Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday's Voice - China


Update: Chinese church leader given severe prison sentence

Alimujiang Yimiti (36), a Uyghur Chinese house church leader who was arrested and imprisoned in January 2008 has received a 15-year prison sentence for allegedly "providing state secrets to overseas organizations." The verdict, which stunned Yimiti's lawyers and family members, was read to him in prison on October 27. One of Yimiti's lawyers, Li Dunyong, has reportedly filed an appeal on his behalf. Li Dunyong also stated that Yimiti's Muslim background was a factor in his legal battle, stating, "The whole case is about religious faith issues which are being used against [him] for his conversion from Islam to Christianity, by biased law enforcement agents, prosecutors and the court." (Source: ChinaAid)

Pray that Yimiti will continue to draw near to his Heavenly Father amid his trials.

Pray for Yimiti's wife and children, who are suffering many challenges in his absence.

Pray for spiritual and physical strength for the thousands of Christians in prison for their faith in Christ.
Monday, December 21, 2009

Music Monday - Glory to God


My husband grew up in the Christian Reformed Church. Most members of this denomination are from a Dutch background. My husband's parents both immigrated from the Netherlands after WWII. One of the traditions of CRC church is to sing Ere zig God during Christmas services. They do say you can sing in English, but there is something lost in sound. I have, however, put the translation of the song for you.



Glory to God! Glory to God!
In the highest, in the highest, in the highest!
Peace be on Earth, peace be on Earth
To the people whom God delights in.

Glory to God in the highest, glory to God in the highest!
Peace be on Earth, peace be on Earth, peace be on Earth, peace be on Earth
To the people, to the people whom God delights in,
To the people whom God delights in, whom God delights in.

Glory to God! Glory to God!
In the highest, in the highest, in the highest!
Peace be on Earth, peace be on Earth
To the people whom God delights in.

Amen. Amen.

Now share your favourite song on Saved by Grace.



Friday, December 18, 2009

Caffienated Randomness - "Sleigh Bells Ring, Are You Listening...."


This week, our Caffeinated Chieftain has asked what our favourite Christmas Songs are. To tell you the truth I haven't met a Christmas song I didn't like. However, I'll give you my top three (you can even dance to two!).

The song that reminds of Reason for the season is Who is This Child. It reminds us why He came and what the purpose of Christmas is.



My favourite childhood Christmas song is Suzy Snowflake. I had a record (yes Virginia there were big large black disks that spun around and made music) that had numerous Christmas songs by artists from the 50s and 60s. Growing up where we received little or now snow (I can count on one hand how many White Christmas' we had) I could imagine the little mischievous snowflake calling me to come out and play.



The other Christmas song that I love to hear is of course Elvis' Blue Christmas. Who cannot listen to this song with singing "wohoho?" This was the song we often played while decorating the tree.



Now go post your favourite Christmas songs at Under Grace Over Coffee.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday's Voice - China


House Church Leader Targeted by Authorities China

The leader of a house church in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, China was released on November 30 after authorities arbitrarily detained him without warrant on November 23. Officials and local villagers targeted Shao Wangui after he and his brother, owners of the Xinba Shoes Factory, refused to pay a fee to support the building of a Buddhist temple in their village. Wangui also asked the members of his house church to refuse to support the construction project. When the village secretary found out about Wangui's actions, he began initiating a campaign of mistreatment against the known believers in the community. In late November, local "vandals" destroyed the brothers' factory as punishment for their refusal to provide funds.

Pray that this experience will bring Wangui, his brother and the members of this house church closer to Christ.

Pray that the persecutors will know Christ's love, forgiveness and blessing through the lives of these Christians (Romans 12:14, 21).

Pray for boldness for Christians in sharing the Gospel, despite the dangers that they face.
Monday, December 14, 2009

Favourite Christmas Memories

Today Donnetta at My Quiet Corner is hosting a Christmas get together where everyone can post their favourite Christmas memory. So, come along and join us .....


Today I was out Christmas shopping. This is the one act every year that could turn me into Scrooge. However, when I was out I remembered the time I went Christmas shopping when I was young, maybe 5 or 6. My grandmother had given one of my aunts money to allow me to pick out and purchase my own gifts to give to our family. I remember buying my grandmother Calgon. I thought she needed the break! I bought one of my aunts a wobble pen. These gifts were simple but came from love.

