Friday, April 19, 2013

Caffeinated Randomness - Brewed Life

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It's been one of those weeks and I still don't think there is enough coffee in the world to help me deal with it.  This week I thought I would share some bloggy coffee things that have made me smile this week.  I even took a quiz for what kind of coffee I would be.  I got :

At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high

I don't like espressos, but have to agree about the description of me.  For those who know me personally, I think you would agree.  

This is really how I feel sometimes about coffee.  It is dangerous in my house when mommy hasn't had any coffee.  I once made an blood work appointment at 10:30 am and of course it was one of those fasting ones.  Of course, the lab was running 30 minutes late.  I wanted to tell the assistant at the desk that I didn't have coffee and people could get hurt if they didn't get me in and out of there.  The first place I went to after was Starbucks.  Luckily there was one 10 seconds away from the lab.  Oh, if that Starbucks would just go into business with the lab, I think everyone would be satisfied.

Every morning the first thing I do is make a cup of coffee in my Keurig.  I do this even before taking my thyroid medicine.  I read recently that when you pray you should consider it a personal "visit" with God.  While when I have friends over we drink coffee, so I know God would only expect me to treat him the same way.   

If I don't get my cup of coffee, people should run.  There was one camping trip I decided to take instant coffee and not to shower for the weekend as we were only there for two nights.  By Sunday morning, after having the most disgusting coffee of all time, my wonderful husband handed me a towel and $10.00 and told me to take a shower and get a cup of coffee at the campground cafe.  I guess for everyone's safety and probably my own (there might of been a revolt against mom), my husband was very wise.  Last year I thought I would give up coffee for lent.  My husband banned that idea.  I then remembered the camping trip and realized I couldn't even get through two days.  I don't even want to imagine 40 days without it.  

I love Star Wars.  Coffee and Star Wars.  It is a match made in heaven.  ;)

Joy indeed does come in the morning.  Coffee and God.  God and Coffee.  It's what gets me through life.  

What kind of coffee are you?  What is your vice?  Come and join the other Java Junkies with your randomness this week.  (PS.  I know not all of you drink coffee, but join in the fun anyway.)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Caffeinated Randomness - Warrior

I'm tired 

I'm Worn 

My heart is heavy

From the work it takes to keep on breathing.

These are the first lyrics of the Worn by Tenth Avenue North.  These are the also the words that describe how I've been feeling lately.  

I have a friend who calls me a warrior.  But I don't feel like one.  I feel like the victim.  The person tied to the rock waiting for someone to save them.  Warriors are powerful.  Warriors are strong.  Warriors are brave.  They are the heroes.  They are the saviors. defines warrior as a person who shows or has shown great vigor, courage, or aggressiveness, as in politics or athletics.  That definitely does not describe me.

This version of warrior is seen throughout our culture.  You see it in our literature and our mythology.  You only have to look at current media to see what society thinks warriors should look like.   When I think of warriors in our current media I think of Aragon from the Lord of the Rings series.  

He's the fighter in the story.  The one who will bring peace.  The one who will overcome evil if he takes up his birth right.  But what I forget when I think of his story is his heartbreak.  His hopelessness.  His struggle.  His running from what He knows he is.  The Battle of Helms Deep reflects this.  Ten thousand Uruk-hai against 300 Rhoinians.  Then you add a few hundred elves, but still the numbers don't look good.  At the beginning of the battle he argues with one of his friends, Legolas, about the battle.  Legolas believes the battle to be foolhearty.  Aragon acknowledges it, yet says he will fight anyway.  

You see that is what a warrior really is.  Merriam Webster defines a warrior as : a man engaged or experienced in warfare; broadly : a person engaged in some struggle or conflict.  A warrior is tired.  A warrior is worn.  A warrior doesn't know when the battle will end, but keeps on fighting.  A warrior may realize that they may lose the battle, but that the war is still undecided.  In this aspect I am a warrior.
 For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.  Ephesians 6:12 AMP
We are all warriors.  We are all fighting some battle.  In fact, we should be fighting.  It means that we are worth trying to defeat.  It means that we are in line with God.  The enemy hates this.  The enemy wants us to have a false sense of hope.  But it is just that, false hope.  Only God can give us true hope.  Only He can bring us true peace.  He doesn't just send us out into the battle.  He doesn't send us out unprepared, as well.  He arms us.
Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God, And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the [a]firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace.  Lift up over all the [covering] shield of [c]saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one]. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit [d]wields, which is the Word of God. Ephesians 6:13-17 AMP
We also don't fight alone.  He fights with us.
The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest. Exodus 14:14 AMP
God knows the end of our stories.  We don't.  He doesn't leave us alone.  He is with us, even we think hope is lost.  He guides us and fights with us.  He will lead us to restful waters (Psalm 23:2) He will refresh us and restore us (Pslam 23:3).  Lean on Him in the battle.  You may lose this round, but know that the War has been won.

Are you in the midst of a battle?  Are you worn?  Have you sought out God for rest?  Have you leaned on Him for guidance and assistance?

Come join up with the other Java Junkies and share your hearts and struggles with us.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Caffeinated Randomness - Everyday Is....

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This month is Autism Awareness month. Tuesday, April 2 is recognized as International Autism Awareness Day. Everyday is Autism Awareness Day at our house.

Thomas was born 7 years ago. He was a fussy baby from the get go. He didn't laugh until he was at least 6 months of age. He didn't walk until he was 20 months and didn't say his first word until he was two. He had only 50 words by the time he was 4 years old. I remember going to the Doctor at his 18 month old check up about some of my concerns, but the doctor just said he was healthy. That he would catch up. I remember conversations with friends about my concerns, especially after reading What to Execpt in the Toddler Years? I felt there was something, but couldn't put my finger on it.

However, for all the things he was behind, he was ahead in so much. He figured out the mouse and computer by the time he was 2 1/2. I had to lock the computer for a few hours a day so that he would do something else. He was so good at puzzles. He could tell you the letters of the alphabet before he was 3 (Thank you Nana). Thomas was diagnosed with autism two weeks before his 5th birthday.

