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Monthly Archives: May 2014

Unanswered Prayer

Marge6Several years ago, my sister was about to clean her basement apartment when she remembered that the hose for the central vac was with the tenants upstairs. The tenants had moved in a few weeks earlier, and spoke very little English. My sister understood their language, German, but didn’t speak it very well. However, she felt confident she knew enough to make her request known.

She knocked on the door and proceeded to ask for the hose. The tenant stared at her for a moment, then shook her head. My sister spoke louder, emphasizing the word, and demonstrated the length of the hose with her hands. The tenant looked frightened now, and again shook her head. She was about to close the door when my sister realized her error. The word she’d intended to use was “schlauch” which means hose, but what she really said was “schlange” which means snake.

Have you ever asked for something you didn’t receive? When prayers go unanswered we often see it as a negative thing. It’s possible that the things we’re asking for aren’t beneficial to our lives, maybe even disadvantageous. God loves us, and He is without guile. He never withholds anything unless it’s for our good. Perhaps the next time we ask for something and the answer is no, we’ll be thankful, just as my sister was grateful she didn’t receive that snake.

~ Marge Wiebe

 

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2014 in Marge Wiebe

 

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For the Record

My genealogy research began when my son asked me a question about our family heritage. The day I started investigating, I was hooked.

Genealogy research evokes surprise, frustration, joy and sorrow. I can’t remain unaffected when reading my progenitors’ death certificates and obituaries. Yet the most upsetting discoveries aren’t the diseases that ushered my ancestors from this life to the next. The most painful disclosures are found on censuses which reveal many of my ancestors were illiterate.

Can you imagine being unable to read or write? Heartbreaking.

I tell myself it was a different time. My people were farmers and homemakers. Maybe they were too busy with plows and babies to read a book or write a letter. Yet I wonder if they wished they could. I can’t do anything about those in the past, but for future generations, I’ll write to the best of my ability for the glory of God.

Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD. Psalms 102:18

~ Jericha Kingston

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Jericha Kingston

 

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Is God Always Good?

GodisGood

A routine health exam led to a cancer scare for a dear friend back in March. After too much time and too little sleep, she learned she didn’t have cancer. After more tests, she was told she had cirrhosis of the liver. For my teetotaler friend, this was not just bad but shocking news. Weeks went by while she limited her salt intake, tried to amend her diet to accommodate this terrible diagnosis, and prayed the biopsy would show that the disease hadn’t progressed too much.

The biopsy showed more than that—she’d been misdiagnosed completely. Not cirrhosis of the liver.

And her friends said, “God is so good.”

We remind each other of God’s goodness when we get the negative diagnosis, the promotion, the proposal. We remind each other that God is good when he answers our prayers the way we asked him to.

But what about when it is cancer or cirrhosis? How do we feel when our rival gets that promotion? When instead of a proposal, we receive a Dear Jane letter? What is God in those instances?

Still good. Always good. Forever good.

Sometimes, God is so good, he gives us what we ask him for. Other times, he is so good, he reveals to us over time the purpose for his No. And occasionally, he is so good, he allows us the opportunity to trust him even when we don’t understand what he’s doing.

Psalm 145:9 says: “The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.”

We may not understand, but we can count on this: God is always good.

~Robin Patchen

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2014 in devotion, Robin Patchen

 

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A Perfect Afternoon

Pegg6Today was gorgeous, the first truly gorgeous day we’ve had this year of the never-ending winter. I pulled Trooper out of the paddock and spent a half hour de-mudding his shedding winter’s coat. I’d been looking forward to my first ride of Spring for weeks.

I got him cleaned up and ready for the saddle when a Suburban pulled into our driveway. A family with four children piled out to look at the camper we had for sale in our front yard. The oldest child was maybe ten and the youngest no more than four.

Leading Trooper, I joined the family and my husband in the front yard. Three of the children approached, very respectfully. What is it about children – especially girls – and horses? It’s magic.

“Can I pet him?”

“You bet.”

“What’s his name.”

“Trooper.”

“Is he yours?”

“He sure is.”

“Do you ride him?”

Not today. I already knew I’d never see the top side of my saddle. “Would you like to ride him?”

Blue eyes widened and mouths dropped open.

“Ask your mother for permission. If she gives it, I’ll saddle him up.”

I spent the next hour leading children, two at time with one in the saddle and one behind, around the yard while their parents bought a used pop-up camper from my husband. What a great way to spend an afternoon. I never did see the top side of that saddle, but I sure answered a lot of questions and enjoyed a lot of smiles.

~ Pegg Thomas

photo of Trooper used with his permission

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Pegg Thomas

 

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Wrong Way, Writer!

Marge7There’s a reason I don’t like shopping for electronics. Not that I don’t mind the big screen TV in my living room, or the great sound system that brings movies to life. I just don’t like the actual shopping for such things. I get tired of looking at boxes and wires and screens and remotes and all the rest.