The gift that I really comes to my mind, however, is a trophy of Snoopy. His arms were wide open and the brass plate read "I love you this much!" I purchased this for my grandfather. I always remember when I was little the bear hugs he gave us. His arms open wide and always inviting us in. He was always one for hugs, even when we got older. The great things about his hugs is that he hung on for a long time to make sure that you know how much you were loved. I still remember the smell of his aftershave, Old Spice (I think I bought him a bottle the next year.)

This is the one of the things that I miss about my grandfather since he passed away 12 years ago. Since accepting Christ, I have a new father whose arms are open and inviting me in. Who wants to hold one to me with dear life and never let me go. I sometimes want to wiggle out of His hold, like I did with my grandfather. However, no matter what I do, and where I go, His arms are always there welcoming me in.

Now go and join the conversation at My Quiet Corner and share your Christmas Memories.

Music Monday - Ornament

I don't know how many of you have heard of Trans-Siberian Orchestra. My husband introduced me to this band when we were dating. We listened to the cd "Christmas Eve and Other Stories" over and over until I know all the songs by heart.

Last year we were blessed to have seen them in Concert. It was truly amazing. We had seats 4th row from the stage and enjoyed every minute of the concert. I can't wait until they come back so that we can take Nicole to see them (she has become a fan as well).

My favourite song by TSO is Ornament. It reminds us what is important and what we have made important.



ORNAMENT

There is an ornament
Lost inside the night
There on a Christmas tree
With a thousand lights

No one can see her
She's standing all alone

Somewhere she glistens where no one can see

I don't believe I can say what had happened
All of those words that we put into play
No longer matter, I should have known that then
I just know you're far away

On this Christmas day
On this Christmas day
On this Christmas ....

Somewhere the wind
Carves moments in the snow

And if he sees her
He never lets it show
He just drifts behind her
Erasing every step

Tinsel and garland are whispered
through trees

I don't believe I can say what
had happened
All of those words that we put
into play
No longer matter, I should have
known that then
I just know you're far away

On this Christmas day
On this Christmas day
On this Christmas ....

Come, Christmas
Stay, Christmas
Watch over her this day
Keep her
Protect her
From harm now in every way

Shelter her
Gently
There in your arms she'll be
Until the day
When you
Bring her back home to me

There is an ornament lost inside the night

Now share your song this week with Saved by Grace.
Saturday, December 12, 2009

Baby its Cold Outside!

As I'm writing this the temperature is -33C. However, with the windchill its -50C. Tomorrow looks promising as it may warm up to -30C, with the windchill being -40C. For my southern friends that would be a high tomorrow of -42 F with the windchill. However, I'm snug as a bug in my little house.

I have been looking at all my friend's Facebook status'. They are all complaining about the weather. However, all I have to say is "Baby It's Cold Outside!"

Sacred in the Ordinary - Reading

I am tempted to search for the extraordinary. I catch myself longing for the incredible. I fight the urge to notice the spectacular. In doing so, I risk missing the most extraordinary, incredible and spectacular of all... the sacred in the ordinary.

My Moment...

This week I had a cookies exchange with my friends. I was stressing because I hadn't finished cooking the appies before everyone showed up. I really didn't get to visit with people because I was busy cooking, dealing with kids and making coffee ....Andrea!

In the middle of the confusion Thomas wanted me to read to him. Just sit down and look at his picture book with him. I didn't have time (or felt I didn't have time). Finally exasperated I sat down with him and looked at his book with him. That's all he wanted time with Mom. Time to sit on my lap in the middle of confusion and relax. RELAX! That's what God wants us to do too. To sit down and relax in His lap with His book.

Relax!

Now go write your Sacred in the Ordinary at My Quite Corner.


PS: Thank you Andrea for taking over when Samuel needed me a few minutes later. You are the toddler whisperer!
Friday, December 11, 2009

Caffienated Randomness - The Christmas Movie Edition



This week our Caffeinated Chieftain is inquiring about our favourite Christmas movies. I have a few and they all have to do with Dicken's Christmas Carol.

The first is the classic version "Christmas Carol" with Alistair Sims. For those who are not aware, this is not the first version of the movie, however, it is the most popular. In the 90s someone thought it would be great to colourize black and white movies and this movie was one of the first. It is my opinion that the only way to watch it is in the original Black and White. There is something lost when you watch the "touched up version." By the way, this is my husband's favourite Christmas movie.