Sam was the opposite baby. He was happy and had a deep laugh from the get go. He slept through the night after a month. He napped regularly. He too was a slow walker and talker. However, once he walked.....he ran. He was into everything and had more energy than the energizer bunny (even as I write this in a hotel room, he's running around). I have to admit that I didn't want to see the similarities with Sam and Thomas. They were too different in my eyes. I argued with my husband about this.  On the way to the pediatrician, I argued with God. Didn't I deserve a “normal” son? Didn't I have enough struggles and trials in my life? Why us? Why did we have to be the statistics?

I actually took Thomas' diagnosis better than I did Sam's. I wanted to have the typical family, not the different one. The year Thomas was diagnosised my word of the year was persevere. I persevered. I pushed through. I embraced Thomas's diagnosis. I learned more about it. I learned the myths and the truths. I learned about division in the autism community and I picked sides.

Our family moved from one province to another, so that we could obtain better services for Thomas and better services to assist our family. We learned to advocate for Thomas. We learned about inclusion education (something I had struggled with before) and learned of the positive aspects of it for all children. We learned about the prejudice and how to break down the barriers that people with disabilities face. We persevered as a family through the new “normal” we faced.

Last year, my word was “contentment”. I will admit that I didn't learn to become content with either of the boys diagnosis, but I did learn to be content with what I had. I learned to not look so much into the future and the dreams I had had for my boys (those dreams were gone and I did grieve them). I learned to embrace the day. Every day is new. Every day is precious. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is never here. 

Through all of this God has been with me and my family. He has provided us with amazing therapists. Some believers and some not. He has provided our family with aides who love our children and share our core beliefs. Who believe in inclusion. Who see the possibility each of our boys is. Who see beyond the struggles.

When I have been literally on the floor weeping about my life, God was with me. When I despaired about my children's future, God was there. He has given me strength when I had none. He brought me joy and peace, when I felt like they were a dream, never to be grasped. He alone has stood with us.
I know because of Him that my boys are amazing, wonderful, perfect, wanted and loved. They are not mistakes. They are part of a larger plan. I may despair of my not knowing the plan, but He alone has seen the end and it is Good!

What are you and your family struggling with? What has God been saying to you? Are you leaning on God through your struggles? Come share the randomness with the other Java Junkies this week.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Caffeinated Randomness - In Christ Alone

I know today is Good Friday.  I wanted to give you a gift of praise that always reminds of Easter and what Easter represents.  I hope you enjoy it.  

What songs speak to you about the sacrifice that Jesus made?  Come link up with the other Java Junkies on this Holy Day.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Caffeinated Randomness - A Dream of a Fish

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I am stopping the Caffeinated in the Word study.  I'm sorry if you were following it but I do have a good reason.  You see I had a dream.  Not Martin Luther Jr.'s dream.  Not the dream that Fantine dreamed in Les Miserable (although I will write on that dream later).  This dream was prophetic.  It was life changing.  It was awakening.  It involved a fish.

Ok, do I have your attention?  I should tell you this fish was more like a mini shark.  I guess you should also say fishes as there were quite a few of them.  There was a dark dingy tank where these fish lived.  It was almost inhospitable.  There was a 2nd tank with clean water.  

I was moving the fish from one tank to another.  They were fighting every minute of it.  Flipping around almost causing me to drop them.   Did I mention I was moving them with my hands?  They fought with every ounce of strength until I dropped them in the clean tank.  Then they swam around happy and content.

This was my dream Saturday night.  I awoke Sunday morning puzzled; trying to figure it out.  Then it hit me.  You see I have to confess, for sometime I have felt spiritually dead.  Oh, I was doing the 40 day study, more intellectually then spiritually or emotionally.  I had no prayer life.  I felt like a sham.  I was angry, resentful, frustrated because of all the trials in my life:  ones brought on by myself and ones I had no control over.  

This didn't happen overnight and shouldn't have been a big surprise to me as I kept God at an arm's length.  I had all but abandoned my prayer life (few contrite prayers here or there).  I was cramming through the 40 Days in the Word study and had totally abandoned my Good Morning Girls study (sorry Rubies).  I was struggling to breathe.  I was trying not to drown in the murky water I found myself in and I was fighting the one who only wanted to help me breath.  Who wanted to take me from the mire and bring me to the cool clean water. 

I will admit that I did not fall on my knees and beg for forgiveness.  I didn't breakdown.  I was in shock. I knew I needed to do something but what?   I knew I needed to start praying and setting a time for that.  I knew I needed to get back into the word.  I knew I needed to change.  However, I also knew me.  If I didn't do this slowly, I would be right back where I started.  

I had bought some index cards on a ring.  I printed out some prayer guides I had found on Pinterest.  I set out clothes to exercise in.  Set my study materials on my craft desk.  I had a plan.

I would love to say that I jumped out bed Monday morning in excitement when the alarm went off.  I pushed myself out of bed.  I did 15 minutes interval training on my treadmill listening to worship music.  I spent time in prayer.  I worked on my 40 Day study.  I felt great the rest of the day.  I have done this all week.  It's still difficult to get up, but I have noticed a weight lifted from me.

I have spent more time praying.   When I feel tempted, I pray.  I am currently reading a book on prayer (more on that one when I'm finished reading it).  I attended a Woman Inspired conference this week.  I feel more alive than I have in a long time.  I know it's not because of me or anything I have or have not done.  

God was patient.
God was merciful. 
God loved me not matter what and only wanted the best for me.
He knew what I needed.
He knew how to reach out to me.
He prepped me to listen and I have.

I am not writing this as a confession or to say that everything has been fixed.  Far from it.  I have lost it on the kids this week.  I have gotten angry and allowed bitterness to appear.  I know this is a process.  The beginning.  I also know that Satan will be around.  That I will be tempted to fall and slip back into the dark tank.  I would ask that you keep me and my family in your prayers.  That we would be protected.  That I would have the courage to persevere.  That I would continue to run the race.  That I continue to rest in His arms and submit to His will.

And to think....this all started with a dream about a fish!

What are you struggling with?  Have you taken it to God?  What has God been telling you?  Are you listening?  Come link up with the other Java Junkies this week.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday's Voice - Nigeria

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 
Colossians 1:9 NIV84

Please be in prayer for all believers. Please feel free to share any prayer requests or praise requests in the comment section of the post. I would ask that if you read this blog on a Wednesday that you take time not just to pray for those who are persecuted, but also for each other. We may not know each other, but we can take joy in praying for each other and the power that God has when we pray globally. Blessings to you all.

