Amazing Love

#Jesus, #inspire, love, family, The statement took me by surprise. “Deep love is always accompanied by deep suffering,” our pastor said. My thoughts of love were of joy not suffering, but in that moment I could see how true these words were.

I have wept with friends over a serious illness of a loved one. I have sat with friends as they poured out the anguish in their hearts over situations with spouses, children or grandchildren.

Although I can empathize with my friends, I don’t know and love these people on the deep level they do, so will not experience the same pain.

Countless prayers are requested by those who are suffering. The majority of these revolve around someone deeply loved.

I think of my husband, my children (and their spouses, who are children of my heart) and my grandchildren. I love them deeply and would do anything in my power to keep them from harm. I suffer along with them when they are hurting. If one of them was in grave danger and the only way to save him or her was to sacrifice my life, I wouldn’t hesitate. That is how deep my love for my family is.

This helps me understand why Jesus would die for me. The sinless Son of God took on the sins of mankind because of his deep love for you and for me. Jesus suffered an agonizing death in order to save us.

I think back to the pastor’s words, “Deep love is accompanied by deep suffering.” If there is anyone who fully understands this, it is Jesus.

As we approach Easter and focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus I want to stop and think about the magnitude of this gift I didn’t deserve. He saved me before I even knew I was in danger. I praise his name for this amazing love.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” (1 John 3:16 NIV)

Great Love

#Inspiration, #Jesus, #Love, familyMore than ten years ago both of our children moved almost one thousand kilometers away.

We loved our family and missed the closeness we’d once enjoyed. My husband and I wanted to be able to spend more time with them and be active in their lives.

After much prayer, we decided to uproot the life we knew and start again, closer to our loved ones. The Lord provided a job for my husband in our chosen city. We resigned from our jobs and sold our home.

I was excited to know we ‘d soon live only twenty minutes from our family.

I hadn’t considered the difficulty of leaving friends and our church family. The goodbyes were tearful. Knowing we were doing the right thing didn’t make it any easier. I grieved what I would be leaving behind.

The transition had some challenges. The result, however, was more than worth it. We have been restored to a close, loving relationship with our family and are blessed to play an active role in their lives. The sacrifice we made out of love has rewarded us more than we could have imagined.

Our small move was insignificant when I think of the move Jesus made for you and for me. The love I have for my family is nothing compared to the love He has for us.

He knew we were becoming distant and longed for a closer relationship. The Lord knew there was only one course of action to be taken to remedy this situation.

He left his home in heaven and came to live on earth. He sacrificed not only comfort, but his very life in order to restore us to a relationship with God.

What does Jesus require for this love I don’t deserve? He wants us to spend time together. The more I do this, the deeper our relationship becomes. It is amazing to think the Son of God not only offers me forgiveness, comfort and guidance but wants to us have a close personal relationship.  Now that is love worth celebrating.

Remembrance Day

gratitude, honour, heroesToday’s story in honour of Remembrance Day appeared in my book Dragonflies, Snowdrifts and Spice Cake.

November 11 is known as Remembrance Day in Canada. In other countries, it is called Armistice Day or Poppy Day. This date marks the anniversary of the official end of World War 1, November 11, 1918. As a holiday the day commemorates the sacrifices made in armed conflicts. Countless numbers have given their lives. Many more have suffered serious injuries and great emotional scars.

The sacrifice that so many have paid to ensure a better life for those who followed is overwhelming. That’s why, on this day and for weeks before, people wear artificial poppies as a symbol of remembrance. There’s also a period of silence at the eleventh hour to remember these sacrifices. Many areas have commemoration ceremonies and military parades.

Those who made the sacrifices are remembered and appreciated. Among those I honour are my father and father-in-law, who both fought in World War 11.

While I’m remembering those sacrifices, I need to remember the greatest sacrifice of all. Jesus gave his life so that I may have the opportunity to spend eternity with him. He paid the penalty for my sins so that I may be forgiven. He knew what the outcome would be but carried it through because of his great love. This is something I didn’t deserve. This gift is something to thank him for each and every day.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1 John 3:16 NIV)

Amazing Love

#Good Friday, #Jesus, love,Have you ever loved someone so much you would risk injury to protect them? Would you go as far as giving up your life to save another?

