Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Found God in Proof...

Over Christmas break, our family watched all three of The Santa Clause movies. My favorite part is in the first one where Bernard, the elf, explains to Tim Allen's character why children can tell he's Santa when he doesn't even believe it himself. Bernard says,

"Seeing ISN'T believing...


Isn't that true about faith? Faith is believing in something you cannot see, hear, or touch - yet believing all the same. And once you believe - your eyes are opened to all the proof that you were looking for in the first place. Watch this video to see what I mean:

Open your heart. Then open your eyes.
You will "see" what you've been looking for this whole time.

Jesus summed it all up when he cried out, "Whoever believes in me, believes not just in me but in the One who sent me. Whoever looks at me is looking, in fact, at the One who sent me. I am Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in me won't have to stay any longer in the dark.
John 12:44-46 (The Message)

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Karaoke Tuesday: All I Can Say by David Crowder

At the end of December, I attended another funeral for an infant and helped, with my Sunday School class, to serve a funeral meal for the family and friends. The family discovered on December 23, just three weeks before their due date, that their son had died in-utero. And sadly, on Christmas Day, the Mom went into labor, and Rowan silently entered the world.

Too many.... too many baby funerals around my life. I don't know why... I don't know if it's all the processed foods that have mutated our genes and chromosomes... Or if we're breathing poison air... Or... I don't even know... All I do know is that I've either attended or known about at least 6 infant funerals in the last three years.... Samuel, Francis, Julia, Nathaniel, Kayla, Rowan. And aside from that, I have too many friends who have struggled to even get pregnant - only too find that some glitch or defect in someone's body prohibits this... and their attempts either result in miscarriage or are thwarted completely. We even dealt with an early-term miscarriage between the birth of our sons, Jack and Luke (I figure that child was likely our girl...!). :)
These [at best] disappointments and [at worse] jagged holes of grief can leave a person feeling spent and alone. I found another wonderful song by David Crowder that seems to address this. Of course, I heard it during Worship when our friend, Micah, sang it during Communion time (You rock, Micah!) :)

LYRICS - "All I Can Say"

When we face tragedy or grief or grave disappointments, it so easy to feel alone and abandoned. But God never abandons us. No matter how heavy our "cross" - when we feel like we cannot go another step, God is there - walking with us, talking our burdens, crying with us, sharing His strength. Sometimes, we are too wrapped up in our own issues to even realize that God is with us. Sometimes, we cannot see Him through our tears. Regardless, He IS with us - every aching step... every joyful leap. The peaks and the valleys, He is with us. God did not promise that a Christian's life would be "easy," but He did promise to always be with us. We are not alone. It may be too much for "you" to handle...but it's never too much for God.

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (The Message)
You are not alone.
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Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Found God on my Windshield...

I'm a member of several online groups, and in most of them, there is a place for a "motto" or "tagline," My little bit of wisdom has always been (are you ready for this... it's deep...!):

On the road of life,
sometimes you're the windshield..... and sometimes you're the bug!
I consider it a good day when I'm the "windshield" - brazenly making my way through the day, eliminating and squashing the bugs and troubles that come my way.

On a "bad" day... I'm the BUG... defeated and squished as the big cars of life come rolling along... smashing the life right out of me.

My cyberfriend, Sharlotte, is in one of these groups with me (Scrapbooking with Faith) so she has seen my motto. I was thrilled to read an alternate idea on her God Blog - that perhaps in this bug-and-windshield scenario, there is room for one more element... the windshield wiper.... And the windshield wiper is God.

Is your interest piqued? Then follow this link to read Sharlotte's thoughts:

And while you're there, please leave her a comment and tell her that "Mags sent you!"

Thanks Sharlotte... I'll never look at my wipers in the same way again!

:) Mags
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Friday, January 23, 2009

"A Person's a Person... No Matter How Small!!"