NIGERIA: Most Dangerous Country for Residing Christians
Source: World Watch Monitor

According to the new 2013 edition of the World Watch List, produced by Open Doors, Nigeria is considered the most dangerous country for a Christian to live. The researchers report, "Between November 2011 and October 2012, we recorded 1,201 killings of Christians worldwide of which 791 happened in Nigeria." Since 2009, the attacks of Boko Haram, a militant Islamic group, have claimed the lives of more than 3,000 people. The majority of the attacks were made against churches -- spanning from the capital Abuja, across mid-to-northern Nigeria, and through to Sharia-law northern states. 

In the militant group's ruthless attempts to overthrow the government for the purpose of creating an Islamic state, the resulting havoc and destruction has taken its toll in what is known as Africa's most populous country. And the aftermath of the tragedies affecting Nigeria's innocent victims can be described as excruciating. Deborah painfully recalls how her husband was shot dead in front of her, and how their two daughters, ages 7 and 9, were taken away by the perpetrators on April 25th, 2012. This distraught mother has not received any news of her girls since then. A few months after their abduction, her third child (a son) was shot and killed 

While many Christian families have been able to flee from these volatile areas, a small minority of remaining residents are now living in constant fear of further unexpected attacks. In an effort to provide some protection, the government has deployed a special army-police unit. However, it's reported that the security is still fragile in this part of the world 

  • Please continue to pray for the surviving victims of the attacks, May our Heavenly Father assure them of His comforting presence and tremendous love, while also providing them a safe place in which they can heal and be restored. 
  • Ask that He give the government officials wisdom and support, as they raise up a standard against the tide of evil seeking to overcome them. 
  • Pray that God will somehow capture the attention of the members of Boko Haram for sincere repentance and spiritual transformation.
Friday, March 15, 2013

Caffeinated Randomness - Crazy Birthday Month

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I have to admit that I haven't done anything this week in regards to the 40 Days in the Word.  Time change has really played havoc with my sleeping patterns and this is the first of the two birthdays of crazy birthday month.  I have decided to dedicate this week's randomness to crazy birthday month.  

March used to be the unbirthday month in my family.  It was typically Easter month and nothing else.  When I got married, my husband's sister had a birthday in March, but we rarely saw her.  The only other holiday was my in laws anniversary on the 17th.  They have the best date, if they were Irish.  Still March was a slow month.  Then another of my sister in laws delivered twin boys on the 8th and 9th respectively.  They were born so close to midnight.  However, we rarely saw them as well.  

This all changed in 2007 with I had Thomas on the 27th.  We now had a birthday.  The year I had Thomas, Easter was a week after his birth.  I have pictures of him in his bouncy chair all stickered up by his sister as she decorated him like an Easter Egg.  He started sleeping with one eye open after that escapade.  I didn't blame him.  I relished having my children's birthdays so far apart (Nicole's birthday is in June).  I could plan them both with relish and ease.  

March 2008 just before Thomas' birthday I found out I was pregnant again.  My due date was November 2008.  This was not to be as I miscarried.  I was understandably upset.  Two months later, I found out I was pregnant again.  I was elated.  Then I counted.  March 2009 was my due date.  I would have two birthdays in one month.  As my due date got closer, I started planning Thomas' 3rd birthday party.  I knew if I didn't, the poor boy wouldn't get one.  Luckily I had great friends who helped me in the execution.  Thomas wasn't too happy there was a baby in the house, so having a day with his friends and cake was a great thing for him.  

Since Sam was born, I've only had one friend with a little one the same age.  As a result, Sam has only had family parties with our family and very close friends.  This year Sam is having his first official birthday party with his friends.  I am having a Milk and Cookies party and at the writing of this blog (Thursday night) I am very disorganized and stressing.  I know though that everything will go well that it doesn't matter to the kids that the table looks amazing or that I used my cricut to cut out his name (hoping to get to that tomorrow morning).  I will be spending my morning blowing up balloons, baking some sugar cookies for decorating, decorating the table and keeping the house tidy until the guests arrive.  After that it's a free for all.  

Then it's on to the execution of the next party in two weeks.  Thomas has requested a Hotel Transylvania PJ Party.  I will be making the invitations this weekend and then next week working on the giveaways.    

In all the birthday planning and executions I thought I would share a gift with you.  My cupcake and chocolate icing recipes.  I hope you enjoy them.

Great Grandma's White Cupcake Recipe

2 cups A.P. Flour
3 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Butter
1 1/4 cup White Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 cup Milk
2 eggs

Pre heat oven to 350F.  Stir flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.  In a larger bowl, cream butter.  Add sugar gradually.  Add eggs, one at a time while beating between adding.  Stir in vanilla.  Add dry ingredients alternating with the milk.  Disperse in cup cake liners.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Whipped Cream Chocolate Icing

2 cups Whipping Cream
1 cup sifted Icing Sugar
1/2 cup sifted unsweetened Cocoa

Pour cream into large mixing bowl. 

Mix the sugar and the cocoa together, then sift them into the cream a little at a time, beating with an electric beater.  Continue beating until the frosting stands up in stiff peaks and is thick enough to spread.  Ice cupcakes when cooled.

Do you have a crazy birthday month?  How do you celebrate birthdays?  Come join in the randomness with the other Java Junkies.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wednesday's Voice - Burma

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 
Colossians 1:9 NIV84

Please be in prayer for all believers. Please feel free to share any prayer requests or praise requests in the comment section of the post. I would ask that if you read this blog on a Wednesday that you take time not just to pray for those who are persecuted, but also for each other. We may not know each other, but we can take joy in praying for each other and the power that God has when we pray globally. Blessings to you all.

BURMA: Military Destroys 66 Churches and Assaults Numerous Women
Sources: Religious Liberty Commission, VOM USA, Mizzima News

To date, a total of 66 churches have been burnt down in Kachin state, the result of a conflict that reignited in June of 2011, according to a report provided by the Kachin Women's Association of Thailand. The figures in this report have been confirmed by the Kachin Baptist Convention based in Myitkyina. 

Julia Marip, spokesperson for the women's association, believes that the burning of churches by government forces is a matter related to religious persecution. Compounding the seriousness of this situation is the fact that 30 reported incidents of sexual assault, involving 64 women or girls (cases that include gang rapes), have been committed by Myanmar troops. "Half of those women raped were killed afterward," Julia Marip sadly announces. 