Even before they were born I knew I would do this for my children. Now, the same holds true for my grandchildren.

But, would I freely give my life for anyone other than immediate family? Probably not.

Yet, this is just the kind of amazing love Jesus had for you and for me. He wasn’t forced but freely gave his life. I know this because of his words in the Bible found in chapter ten of the book of John.

Jesus knew he would be facing excruciating pain.  He was beaten, mocked and tortured. Why would he put himself through this?  It was to become the sacrifice for our sins.

I used to think that since I was basically a good person, I couldn’t be a sinner.  How wrong I was. I hadn’t considered the little white lies, judgments of others or a myriad of other so called small things.  Since it is not possible for me to live a ‘perfect’ life, I am guilty of sin and deserve to be punished.

The simple reason Jesus suffered and died is because he loves you and wants you to spend eternity in Heaven with Him. In response to this sacrifice, don’t think of Good Friday as just another day but consider how you will respond to His amazing love.

He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.  (Isaiah 53:5 NIV)

Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. (1 Peter 3:18 NLT)

A Lamb named Tandy

#Jesus, #inspiration, #EasterThe email said, “I’m sending you a picture of one of the lambs born on our farm this spring.” A friend from childhood sent this to me. She then said that they had named the lamb Tandy.

I’ve never had an animal named after me before and was honoured to have this adorable little creature share my name.

Spring brings new life and thoughts of new beginnings. Easter symbolizes that in my life making it a perfect time to reflect on my relationship to a lamb.

The Bible has many references to Jesus being a shepherd and we his sheep. Like sheep, we don’t seem to know what is best for us. Left on our own, we tend to wander and wind up lost and in danger.

As our shepherd, Jesus leads us with love and compassion. He knows the path we are to take and guides us there safely. Our job is to listen and follow Him.

A shepherd risks his life for the safety of his flock. Jesus did much more than this. He willingly gave his life for us. There can be no greater expression of love.

At Easter, we reflect upon this sacrifice. The picture of a lamb named Tandy is a visual reminder of how helpless I would be without Jesus. I am eternally grateful to be a member of His flock.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:7 NIV
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. John 10:11 NIV

Endless Knot

#God, #Jesus, Good Friday, sacrificeI wasn’t sure exactly what it was in the box but knew it was unique and beautiful. The sculpture was a large circle with thick glass strands intertwining.

A card inside told me this was an endless knot, representing a never ending connection. It was also a symbol of eternity, harmony and endless love.

This lovely expression of endless love was a gift from family members. I have heard many stories from people who don’t have good relationships with their family. The object I held in my hands represented the blessing of the harmony that exists with my children and grandchildren.

Our lives are intertwined; each being made stronger by the connection with the others. This bond has been passed down through the generations.

As we draw near to Good Friday, the endless love of God is in the forefront of my mind. He showed his love by sending his only Son, Jesus, to atone for our sins and give us eternal life. This act of great sacrifice reaches to all generations, binding us together.

His love has no beginning and no end. He loved us before we knew him and paid the greatest sacrifice of all that our lives may be intertwined with his. For this, I am eternally grateful.

The Lord is good. His mercy endures forever. His faithfulness endures throughout every generation. (Psalm 100:5 NLT)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)

Remembering the Sacrifice

gratitude, honour, heroesNovember 11 is known as Remembrance Day in Canada. This date marks the anniversary of the official end of World War 1in 1918. The day is set aside to honour the brave men and women who serve in the military. Ceremonies are held to commemorate the sacrifices made in armed conflict.

Wearing a poppy and observing two minutes of silence on the eleventh hour of the eleventh month is not enough. They deserve much more than one minute or one day of our thanks. Countless numbers have given their lives and many more have suffered serious injuries and great emotional scars.

These men and women know the risks when they sign up. Out of love for their country and for mankind, they put their lives on the line for us.