And who doesn't like the Muppets. I loved watching the Muppet Show growing up (some may say I haven't grown up). The Muppet's Christmas Carol with Michael Caine playing Scrooge is hilarious. It is a show that you can watch with your children (even though mine refuse to) and not be afraid of what their watching. My favourite lines have to be:
Gonzo: I am here to tell the story.
Rizzo: I am here to eat the food.

Finally, Scrooged with Bill Murray. I laugh and cry every time I watch this version. I love Bobcat Goldwaith's character, the voice of reason that goes postal. I finally bought this movie and can't wait to curl up and watch it with my hubby.



Now go and record your favourite Christmas movies at Under Grace Over Coffee.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wednesday's Voice - Somalia


Christian from Muslim background martyred in Somalia

The body of a 23-year-old Somali convert from Islam to Christianity, Mumin Abdikarim Yusuf, was discovered on the morning of November 14 in Mogadishu's Yaqshid district. On October 28, members of al-Shabaab, an Islamic militant group, apprehended Yusuf and searched his home for Christian materials after a 15-year-old Muslim boy accused Yusuf of trying to convert him to Christianity. In an attempt to extract evidence against him and to gain information about other Somali Christians, the militants knocked out all of Yusuf's front teeth and broke several of his fingers. They then shot him twice in the head and discarded his body on an empty residential street. Since it is unknown whether Yusuf disclosed any information during his torture, the underground Christians who knew him have relocated for their safety. Yusuf's Muslim family members are also in danger as militants have accused them of failing to report his conversion to Christianity.

Pray for all those mourning the death of this brother in the Lord.

Pray for safety for the relocated believers.

Pray that Yusuf's faithful witness will be a testimony to his Muslim family members and that they will turn to Jesus for their salvation.
Monday, December 7, 2009

Music Monday - Can't Live a Day Without You

Last week I started working out on our new treadmill. I decided that I wanted to listen to praise music while working out to get my mind focused on God while walking. One song really struck me while working out and it especially hit me during an intense part of the work out. I just started singing along (while tried to while I was trying to breath). I hope you all love it as much as I do.



I could live life alone
And never fill the longings of my heart
The healing warmth of someone's arms
And I could live without dreams
And never know the thrill of what could be
With every star so far and out of reach
I could live without many things
And I could carry on, but

I couldn't face my life tomorrow
Without Your hope in my heart I know
I can't live a day without You
Lord, there's no night and there's no morning
Without Your loving arms to hold me
You're the heartbeat of all I do
I can't live a day without You

I could travel the world
See all the wonders beautiful and new
They'd only make me think of You
And I could have all life offers
Riches that were far beyond compare
To grant my every wish without a care
Oh, I could do anything, oh yes
But if You weren't in it all

Jesus, I live because You live
You're like the air I breathe
Oh Jesus, oh, I have because You give
You're everything to me

I couldn't face my life tomorrow
Without Your hope in my heart I know
I can't live a day without You
Lord, there's no night and there's no morning
Without Your loving arms to hold me
You're the heartbeat of all I do
I can't live a day without You

Now go and post your Music Monday choice at Saved by Grace.
Saturday, December 5, 2009

Countdown to Christmas - Adori Graphics


I've many times raved about Louise of Adori Graphics. She has an amazing talent. She, in her spare time, designs blogs. She creates her own vector graphics. I used one of her freebies for my blog and had her jazz it up for me (have you seen my sidebars). If anyone has been to my cooking blog, Cooking With the Evil Twins, you can see her work based on someone's ideas.

Not only is Louise very talented. She is very generous. Right now, Louise is having a Christmas Countdown Giveway. For the next 20 days, you can enter to win some cool prizes to jazz up your blog. Check out her blog daily to find out what the next giveaway is.

Sacred in the Ordinary - Hoar Frost

I am tempted to search for the extraordinary. I catch myself longing for the incredible. I fight the urge to notice the spectacular. In doing so, I risk missing the most extraordinary, incredible and spectacular of all... the sacred in the ordinary.

My Moment...