Ask the Lord to grant these suffering Christians in Burma greatly needed strength and protection. In the midst of these seemingly insurmountable trials and times of chaos, may they be encouraged of His unfailing love, faithfulness and ability to provide divine intervention, healing and restoration. Also pray that He will work mightily in the hearts and minds of the perpetrators, including all those in authority.
Friday, March 8, 2013

Caffeinated in the Word - Pride in Week 3

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Ah quiet time.  Where did you go?  There was a time I got up without any trouble.  Where I didn't hit the alarm button and then turn over and go back to sleep.  I have been struggling for some time on getting up.  I know what I should do and yet.....I don't do.  This was no exception this week.   I am going to make myself and you a promise that this week, I will get up and do my quiet time.  I want to get back into a routine.  To go to bed earlier and get up earlier so that I can spend some quiet time with God and get re-energized.  

This week God was really talking to me about Pride.  It hit me in last week's verses and while reading So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore.   I started this week struggling with a situation with some friends.  I won't go into particulars but this quote by Beth Moore really spoke to the situation.

"Sometimes people and situations make us feel insecure because they nick our pride, plain and simple.  all the blows of life aside and every other root yanked out of the ground, we wrestle with insecurity because we wrestle with pride"

I hadn't thought of that before.  I was so focused on myself and my feelings in the situation.  I felt the victim.  But why?  Why was I allowing this to control me and make me feel less?  Why was I questioning what kind of friend I was?  It was because my pride had been bruised.  I thought I was something to someone only to discover I wasn't.  Then who was I?  

This week's verses dealt with pride.  In Mark 9: 33-35, the disciples argue with each other as to who was the greatest.  Talk about pride and vanity.  Jesus never walked around saying He was God and therefore the best and all should bow down in awe to Him.  He was humble.  He was sacrificial.  He was loving.  He didn't hang out with the "cool" kids, He hung out with the rejects, the troublemakers, the messies.  He didn't judge them, He accepted them as they were.  He was about others, not self.  This is something that I need to remember.  I need to lay down my pride and embrace humility and sacrifice.  I need to remember that others should come first, not me.  I need to accept that I am not in control of things.   Only by doing so will I become more like Christ.

This week we are going to look at the verses through the Paraphrase method.  We are to first read the verse or passage over and over.  Think about what God is telling you through the verses we are studying.  Then put the scripture in your own words.  See how this applies to you and then pray about it.  I know I have a problem memorizing verses, but can paraphrase verses quite easily   It should be interesting where God leads us this week as we are studying James.

This week's verses:
Day 22 - James 1:2-4
Day 23 - James 1:19-20
Day 24 - James 1:22-25
Day 25 - James 2:17-18
Day 26 - James 3:13
Day 27 - James 4:10
Day 28 - James 5:19-20
This week's memory verse:

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.  Psalm 119:11 (NIV)

What did you glean from this week's verses?  What is holding you from growing in your walk?  Come link up with the other Java Junkies with your randomness this week.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wednesday's Voice - Egypt

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 
Colossians 1:9 NIV84

Please be in prayer for all believers. Please feel free to share any prayer requests or praise requests in the comment section of the post. I would ask that if you read this blog on a Wednesday that you take time not just to pray for those who are persecuted, but also for each other. We may not know each other, but we can take joy in praying for each other and the power that God has when we pray globally. Blessings to you all.

Egyptian Businessman and Associates Imprisoned  Sources: Middle East Concern
Egyptian Christian businessman Sherif Ramses manages a bookstore in Benghazi, the capital of the Cyrenaica province (in eastern Libya). On February 10th, he was arrested because the inventory of his store included Christian books which he made readily available to Arabic-speaking immigrants who either lived or worked in the city or the surrounding metropolitan area. While he has not yet been charged before a court, it has been reported that Sherif has experienced repeated physical mistreatment while in detainment. 

Other believers in Benghazi who had in some way associated with Sherif, whether through business connections or socially, have also been recently arrested. All of these associates were working in the area as language teachers or businessmen. Though formal charges have not been made against any of them to date, they are all accused of proselytizing Christianity. 

Pray that God will protect and preserve Sherif and his Christian friends during this difficult time while facing opposition and incarceration, that peace and the presence of Jesus overshadow each of these suffering believers and their families. 
Pray for those in authority, including the officials responsible for making these arrests 
May God pour out His Holy Spirit on the entire nation of Libya so many will be brought to repentance and faith in Him!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Caffeinated in the Word - Week 2 with Mark

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Week two.  How did you do?  Did you get your study done everyday?  Or did you cram it all into one session.  Confession time - that's what I did.  For some reason this week I have been unable to get out of bed early to do my personal devotion time.  As a result, this week I have been overwhelmed, depressed, in a fog, set adrift, lost, angry, frustrated,......I could go on, but I won't.  I have no one else to blame but myself.  I could have gotten myself up.  My alarm went off.  I could of rolled out of bed instead of rolling over.  This week I have been running on fumes, when I could have been running on a full tank.  

When I do this it reminds of my own hypocrisy of telling my daughter to do her homework daily.  Of putting in the time to get good grades instead of watching TV or playing video games.  I can't expect her to get it right when I myself am failing.  I need to set good guidelines, not just for her, but also for me.  I need to lead by example.  Right now the rules seems to be "do as I say, not as I do."  Doesn't really seem fair and it isn't.  I need to get my act together so that I can teach her to get hers in order.

I loved the "Picture It" method.  I loved envisioning myself in the place of one of the characters in the Bible story.  It was a great way of thinking of what it would have been like to see Jesus and hear Jesus. Even though I crammed I got a lot out of the weeks study.  Funny enough the truths that came out at me were ones I needed to hear this week.  They were ones about Jesus' healing relief and freedom (Mark 1:40-45; 5:21-45; & Mark 7:31-37); about trusting Jesus to provide (Mark 6:35-44); and about where Jesus is in the storms (Mark 4:35-41; Mark 6:45-51). Another good reminder why I should be in the Word daily.  These are all things I need to be reminded of and need to embrace.  