Yesterday was the 36th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade which legalized abortion in America. Admittedly, in high school and college, I was always one to spout off about "choice" and "mother's rights" and other such nonsense. I honestly had NO idea the process involved or any sense of science that proved to me just how quickly a mass of cells turns into a miniature human. I can only say that my opinion of abortion changed the moment I found out I was pregnant in 2000, and over the years, I've become more and more convicted as I've learned more about abortion practices. I often wish that schools could teach the science of it - to explain to people just what it involves. Teenagers are often self-centered, yes, but not usually deliberately cruel; if they understood just how much a baby might feel during the "procedure" or how developed even an 8-week fetus actually is, perhaps they would no longer find termination a suitable option.

My friend, Jackie, has always been a passionate supporter of the rights of unborn babies. In fact, my favorite "How did you meet your husband story" is that of hers and her husband, Andy. In college, Andy and his friend decided that the best way to meet "good, Christian women" was to attend the Pro-Life Rallys.... and lo and behold, that's where he met Jackie, his future wife and mother to his children! :)

Jackie wrote a wonderful note on Facebook yesterday - so instead of trying to be as well-spoken, I received permission just to post her note in it's entirety here. I'm also including a thoughtful comment from Kathy, another lady from our church:

Why It Matters So Much - by Jackie C.

Today I am very sad. I have been reading some things online where women are celebrating the 36th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade today. They are celebrating because their daughters will continue to have the right to abortion. I wonder if they really understand what that means.

My heart aches as I read this because I have held a baby in my hands that was just 19 weeks, 4 days old (gestational age) and he is considered a non-person by so many today. The baby was our son, Nathaniel. Even though he was silent at birth and he never took a breath outside of my womb, he was so much a person. All his fingers, all his toes, eyes, ears, lips, even his little male parts were complete and just needed time to grow. There was nothing about him that was a non-person. I have always been against abortion because I have always believed that life begins at conception. Nathaniel's early death just confirmed what I already knew. As I remember holding him, it is unimaginable to think that we, as Americans, are fine with a woman deciding willingly to end the life of a baby his same age.

Our next pregnancy following Nathaniel's death was an emotionally difficult one. At our first appointment, the doctor asked me how I was feeling. I told him that I was trying not to feel until I heard a heartbeat. He understood and took me right to the ultrasound machine to be sure we could not only hear a heartbeat, but see one as well. I had been praying to God for strength to get through whatever this pregnancy would hold for us. When I lay on the table, I was incredibly nervous, as was Andy. Then the ultrasound tech got a heartbeat, but not just a heartbeat - we saw something amazing. That little child, who we now know as Abby, waved her tiny little hand at us. We couldn't believe it. The ultrasound tech said, "Did you see that? The baby waved. That just doesn't happen at this age." She was 10 weeks, 3 days (gestational age). I believe that was God, giving me reassurance that all was good. I had seen the statistics many times and it was hard to imagine that so many would choose to abort a baby this same age. Once again, I was reminded that I need to continue to stand up for these unborn babies because "A person's a person no matter how small!"

I beg you to step out of your comfort zone and get educated about what abortion really is, if you haven't already. Abortion is a choice, but not a glamorous one, nor one without consequence. It is undeniably the taking of a human life. Many women have deep struggles after having an abortion. Can we as Americans in good conscience, continue to just allow abortion in our country? When will we say "enough" and truly live by "with liberty and justice for ALL?" I challenge you to be uncomfortable and stand up for what is right. You don't have to picket to make a difference. Pray and act. Start talking to others about what is going on and what the truth is. Support your local Crisis Pregnancy Center. Let our lawmakers know your position.

Follow-Up Comment by Kathy M.:
The moment we conceive, God imprints us as mothers---of children or angels. Never again do we have the luxury of thinking only of ourselves. That is the saddest secret of abortion, the emotional torment that a ghost lives with you for life. Never are we free of the responsibility for that precious soul. Our reassurance that God forgives, that God cradles those angels some give Him prematurely is a blessing we can rejoice in. Jackie-only experience can deliver a message so powerful. Thank you for sharing yours and using if for Him.