Many of us would risk our lives for a family member. Few would do this for people they do not know. Others, like the members of the military, take this on to give us the freedoms that we so often take for granted.
They run into the dangerous situations that the rest of us are fleeing from.

We owe them a debt greater than we can repay. Let us never take our freedom for granted.

My deepest appreciation goes to these true heroes.

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” Arthur Ash

Bird Fight

Jesus, inspiration, loving, sacrificeWe have been thoroughly entertained by the antics of a few hummingbirds.

Our neighbours have a hummingbird feeder hung on their deck. Lately these tiny birds have been putting on quite a show as they approach it to feed.

There are several spots for the birds to drink nectar from. Despite this, they don’t appear to share very well.

One bird in particular will land but not feed. When others approach it will chase them away. There may be another two or three of these birds flying in circles around the feeder but the one will not let them near enough to land. There is a lot of energy being expended and at what gain?

As unusual as it is to see two feeding at the same time, the attitude of this dominant bird caused me to do some deeper thinking.

Have there been times when I have acted like this bird, not wanting to share with others? Do I hoard what should be freely available because I want to keep it for myself? Am I jealous, not able to see someone else have what I may want later?

These are disturbing thoughts but ones I need to examine. I don’t want to be using my energy fighting to hold onto things I need to be generous with.

Jesus gave his very life for me. He set the example to sacrifice for others. One of the greatest commandments is to love your neighbour as yourself. If I follow this teaching there will be no worry that my attitude won’t be selfish but instead will be loving and giving.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30,31 NIV)

To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. (Proverbs 21:3 NIV)

Remembrance Day

Jesus, inspiration, sacrificeToday’s story in honour of Remembrance Day appeared in my book Dragonflies, Snowdrifts and Spice Cake.

November 11 is known as Remembrance Day in Canada. In other countries it is called Armistice Day or Poppy Day. This date marks the anniversary of the official end of World War 1, November 11, 1918. As a holiday the day commemorates the sacrifices made in armed conflicts. Countless numbers have given their lives. Many more have suffered serious injuries and great emotional scars.

The sacrifice that so many have paid to ensure a better life for those who followed is overwhelming. That’s why, on this day and for weeks before, people wears artificial poppies as a symbol of remembrance. There’s also a period of silence at the eleventh hour to remember these sacrifices. Many areas have commemoration ceremonies and military parades.

Those who made the sacrifices are remembered and appreciated. Among those I honour are my father and father-in-law, who both fought in World War 11.

While I’m remembering those sacrifices, I need to remember the greatest sacrifice of all. Jesus gave his life so that I may have the opportunity to spend eternity with him. He paid the penalty for my sins so that I may be forgiven. He knew what the outcome would be but carried it through because of his great love. This is something I didn’t deserve. This gift is something to thank him for each and every day.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1 John 3:16 NIV)

Pocket Full of Rocks

God, Jesus, strength, love, inspirationMy husband and I were out for a walk on a cool morning in early fall. We found a path we’d never taken before and soon were making our way along a rocky lake shore.

The variety of colours, sizes and shapes of the rocks fascinated me. Soon I was picking them up to admire. Initially I had no intention of keeping any. I would just look at them and then put them down and carry on.

Something about these rocks called to me and before long some of them found their way into my jacket pocket. When I ran out of room a few were added to my husband’s pocket! Although these rocks weighed me down, I felt the need to carry them.

Why did these rocks hold such value that I would fill my pocket and struggle to carry the weight of them?

I remembered that in the Bible, God is called rock of my salvation, my rock and my fortress, rock of my strength, rock of refuge. As I thought of the many references to God as a rock, it also came to mind that we are all created in the image of God.

These rocks represented God’s people. We come in all sizes, shapes and colours. No two are completely identical. Although we appear different, we are all created in the image of God, our rock.

Jesus carried a heavy burden when he died so that we may have life abundant. Perhaps this pocket full of rocks was meant to be a reminder of the strength and love shown to mankind. Suddenly my pocket full of rocks doesn’t seem so heavy.

So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27 NLT)

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. (Psalm 18:2 NLT)