My favourite word also came out this week in the study - "Ephphatha".  It used to be my signature line for my blog.  It means "be opened."  I wrote a blog about it when I first blogged.  How I still long to be open.  How I long to be completely authentic in my walk.  How I long to be free from the bondage that I cling to.  God again placed this verse in my life to remind me that I am free.  Free in Him if I would but believe it.  I do believe it and will embrace it.  I already feel a fresh wind flowing around me and renewing me.  I feel lightened and embraced.  I feel open.  I long to stay open.  

This week as we read we are to try the Probe It method or the SPACEPETS method.  It is more based on action then complete reflection   I am interested to see how this goes and can't wait to write more about it next week.

This week's reading:
Day 15 - Mark 8:34-38  Jesus teaches about taking up your cross
Day 16 - Mark 9:33-34  Who is the greatest in the kingdom of God
Day 17 - Mark 10:17-31  Jesus meets the rich young man
Day 18 - Mark 11:25  We must forgive to be forgiven
Day 19 - Mark 14:3-9  A woman anoints Jesus with perfume
Day 20 - Mark 15:33-39  The crucifixion
Day 21 - Mark 16:1-20  the resurrection
This week's memory verse:
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  James 1:22 (NIV)
What did you learn from Mark this week?  Are you a crammer or do you get things done when you should?  If you are, can you teach me?   Even if you aren't doing the study, please join your randomness up with the other Java Junkies this week.   

Friday, February 22, 2013

Caffeinated in the Word - The week in Philippians.

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So, did anyone participate in the study last week?  Don't worry if you didn't.  If you would like to join in, jump in where we are.  There is never a right and wrong when getting into God's word.    For those that have no idea what I am talking about, don't worry.  I usually have that affect on people.  

For the next few weeks we are participating in the 40 Days in the Word study.   Last week, we looked at Philippians through the "Pronounce It" method of study.  I have to say, I felt redunkulous doing that method and quickly switched to the SOAP Method of studying the Bible.  Saying a single word out loud each time your read the verse did not work for me.  I am such a rebel.  I really do have to rebel against the norm.  However, when doing the SOAP method I got so much out of the verses.  

The verses that were chosen for Philippians really spoke to me this week.  They were uplifting and reaffirming.  They reminded me of what God has done for me and what He continues to do.  I have to admit that I have been struggling.  I have felt depressed.  I have felt weary.  I have felt tired.  I have felt defeated.  I have wanted to give up.  I have wanted to hide in a gopher hole and never come out.  The verses this last week reminded me that I need to bring the things that I am struggling with to God (Philippians 4:6).  They reminded me that He has a plan and purpose that will be fulfilled (Philippians 1:6/2:13).  They also reminded me that I cannot do this on my own.  That He supplies me with what I need to "press forward" (Philippians 3:12B/4:13/4:19).  These verses were like water to my soul.  They were extremely needed and reminded me that He is with me.  No matter what I feel, He is there.  Through the trials I face, He alone is guiding me through them.  He is providing me with strength and wisdom.  He is in control and I am not.  The story of my life and I am content in that knowledge.

This week the method of study recommended is the "Picture It" method.  I will attempt it and give it a chance.  It seems way more interesting than t he Pronounce It method.  I"ll know by day 2 if it's for me.  If not, it's back to old faithful SOAP method.  

This week's reading:
Day 8 - Mark 1:40 - 45 Jesus heals a leper.
Day 9 - Mark 3-1-6 Jesus heals a man with a shriveled hand
Day 10 - Mark 4: 35-41  Jesus calms the storm
Day 11 - Mark 5:21-43  Jesus raises a dead girl and heals a sick woman
Day 12 - Mark 6: 35-44  Jesus feeds the 5,000
Day 13 - Mark 6:45 - 51  Jesus walks on water
Day 14 - March 7:31-37 Jesus heals a deaf and mute man
This week's memory verse:
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.  Psalm 119:18 NIV
How has your week been doing?  What has God been telling you?  Come link in with your randomness this week with the other Java Junkies.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday's Voice - Mali

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Colossians 1:9 NIV84

Please be in prayer for all believers. Please feel free to share any prayer requests or praise requests in the comment section of the post. I would ask that if you read this blog on a Wednesday that you take time not just to pray for those who are persecuted, but also for each other. We may not know each other, but we can take joy in praying for each other and the power that God has when we pray globally. Blessings to you all.

Mali - France Intervenes with Campaign Against Rebels

France has taken decisive action by launching a military campaign against Islamist rebels that aggressively seized control of northern Mali last year. More recently, the militants have been trying to advance further into the south, posing danger to the Christians who were forced to flee to this area. With links to al-Qaeda, the rebels are also imposing a harsh version of sharia law in the territory. 

Their attempted progression into southern Mali has sparked alarm. Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced: "Obviously we are very concerned about the situation, and the development of essentially an entire terrorist region is of grave concern to everybody in the international community." French foreign minister Laurent Fabius further explains that had France not intervened, there was a risk that the advance could result in "appalling consequences." 

The Islamist takeover of northern Mali has already had a devastating impact on the Church in the region. Christians have been driven from their homes, and all church buildings in Gao and Timbuktu were destroyed. Many of the believers affected by the attacks fled to Bamako, where they have been living in refugee camps. There is added concern that if the militants were to advance further south, these refugees would be left with absolutely no safe haven in their homeland. 
Pray for all the Christian refugee families who are in need of food, shelter and medical care. May the Lord also minister His peace and comfort to these displaced believers, many of whom are anxious because they don't know whether some of their family members are alive or dead. 
Ask that His protection shield the innocent victims who may, through circumstances, be caught in the crossfire and that there will soon be a positive resolution to the conflict.
Friday, February 15, 2013

Caffeinated in the Word - It Begins.....

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A few weeks ago I wrote about the campaign my church was participating in during the 40 days of Lent.  We are participating in 40 Days in the Word.  I am excited to participate with my church.  I am praying that this will lead to a spiritual renewal in our church.  That people would be so filled and learn so much from the experience.  That they would become a home for God.  I know this is a personal prayer for me.  