On one particular day, as I followed my hubby down aisle after uninteresting aisle, my mind, already beginning to turn to mush, wandered to my latest work in progress in a last attempt at sanity. I was soon absorbed in the thirteenth century, reworking a sword fight, and I applauded myself for making the most of a difficult situation.

I was plotting out the last chapter when I followed my hubby around a corner and through a doorway. But something was wrong. I’m not sure what alerted me first, my husband’s startled expression, or the strange fixtures in front of me not found in any women’s bathroom. Alas, there was no escaping reality this time.

The moral of this painful story? Pay attention, for there’s no telling where your imagination will take you.

~ Marge Wiebe

Photo courtesy of morguefile.com

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2014 in Marge Wiebe

 

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Mother’s Day

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, the day our culture publicly celebrates motherhood. Mother’s Day was officially initiated in the U.S. in 1908, when Anna Jarvis desired to honor mothers and their sacrifices. Due to its rapid commercialization, Ms. Jarvis regretted the creation of Mother’s Day for the rest of her life.

Honoring one’s mother has nothing to do with a day on the calendar, and everything to do with year-round respect. Let’s discard wilted expressions of appreciation for moms.

Be spontaneous. With extra thought and preparation, you can show mom what a brilliant child she’s raised. Instead of (or in addition to) cards and flowers, how about a picnic, or a walk in the park? A hand-written letter? The gifts she treasures most aren’t found in stores.

What moms really want. Moms want the gift of your time. Communicate with her. Tell her about your goals. Avoid shallow talk with the woman you think she is. Express interest in what interests your mom. Have you ever asked her about her childhood, or about her future plans? You may find out things you never knew.

Be creative. What does your mom like? Does she crochet? Paint? Skydive? Ask her how she came to enjoy those activities. Does she enjoy writing? A box of stationary is a wonderful gift. Does she volunteer? Work alongside her. If you don’t know what’s important to your mom, then this Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to learn.

Forgive and move on. Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts you can offer your mom. Which mother hasn’t made mistakes? If you’re a parent, you realize the weight of regret. Regret is common, but reconciliation is a gift. Extend it and receive it. It’s liberating.

Celebrate each day. Be intentional. Visit and call often. Take pictures. Give hugs. Enjoy your relationship. Tell her she’s a blessing and that you love her. Saying ‘I love you’ may be difficult for you, but your actions can shout it.

If your mother has passed, redeem the day. Instead of focusing on your loss this Mother’s Day, honor your aunt, sister, or daughter instead. There are many ways to honor mothers you care for, even if she’s not your own. In doing so, you will speed the healing of your heart.

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. ~ Proverbs 11:25

~ Jericha Kingston

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Jericha Kingston

 

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Watching Your Children Suffer

davidA nearly empty room. The tap, tap, tapping of metal against rock, the skittering bits of stone across the hardwood floor. The scent of earth. Chips of marble scattered, ready to be tossed away.

And beyond the dust motes dancing in the streaming light, a huge, ugly chunk of marble.

And an artist. Creating a masterpiece.

It took Michelangelo more than two years to find David in that block of marble, but the David in the marble didn’t have a mind of its own. It didn’t resist the chisel.

You do. I do. And our children do, too.

I fell in love with my children when they were still swimming in my womb. I prayed for them before they were born, and I’ve prayed for them daily ever since. I had dreams for them. Their father and I taught them right from wrong. We taught them about God and love and hope and Christ. And now we have teenagers who sometimes seem to want to forget all they’ve learned.

We’re not alone. One look at the kids streaming out of my son’s high school, and I know other parents are asking the same questions about their kids. What did we do wrong? Why would they do these things?

Some of these teens make stupid choices that lead to serious consequences. They reject their parents’ rules and rebel against their authority in search of freedom, only to find the worst kinds of slavery.

And even when they make good choices, they find trouble. Their friends attack them. They’re rejected and maligned for standing up for their beliefs. They try and fail and fail again.

They suffer.

My children’s suffering is the most difficult, painful thing I’ve ever witnessed, and in most cases, there’s nothing I can do to help. I try to lead them to make better choices. They ignore me. I offer to help them with a project, with homework, with friends. They reject all my offers.

I cry out to God. “Make them happy, Lord. Help them through this. Let them succeed. Why must they suffer so?”

Then one day, I heard a whisper in my soul. “Have you ever drawn nearer to me apart from suffering?”

I reluctantly shook my head. “No, Lord.”

“Have you not prayed their whole lives that they would know Me?”

“Yes, Lord.”

“This is the path.”

It is not the path I would have chosen for them. I would make their lives all Disney and cupcakes, if it were up to me. I would make them so smart, they’d never need to study. So talented, they’d win every contest. So beautiful, the world would stand in awe. But what lessons are there in that? They would never cease to be ugly chunks of marble.

Through their rebellion, their struggles, and their sufferings, the Sculptor is chipping away at that chunk of marble to create a masterpiece, just like God promises in Ephesians 2:10. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (NLT)

If that’s what it takes to make them His, then have your way, dear Lord.

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2014 in devotion, Robin Patchen

 

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