We have had an amazing November. It was beautiful and warm. We usually have snow mid November but we really had nothing. The kids wore runners and lighter winter jackets all month. Gloves and toques were optional. However, December has brought us winter weather. We finally have a small skift of snow. The temperature has dropped from highs of 8 C to -18 C within 7 days. What a difference. However, the one part of winter that I enjoy about living in the prairies is the hoar frost. I love the way it looks. Everything is covered with a thick frost. It makes everything pretty, including the storage center across the street from my house. It reminds of how Jesus covers us with His grace and love making us shiny and new before God.

I however didn't get a picture but have found one on the net that looks similar to what I saw this morning.

Now go to My Quiet Corner and record your Sacred in the Ordinary.
Friday, December 4, 2009

Cafienated Randomness - Christmas Ornaments

First of all - Thank you Caffeinated Chieftain, for bringing back Caffeinated Randomness. I will have something to do on Friday's again. It was hard to think of something of my own to talk about on Fridays. I have many ideas floating around my head that seem to get lost or mushed together when I try to blog.

Andrea has been tormenting me on her blog, on Facebook and in face about Christmas and the fact that it is on its way. I've been avoiding it. Trying to put it to the back of my mind. Thus, I haven't been on the computer much, because it seems wherever I go people are reminding me it is coming. It's not that I don't like Christmas, it just seems that I'm always a bit stressed about the commercial side of it. I have to remember that its not about what but WHO!

Today Andrea wants us to talk about our craziest or favourite ornaments. Before I do that I have to tell you about the trees I grew up with. They were not "Martha" trees. There was no organization and no colour concept. They were decorated with love and kindness. The decorations that we decorated were either ones we had made or ones that had been given as Christmas presents. Some of my favourite Christmas memories are of making popcorn strings that went around our large living room, let alone the tree and making decorations in Brownies to put on the tree.

Leroy's and I first Christmas together, I talked him into getting a tree and letting me decorate it for him using decorations I had been given over the years and few he ended up purchasing. We had friends over after I decorated it. I was so excited as I finally had my own tree and loved it. When our friends came over (by the way they had a blue and silver "Martha" tree), I was informed that I had an "interesting" tree. I loved our tree and this small comment took away some the enjoyment of my tree.

Christmas 2007 Tree (We decorate the same way every year)

My great grandmother was always making crafts to give to the family. I am the happy owner of numerous beaded dolls and Christmas decorations. However, the ones that I really loved were the ones she made out of Styrofoam egg cartons. I grew up putting these decorations on our tree every year. They were sparkly and they didn't break unless you sat on them. The Christmas before she died, she made me a box of egg carton decorations for my own. I treasure these decorations and love to see my kids putting them up. The picture does not do them justice. I hope that my children will see the love that she placed in these simple decorations.


Now go to Andrea's blog and blog about your favourite Christmas Ornament.



Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday's Voice - CHINA

Crackdown continues against church in Shanghai, China

On November 15, nearly 700 church members from the Wanbang Missionary Church in Shanghai met together for worship despite ongoing harassment from Chinese authorities Before the service, 10 police officers attempted to prevent Senior Pastor Cui Quan from attending the gathering by blocking the entrance to his home. They also threatened the taxi driver responsible for driving Pastor Cui and his wife to the service. Several church members received text messages containing threats and claiming that the service had been cancelled. Despite this opposition, the believers gathered for worship, though plain-clothes officials filmed the entire service.

On the morning of the following Sunday, November 22, Wanbang Missionary Church pastors Cui Longguo, Liu Quanqin, and Huang Yun were summoned to the police station in Minhang District. The pastors were interrogated on allegations of "engaging in illegal organization and activities." Pastor Liu's fingers were reportedly injured and his personal property was damaged. Officials detained the three along with Senior Pastor Cui until the afternoon to prevent them from leading the worship service. However, the detention of the leaders and threats from authorities did not prevent over 500 dedicated church members from assembling outdoors for their two scheduled services. (Source: ChinaAid)

Pray that the pastors of this church will be strong and effective leaders to their congregation.

Thank the Lord for the enduring faithfulness of these believers.

Pray that they will be permitted to worship freely.
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Alberta, Canada
I'm a 39 year old (oh yeah I'm telling you my age) Stay at Home mom. A former Bad Girl now reformed sinner, I'm married to my Y2K guy and raising 3 great children from God. Proudly Canadian, however, missing the West Coast, I currently live in the prairies watching the farmers fields produce as I learn how God produces the fruits in me.

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