To be honest, I can tell you that I am part of a Good Morning Girls group and have been for the past year.  I have grown to love these women and have watched God work in each of our lives.  I have to admit, however, that I don't always do my study.  I notice a great difference in my day when I am in the Word, compared to when I am not.  For example, earlier this week I was able to wake up early and get my study done.  By mid week I slept in and everything slid downhill from there.  I know it is because there is a difference in my attitude when I am in the word, than when I am not.  It's not that I have ceased to trust God or lean on Him.  It's not that I cease to pray or worship Him.  I feel more level.  I feel strengthened.  I feel prepared. 
 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.   All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3: 15-17 NIV84
When we are in the Word daily we are equipped.  We are prepared to face all that the world throws at us.  In fact His word is the weapon of the armour that protects us.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Epheisans 6:13-17 NIV84
I didn't grow up in a home that lived by the Word.  We had a Bible.  It was on my Grandmother's jewelry box.  It had some pretty pictures of Jesus (hippy white guy), David killing Goliath, and Adam and Eve.  I thought it had some good stories that we sometimes watched on TV (think Ten Commandments).  That is what I was taught the Bible was, a good book of stories.  It wasn't until I attended a Catholic Church when I was 8 that I began to learn more about the Bible and it's ramifications.  God then became the father figure I had had, one of vengeance,  anger and unforgiveness.  I lived with this God for years.  It wasn't until I met my husband and took the Alpha course that this God image was destroyed and I began looking at my Bible as more than just a book of stories, but actual truth and guidance.  I began a love of reading my Bible and studying it.  I participated in numerous Bible studies when I first came to faith so that I could learn more.  That love of study continues to this day.  I continue to learn and question and be lead to truths that God reveals to me.  

If you are participating along with me, there are daily verses to study and meditate upon.  The study method that they recommend is the Pronounce It Method.  I will see how that works.  I may switch over to the SOAP method, as it is the one I enjoy.  I don't think the method matters as much as the study.  

This weeks daily verses are:
Day 1:  Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in your will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philipians 1:6 (NIV)
Day 2:  Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.(Philippians 1:27a (NIV)
Day 3:  For God is working in you giving you the desire and the power to what pleases him. Philippians 2:13 (NIV)
Day 4:  ....I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Philippians 3:12 b (NIV)
Day 5:  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything thing, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
Day 6:  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
Day 7:  My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches to Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:19 (NIV)
There is also a memory every week.  This week's verse is:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.  Colossians 3:16a (NIV)
I think to prove that I am memorizing the verse, that I will vlog it.  This will keep me accountable to not just my Church but also to you.

I hope you join me on this journey.  However, if you aren't don't worry.  I still want to hear your randomness.  I learn so much from each of you every week.  

What are your first memories of the Bible?  What are you hoping to get out this or any Bible study that you participate in?  Come link up with the other Java Junkies this week.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Caffeinated Randomness - An Update and Vlog

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This has been quite the few weeks for our family.  We have gone through the stomach flu and now we have head colds.  My head has been pounding for the last 3 days.  I was sure I had a sinus infection.  However, it turns out (after spending 2 1/2 hours at the medical clinic) that it isn't a sinus infection....yet. Just the start of one.  So I have to take decongestants for 4 days and if that doesn't work, then I have a prescription for antibiotics.  It took a lot of will power to buy the Advil Cold and Sinus and not walk myself up to the pharmacist and fill out that prescription.  So here's hoping the decongestants work.  

As a result of the three day headache, I have spent very little time on the computer.  Nor have I read anything.  I have been watching mindless tv.  Did you know during the day you have the choice of soap operas, cooking shows, talk shows or American Gypsy Weddings?  I now know why I don't watch daytime tv anymore.  What happened to the actual history shows on History Network or science shows on the Discovery Channel.  What do Pawn Stars and American Choppers have to do with either of these channels?

This past year we have had an amazing aide assist us in our home and at Sam's school.  She has worked with the boys and our team of therapists in working on their speech, behaviour, and mobility issues.  This last fall she got married and just before Christmas found out she was pregnant and subsequently, gave us her notice.  We are sad to lose her, but excited for her future.  Needlessly to say the last few weeks have been exhausting as we have had no assistance in the home.    I thought I had a new aide, however, she had taken another job.  Tomorrow I have 3 interviews set up.  It's quite stressful just thinking of it.  I hope that of the three it will be hard to chose one.  

A few weeks ago, many of us were challenged to vlog without any makeup by Jennifer of Finding Heaven.  I actually did vlog.  Then I ran into technical difficulties.  It appears that my web cam filmed it at super mega data, instead of normally.  I tried to upload it to YouTube and after 18 hours was told that it wasn't able to upload it.  My husband fixed everything for me yesterday - Thank you honey!  I hate watching myself.  I've tried to watch this a few times and then turn and run for the hills.  If you decide to watch this, warning it was early in the morning.  I had no make up on.  I hadn't finished my first cup of coffee.  In fact, I got the stomach flu the next day, which could explain a whole lot.  LOL.  Watch at your own risk!

What have you been up to lately?  What are you watching during the day and will you share?  Come join in with your randomness with the other Java Junkies.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wednesday's Voice - India

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Colossians 1:9 NIV84
Please be in prayer for all believers. Please feel free to share any prayer requests or praise requests in the comment section of the post. I would ask that if you read this blog on a Wednesday that you take time not just to pray for those who are persecuted, but also for each other. We may not know each other, but we can take joy in praying for each other and the power that God has when we prayglobally. Blessings to you all.
IRAN (Update): Pastor Saeed Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison
Sources: Mohabat News, Fox News, Asia News, Reuters, The Associated Press
After being convicted on charges of threatening Iran's national security through his leadership in the establishment of Christian house churches, Pastor Saeed Abedini was sentenced to eight years in Iran's notorious Evin Prison. The anticipated trial, followed by the shocking sentence, took place in Tehran on January 21, 2013. 

Upon hearing the formal charges, the 32-year-old Iranian-American pastor told the judge he had no involvement in politics or in undermining the government. He explained that after moving to the United States in 2005, he periodically returned to his country of origin to visit his family, as well as oversee the development of an orphanage he had begun years earlier. Prior to this, about a decade ago, Saeed was the founder of a growing house church movement which consisted of more than 2,000 members. However, at that time, house churches were not considered a threat in Iran. 

"This trial apparently is focussed on 13 years ago, when Pastor Saeed converted from Islam to Christianity," said Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the American Centre for Law and Justice, who is representing Pastor Saeed's wife, Naghmeh, and their children. Although the U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with Iran, the State Department condemned the sentencing and called for Saeed's release. According to reports in Mohabat News, although the Iranian constitution recognizes religious minorities' rights, the regime prosecutes Christian converts from an Islamic background. 