I echo Jackie's challenge that you step away from the "easy" and "comfortable" and stand-up for the babies who don't yet have a voice. It's not a "choice," it's a child.

Image (c) and found HERE along with many others.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Found God in Alexander & His Terrible Day...

Note: I actually completed this entry late last night... but in fitting with my lousy day, my connection to the Internet failed on the desktop computer and I could not post it...... of course. *sigh*

Today I am defeated.

My head hurts.

My eyeballs hurt (who even knows why??).

I've got snot.

My laptop has just been reformated for the SECOND TIME in 7 days, and right at this very moment, a remote Dell technician is reinstalling programs on it.

When he's done, I'll still have at least a week's worth to time required by me to reinstall all of my own programs.

I'd lay my head down and cry... but I've done that already... and it just led to more snot.

One of my very favorite childhood books was Judith Viorst's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Here is just the first page:

I went to sleep with gum in my mouth, and now there's gum in my hair, and when I got out of bed this morning, I tripped on the skateboard, and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running, and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Page, after page, it continues...

On the way downstairs the elevator door closed on my foot and while we were waiting for my mom to go get the car, Anthony made me fall where it was muddy and then when I started crying because of the mud, Nick said I was a "crybaby" and while I was punching Nick for saying "crybaby," my mom came back with the car and scolded me for being muddy AND fighting.
No one even answered.

Alexander continues chronicling his awful day - wishing all the time that he could just ESCAPE to Australia because surely in a place that far away, things must be better... At the end of the book, when his mother is tucking him into bed - and things are still going terribly for him, his mother tells him that "some days are like that........even in Australia."

No matter where we live, some days just stink. Some days leave us feeling like the BUG squashed on a windshield - defeated and spent. It is those days when prayers are most needed. Praying (shrieking?), "GOD...HELP ME!" doesn't mean that God is going to swoop in and fix things up for you all nice and neat (but, OH, how I wish he would!). It does mean that God will lend His strength to you so you can keep your priorities in order and deal with whatever obstacles are in your way. I know that today, my patience is short and my temper is huge because I'm feeling sick AND frustrated. I know that this 4-and-a-half-hour online/phone call with Dell is just the first of many hours of getting my laptop back the way I want it to be. It stinks, for sure. But it's not God's fault. And it's not the end of the world. Other people have bigger things to deal with than a little bit of snot and a busted computer, and I'm fortunate to just have those two things on my plate right now.

So I guess my big word for today is "perspective." Some days we just need to crawl in bed, pull the covers up over our heads, and wait until morning. For me, today is one of those days... But I have hope that my tomorrow will be better - and either way, I know that with God, all things are possible, and He will be my source of strength.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Karaoke Tuesday: Our Love Is Loud by David Crowder

This is such a fun song! One of the things I just love about the 9:30 Contemporary Worship at our church is the grungy, "garage-band" feel of it. We always sit in the 3rd or 4th row - right by the large speakers. On many of the songs, it can get so loud that I just feel like I'm "IN" the music; THIS is one of those songs... and the title makes the "loudness" of the music all the more fun...
LYRICS - "Our Love Is Loud

This song got me to thinking: It is no doubt that Christians love the Lord, but do we "LIVE" the Lord in our everyday lives? What if our everyday faith... our everyday prayers...our everyday joys... our everyday LOVE were LIVED OUT LOUD for people to witness? How could that impact someone else in our lives if we were more open about our faith? Just as we all bopped and clapped and danced to this song in Worship, couldn't we demonstrate our faith and love to others by our words and deeds in our everyday, walking-around life?

Are you living OUT LOUD? Are you standing up for your Faith? Are you standing up for God? For Jesus?
Then he [Jesus] said, "Go into the world.
Go everywhere and announce the Message of God's good news to one and all.
Mark 16:15

You can hear David Crowder's song HERE on LastFM! Crank up your volume and just enjoy...! :)

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Found God In A Recipe...

