Philippines, stuns me each and every day with her insights in the Word, photos of her country, and love for the Lord.

Diary of a Broken Vessel
Mike is a fellow Navy Sailor and my online friend.  He’s a student of the Word and shares my interest in Reformed authors and theology.

God’s Promises are Real
Marianne writes so much on trusting in the Lord, especially in difficult situations.  Her encouragement is like an oasis in the internet desert.

 

I count myself in nothing else so happy
As in a soul rememb’ring my good friends.”
William Shakespeare 

 

Summer Revisited

September, autumn, cooler temps, falling leaves, pumpkin spice latte…my favourite season of the year.

Before getting too far into a new season, however, I wish to thank the Lord for a blessed summer mixed filled with love, care, fun,  joy and tears, babies and much more. Since a picture paints a thousand words, these should say it all:: 

Summer-y Iris

Summer-y Iris

Hello Dahlias

Hello Dahlias

Frequent Visitor

Frequent Visitor

Colourful Crowd!

Colourful Crowd!

Our neice, Jess, and Drew's Wedding!

Our neice, Jess, and Drew's Wedding!

Becky aglow at Jess' wedding

Becky aglow at Jess' wedding

 

Best gifts come in little packages!

Best gifts come in little packages!

Our happy daughter and new mommy!!

Our happy daughter and new mommy!!

Granpa John and baby Jonathan

Granpa John and baby Jonathan

Auntie Grace

Auntie Grace

Grace, Hope, Joy, and baby Jon

Grace, Hope, baby Jon, Joy, and baby girl-to-be

Peace

Peace

 

Walks on the beach

Walks on the beach

Sunset Sail, a gift from Joy and Steve

Sunset Sail, a gift from Joy and Steve

Joyful Joyfull!

Joyful Joyfull!

 

Relaxin'

Relaxin'

A sunny day with Grace and Dan

A sunny day with Grace and Dan

Ottawa in Bloom

Ottawa in Bloom

Some local entertainment

Some local entertainment

Accidental front row seats at the Gay Parade

Accidental front row seats at the Gay Parade

I love sidewalk cafes!

I love sidewalk cafes!

Byward market berries

Byward market berries

Red, white, and blue in Canada

and more berries!!

The beautiful wedding setting

Beautiful setting for Kim's Wedding

Kim and David, with Paul Racine officiating

Kim and David, with Paul Racine officiating

The Colourful Wedding Party

The Colourful Wedding Party

Congratulations Kim and David!

Congratulations Kim and David!

Dancing time with John

Dancing time with John

 

Thank you Lord for time with friends, Mike and Elaine!

Thank you Lord for time with friends, Mike and Elaine!

 

Canoeing with Friends

Canoeing at Lac Phillippe

Is that what a paddle is for, Elaine?

Is that what a paddle is for, Elaine?

 

Showers of blessings!

Showers of blessings!

Familes unite! Blessed to meet Steve's mom (L) and aunt!

Showers unite families! We met Steve's mom (L) and aunt!

So much to look forward to!!

Joy and Steve have so much fun to look forward to!

Pampering Baby Time

Pampering Baby Time

Lovin' bathtime!!

Lovin' bathtime!!

"See you later" time with Jonathan. Next visit, a month away.

"See you later" time with Jonathan. Next visit, a month away.

Exhausted from too much fun!

Exhausted from too much fun!

And these are only a fraction of John’s photos!

 

Thank you, Lord, for Your protection, care, blessings, and answered prayers woven throughout this summer season.  We long to trust You in all our seasons to come, the prayers You know we’ll pray, the needs You know we’ll have.  Your love knows no bounds.  From everlasting to everlasting, we can trust in You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.” 

Birthday Wish and Prayer

Another birthday!  Thankful for the days and years the Lord has given me to experience His love and grace in my life!  I could share so much—but in the midst of visits with our family and fellowship with dear friends, I will wait for another time.

For now, my birthday wish and prayer is that my readers would look closely at some links on this page.  Please look at the ministries worthy of attention and support (like Open Doors), and read the encouraging posts of others, more profound in their communications than I, under my Blogroll.  It would bless me so much if you discover Lidja of Crown of Beauty, Pastor Ron of PreachersPen, Tony Reinke of Cross-Centered Blog, or Mike’s, Diary of a Broken Vessel….just to mention a few. 

Thank you and please enjoy their devotions, insight, and encouragement in the Word.  And don’t forget to listen to some beautiful music in the Blue Music Box!  Blessings to all!!

Who is My Neighbor? – 2

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”  Galatians 5:13

I found a booklet in our little library from 1976, entitled “Who is My Neighbor,” [1] in which John R. Stott discusses the example Jesus gave of love, and specifically, the who, what, why, and how of loving our neighbor.  I’d like to post the entire thing here, but due to space and copyright limits, I really can’t.  So, I’ll just share a few excerpts over the course of several posts.

WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?

Stott:

“The victim [in the Good Samaritan] was just ‘a certain man,’ undistinguished by any characteristic except that he was a human being in urgent need.  The Good Samaritan did not know him, and in worldly terms was under no obligation to help him.  He probably belonged to a different race, rank, and religion.  BUT, his need, together with the Samaritan’s ability to meet his need, constituted him his neighbor.”

Jesus:

I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

“For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?  Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same?  And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles [unbelievers] do the same?  Therefore, you are to perfect, as our heavenly Father is perfect.”  Matthew 5:44-48

Stott:

“So, we must be ‘perfect’–that is, all-embracing in our love.”

 

 [1]  John R.W. Stott, Who is My Neighbor?  Inter-Varsity Press, London. 1975.

Earlier posts on this subject are under “Heroism of Love“, and “Who IS My Neighbor?”

Who IS My Neighbor?

“Love your neighbor.”


After my last post on loving our neighbor, I brainstormed the age-old question, Who IS my neighbor?” 

This question, from Luke 10:29, was originally posed to Jesus by a lawyer, who was “wishing to justify himself.”   [Some things never change 🙂 ]

The Greek word for neighbor comes from plesion, which means “the near.”  So a neighbor is anyone, everyone who is near:

Spouse
Children
Parents
Siblings
Other Family
Friends
Neighboring neighbors
Co-workers
Students
Professors
People at church
Strangers we walk past
The cashier, waitress, security guard, traffic cop, taxi driver we encounter
The homeless person we walk past, or try not to walk past
The immigrants, legal and illegal, that we notice each day

After Jesus shares a parable in response to the lawyer’s question (known to many as The Good Samaritan), Jesus asks,  “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?”

The lawyer responded, “The one who showed mercy toward him.”

Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”  

John Wesley commented on this Scripture, saying,

“‘Go and do the like manner’.  Let us go and do likewise, regarding every man as our neighbor who needs our assistance. Let us renounce that bigotry and party zeal which would contract our hearts into an insensibility for all the human race, but for a small number whose sentiments and practices are so much our own, that our love of them is but self love reflected!”

Everyone is our neighbor.

Matthew Henry drew a similar conclusion from Jesus’ instruction:

No one will ever love God and his neighbor with any measure of pure, spiritual love, who is not made a partaker of converting grace….It is lamentable to observe how selfishness governs all ranks; how many excuses men will make to avoid trouble or expense in relieving others.

“But the true Christian has the law of love written in his heart. The Spirit of Christ dwells in him; Christ’s image is renewed in his soul. The parable is a beautiful explanation of the law of loving our neighbor as ourselves, without regard to nation, party, or any other distinction…. The believer considers that Jesus (thus) loved him, and gave his life for him…and having shown him mercy, he bids him go and do likewise.  It is the duty of us all, in our places, and according to our ability to succor, help and relieve all that are in distress and necessity.” 

Everyone is our neighbor. 

Lord, help us to daily respond in sincere love and mercy to everyone You’ve placed in our lives, just as You’ve demonstrated unconditional kindness, compassion, mercy and love towards us!! 

Heroism of Love

“Love your neighbor.” 

A challenge to heroic love:

Love your neighbor.  Perhaps he rolls in riches, and you are poor, living in your little cottage side by side with his lordly mansion.  Every day you see his estates, his fine linen, and sumptuous banquets.  God has given him these gifts. Do not covet his wealth, and think no cruel thoughts concerning him.  Be content with your own lot, if you cannot better it.  Do not look on your neighbor and wish that he were as you.  Love him, and then you will not envy him.

“Perhaps, on the other hand, you are well off, and the poor lie near you. Do not be too proud to call them you neighbor.  Accept your responsibility to love them.  The world calls them inferiors.  In what are they inferior??  They are far more your equal than your inferiors, for God has made “of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth (Acts 17:26).  It is your coat that is better than theirs, but you are by no means better than they….

“But, perhaps you say ‘I cannot love my neighbor, because, for all I do for them, they return ingratitude and contempt.’  That leaves more room for the heroism of love.  Would you be a featherweight warrior, instead of bearing the rough fight of love?  He who dares the most will win the most.  If your path of love is rough, tread it boldly, still loving your neighbors through thick and thin.

“..if they are hard to please, do not seek to please them, but to please your Master.  Remember, if they spurn your love, your Master has not spurned it, and your actions are as acceptable to Him as if they had been acceptable to them.

“Love your neighbor, for in so doing, you are following the footsteps of Christ.”

C.H. Spurgeon, Morning by Morning