In the midst of her personal suffering, Naghmeh Abedini asks for continued prayer. She courageously reminds us that even though Saeed (who always had a heart for the imprisoned) has himself been bound through this persecution, the Word of God is being released. 

May our Almighty God abundantly bless Pastor Saeed for his steadfast faith throughout the ordeal. In the name of Jesus, we ask for God's divine protection on our Christian brother during this unjust incarceration.
Pray that (in the words of Saeed) he continues to be a vessel in bringing God's Kingdom to a dark place by sharing the Gospel of peace and eternal life to the dying world. 
We also pray that justice will ultimately be served and that, through the Lord's mighty intervention, Saeed will be safely returned to his wife and two young children.
Friday, February 1, 2013

Caffeinated Randomness - I've Been Hacked

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I've been hacked.  

Usually when people say this, there is some apologies for the e-mail virus sent out to their address book. Other times its in frustration over information lost or a redesign in their website.  

My website hasn't been redesigned.  Neither has anyone received an e-mail from me that came with an attached present or some ad about increasing the size of .... (This is a clean blog you know.)

I know when other's have been hacked on Facebook and Twitter it's usually something about "My youngest daughter is the best child I have." or "bwahahahahahahahahahahaha My sister is the best person in the whole wide world. I wish i could be like her. She is soooo awesome, and cool. Yahhhhhhh I kiss the ground she walks on." (actual post)  

That's what usually happens. But nothing like that happens in my world (ok except aforementioned Facebook post by my sister.) My hacking is usually something Dutch. That's right - Dutch. Not normal Dutch things like the flag, the Queen (who is abdicating this year), the dykes, villages, engineering accomplishments, or even cute kids dressed in traditional Dutch costume. Nope. I get Dutch soccer players or as they say in Europe, Footballers.

At least my hacker has some taste and only post pictures of the top Dutch players. I mean, I wouldn't just want Dutch soccer players randomly posted to my blog, cell phone, Facebook and Pinterest accounts. I have some class you know. Only the best for me. I get pictures of Dennis Bergkamp, one of the best Dutch strickers

or Frank Rijkaard, Marco Van Basten, and Ruud Gullit (my current wallpaper).  

Love the hair
Don't try to pronounce these names.  You probably would sound like you had a cold.  

You see my hacker is a Dutch soccer fan.  He follows the national team standing.  He cheers on the team and some of the individual players during the European League.  My hacker surprises me with pictures of his all time favourite player, Bergkamp, a lot.  If you haven't figured it out my hacker is my hubby.  He's even posted a blog prior to this one.  I have to admit, it's not really a hacking.  I asked him to blog for me as I am fighting a head cold.   He loves me that much to do a guest posting.

How has your loved ones hacked you?  What is something that you and your husband like to do together?  Come join in with the random hacking this week with the other java junkies. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday's Voice - India

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Colossians 1:9 NIV84
Please be in prayer for all believers.  Please feel free to share any prayer requests or praise requests in the comment section of the post.  I would ask that if you read this blog on a Wednesday that you take time not just to pray for those who are persecuted, but also for each other.  We may not know each other, but we can take joy in praying for each other and the power that God has when we pray globally. Blessings to you all.
INDIA: Tribal Christians Brutally Beaten
Sources: Release International, Morning Star News, Times of India

As a result of two recent attacks by Hindu extremists, more than 100 Christian villagers have been forced to flee from Tamsai (in Thane District of Maharashtra State) for "rejecting their tribal identity." Apparently, the Hindu nationalists involved in the attacks were angered that these converts to Christianity no longer practiced their traditional tribal religions. Equally alarming is the fact that about 20 police officers failed to intervene, but rather passively stood by, prompting concern of anti-Christian bias being represented by the police force. 

The first brutal assault took place on December 30th when the believers did not participate in a festival celebrating a tribal deity. Many of these victims fled from their homes after being beaten with wooden clubs. More recently, a large mob of extremists physically assaulted a group of Christians who met to worship in a private home. Prior to these attacks, local Christians were receiving unfair treatment from their neighbours by being denied access to water, firewood and their monthly supply of grains at the local ration shop. 
  • Pray that God's perfect love will drive out all fear from the hearts of these suffering tribal Christians.
  • Ask Him to bring healing and comfort to them, especially after experiencing brutal attacks of persecution.
  • May those in authority uphold and properly defend the religious rights of all citizens in this area, serving as a catalyst of peace between the different faith groups.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Caffeinated Randomness - In the Word Campaign

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Lately I've been looking to the right side of me at church.  I've been looking to the left side of me.  I've been looking to the people in front of me.  If I could, I would look behind me.  I'm not looking to see what they're wearing.  I'm not looking to see if they're listening to the sermon or sleeping.  I'm not looking to see if their kids are sitting still or wiggling around.  I'm looking to see if anyone else is opening their Bible.  If anyone else is looking at the Word while our pastor is preaching.  Has anyone else brought their own Bible and are they marking it up?  Is our "overhead" dependent society (thanks Evil Twin for that one) become so complaisant that they no longer bring their Bibles to church or even open the ones offered in the pews because it's up on the big screen?  

I'm not judging, but this is something that has been bothering me.  I mean if they are not opening their Bibles at Church are they opening their Bibles at home?  It's something that I think about.  I'm not pointing fingers and not saying because I bring my Bible to Church that am I holier than those who do not.  I never grew up in the Church.  I didn't have any one in my life that read the Bible or knew the word.  I'm surprised sometimes how I always felt called to God.  He definitely had me in the palm of His hand.  So the questions are if we aren't in the word, how do we knew what we are called to do?  How are we to learn His ways?  How are we to teach the next generation about Him and His purpose for our life?  I believe the same questions I have,  have been hanging over the leadership of our church, as well.  Our church will be participating during lent in the Saddleback church study - 40 Days in the Word.