Saw this great "recipe" for happiness in my Scrapbooking with Faith online group, and thought I'd share it with you all:


1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day.
And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
Talk to God about what is going on in your life.
Buy a lock if you have to.

3. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement,
'My purpose is to __________ today. I am thankful for______________'

4. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants,
and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.

5. Drink green tea and plenty of water.
Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

6. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

7. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the
past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control.
Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.

8. Eat breakfast like a king or queen,
lunch like a prince or princess,
and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

9. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

10. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

11. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

12. You are not so important that you have
to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

13. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

14. Don't compare your life to others.
You have no idea what their journey is all about.

15. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

16. Frame every so-called disaster with these words:
'In five years, will this matter?'

17. Forgive everyone for everything.

18. What other people think of you is none of your business.

19. GOD heals everything - but you have to ask and believe.

20. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

21. Your job won't take care of you when you are in need.
Your friends will. Stay in touch!!!

22. Envy is a waste of time.
You already have all you need.

23. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements:
I am thankful for __________.
Today I accomplished _________.

24. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

25. When you are feeling down, start listing your many blessings.
You'll be smiling before you know it.

WOW... what if we tried this? Or even 5 or 10 of them? How much better would your life be if you let go of the trash in your life and embraced the wonderful things? How much healthier would your body feel if you followed the food suggestions? How much healthier would your heart feel if you followed the faith invitations? This year, I invite you to get your well-being in order... to straighten up your mind, body, and faith so that you achieve contentedness with your life and faith. Try out the suggestions above. Start reading your Bible. Find the good in your life and hang on for all it's worth! Remember...

Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God;
only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.
(Proverbs 1:1 - The Msg)
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Friday, January 2, 2009

I'm Finding God in 2009...!

Welcome to 2009!! I hope your Christmas and New Years were memorable and fun. I also pray that in 2009, God keeps you and your family healthy, happy, and safe.

A few months ago, I wrote that I was taking charge of my Bible studies - by starting to read the entire Bible from start to finish. Those of you who have tried this before probably just sat back and chuckled. Yeah... it didn't go so well. I'm on Exodus. But apparently lots of other people just within our church must have tried this technique out too (and failed) because God has impressed upon the leadership in our church that we should all be reading His Word (completely), and the church leaders have taken that call to action:

My church purchased the Daily NIV Bible for EVERY MEMBER (2500+) of the congregation as well as Bibles for each of the school age children! This particular edition provides a section of the Old Testament, a section of the New Testament, as well as a Psalm or Proverb each day. The kids' Bibles provide a section of the Old Testament and a specific verse from the New Testament. It breaks down to just 2-and-a-half pages per day if you stay on track! And, by the end of the year, the adults will have read the entire Bible while the kids will have read every major story!

In last Sunday's adult Bible fellowship class, our leader discussed "manuals" and how every major purchase, toy, gadget, appliance, electronical, etc. comes with an instruction manual. Actually READING the manual and following the directions for set-up, usually makes the usage of whatever gadget much easier. The same is true for life. God made an instruction manual for His creations!! Within the Bible, you can get answers to life's most pressing questions, quick FAQ's for a smoother life, or troubleshoot problems that may arise! Yet most of us (myself included!) just open the Bible when we have to look up a specific verse or deal with a specific problem. It will work so much better for us if we actually know the context in which each of those verses are given, because how can we know God's Will if we don't know what the Bible even says??

New Year's Resolutions are so easily broken, forgotten, or discarded. So instead of calling it a resolution, make this a GOAL of yours for 2009. Join me in reading the entire Bible this year. Apply what you learn, and let God work through you. If you want to join me in the 2009 Bible Challenge, just visit our church's website: They have .pdf's of the portions we have to read each day so you can follow along with your own Bible! Happy reading!!

:) Mags
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