Now I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of Pastor Rick Warren.  I participated in the Purpose Driven Life a few years ago.  There was some information that was quite good, but I did question some of His teaching.  (Don't ask me what they were, I don't remember).   This is the summary of the campaign from the 40 Days in the Word website:  

Together with Rick Warren and Saddleback Church you’ve experienced 40 days of Purpose, Love and Community. Now come along with Rick on a journey of 40 Days in the Word, a journey of eternal significance as you and your church will learn how to be not only a “hearer” of the Word, but also a “doer” of God’s Word. 

40 Days in the Word is a church wide weekly study of six principles of the Word of God. Together with Rick, the Saddleback Team and great pastors from across the country you and your church will explore the authenticity, reliability, power, comfort, interpretation and doing of God’s Word. This eight week journey, led by Rick Warren, will encourage spiritual growth in every member of your church.

I am excited though about this study.  I'm excited that our congregation is being encouraged to spend the 40 days of Lent in the word of God.  Being encouraged to study the Word daily.  That is what He wants.  He wants us to focus on His Word.  In conjunction with my Church's participation with the 40 Days in the Word campaign and my participation with it, I will be focusing Caffeinated Randomness on the 40 Days in the Word starting February 15.  I might call it the Caffeinated in the Word campaign.  It has a good ring to it.  Every week I will blog about were God has been leading me in this Campaign and probably post some of the questions from the work book.  If you would like to join me, let me know.  

Now if you still want to link in during that time with good ol'wholesome randomness - bring it on.  I love reading everyone's randomness.  I love seeing God working within you.  I, many times, learn so much from you all.  You make me laugh and cry.  

Come link into the randomness this week and share God's work in your life.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Messy Monday - Zechariah

If you have been following our messy list, you would think that this weeks messy would be Noah.  However, you would be wrong.  We are going to skip over....ok, way over to the book of Luke for our next messy, Zechariah.

Now Zechariah was a priest who lived in the time of Herod.  He was married to Elizabeth.  They both lived according to God "careful in keeping to the ways of the commandments and enjoying a clear conscience before God." (Luke 1:6 Msg) (I wonder if I will ever be described this way?)  Yet, they were childless.  In fact, it states that this was Elizabeth's fault.  I always wonder in situations like this how they knew?  Did Zechariah have other children from a previous marriage or relationship?  Why blame poor Elizabeth solely?...but I digress.

According to custom Zechariah was chosen to go to the Holy of Holies in the temple and burn incense   The angel of God appeared to Him.

When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.  Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God.  And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:12-17 NIV84)

Then Zechariah sealed his own fate at being called a messy in the next line:
Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” (Luke 1:18 NIV84)
Ouch!  This is actually one of the nicer translations.  The Amplified states "By what shall I know and be sure of this?"  While the Message is pretty to the point "Do you expect me to believe this?"  For a man who was supposed to know God's word, he forgot the story of Abraham and Sarah and the blessing they received in their old age.  He actually questions God's representative and in that God Himself.  As a punishment for his unbelief he lost his ability to speak.   Everyone would see how he and Elizabeth had been blessed but he wouldn't be able to tell them the whole blessing for all of them.

As God told Abraham and Sarah (Gen 18:14) and later to Mary (Lk 1:37):  Nothing is impossible with God.  God created the world from nothing.  God gave Abraham and Sarah Isaac.  God lead Israel to Egypt to provide for them during a famine.  God lead Israel out of Egypt.  God provided Israel with sage judges, leaders and prophets.  God provided Esther with the opportunity to save her people. get my drift - NOTHING!!!!  We need to make the choice of choosing to believe as Mary did or to fight and question as Zechariah did.

I have to admit that I am like Zechariah.  I want to question and argue with God a lot.  Especially in regards to my children:
Why does my son have autism?
Why is my youngest autistic as well?
Why does my daughter have to face this alone?
These are a few of the questions I have cried out to God.  I have even tried to bargain with Him before my youngest was diagnosed.

Once the infant was born, everybody was going to name him Zechariah, after his dad.  Elizabeth said no that his name was John (Luke 1:61).  They then went to Zechariah.
Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God. (Luke1: 62-64 NIV 84).
Zechariah had become truly obedient and submitted to God.  He had come to believe that nothing was impossible.   He had the bouncy, puking, screaming, cute proof before him.  He was set free from the bindings for his obedience.  We too will be set free when we come to trust and obey God.  We don't need to receive a huge blessing to see this.  We can see it in the small blessings we receive   When I was angry at God about my circumstances it was because I focused too much at the people around me.  It seemed that many of my friends and family were having "normal" children.  I questioned God as to why I was the statistic and not the "norm."  I have come to realize that God just wanted me to focus on His blessings.  All of them - big and small.  I probably get more excited than other parents when my sons learn something, like putting their boots on or brushing their teeth.  I have had to learn to trust God completely and to be content in the joy He does bring.  For He will bring you blessings.  

When we obey and submit to God, we too are fully blessed.  It may not be in large things.  It may be in the small things.  Blessings you might ignore if you are waiting for something huge to happen.  

What is God calling you to do?
What are you questioning God about?
How have you been released and blessed lately?
Friday, January 18, 2013

Caffeinated Randomness - They're Back.....

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Two weeks ago I awoke to great news.  We had been anticipating the worse.  We had been waiting since the fall for some decision to be made.  Plans were canceled.  Schedules changed.  We survived Saturday nights watching movies and old reruns on Netflix.  

But all that changed.  Saturday nights are going to back to normal soon.  We'll be able to watch Coaches Corner and see the worst suits ever.  We'll be able to hear about the blue line and goalie crease.  We'll hear words like Battle of Alberta, face off and Lord Stanley.

You guessed it for this Canadian girl - HOCKEY IS BACK!!  I know there are arguments about why support the game of overpaid children having a tantrum or rich corporate greedy owners.   I really don't care about it.  I just want to see the boys playing.  I've grown up in a hockey household and have a hockey husband.  It has been weird not to hear hockey noises in the background.  The cheers when your team is doing well and the angst when they are losing.  The stress of when there is 20 seconds left, the goalie pulled and the game is tied.  

It's been very frustrating listening to my football friends talk about their teams and their favourite players and I've been silent.  I haven't got to cheer on the boys.  I haven't got to tease my Pastor when his team is defeated by my team.  I haven't got to celebrate cheering for our team while living in enemy territory.  

That has all changed.  The Boys are BACK!!!!

Is there something you have been waiting for?  What is your favourite sport and team?  Come join the other Java Junkies in the randomness today.

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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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