30 September 2012

My Journey to Heaven by M. Besteman

I don't spend great amounts of time thinking about the specifics of heaven.  I know that I know that I cannot begin to imagine it.  When I was given the opportunity to read Marvin Besteman's story, I couldn't resist.  Besteman was in the hospital after surgery to remove a pancreatic tumor.  He was in horrific pain.  He wanted nothing more than to escape the misery for awhile.

The back cover promises:
In My Journey to Heaven What I Saw and How It Changed My Life, Marv Besteman shares the true story of his experience of heaven with astounding detail. You'll meet the angels who accompanied him to the gate, overhear his conversation with St. Peter, and feel the joy as he recognizes friends and family members who touched his life.
I'm not sure what I was expecting, I suppose I thought I would learn something extraordinary.  Nothing in Besteman's words surprised me or seemed to share anything new.  There wasn't anything in his story that convinced me that he had really experienced what he says he experienced, and I am left feeling bad for all my doubting.  Was he dreaming, imagining, drawing on what he had seen and heard in his years of life?

There is much talk of Peter who he met at the gate to heaven; a gate made of dark wood, not pearls; dressed like the fisherman we read of in the gospel, with shaggy hair, not flowing robes and white tresses.  Peter had always been Besteman's favorite Bible character and I myself wouldn't mind the opportunity to stand in his presence and chat over what life with Jesus felt like from his perspective.  I truly wish I could grab hold of what this story shares and accept it as some sort of truth, not just Besteman's personal experience.

Somehow I think God just wants me to wait and see for myself, whenever that time comes.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

The opinions I have expressed are my own.


Work of His hand

 Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation—
every sort of seed-bearing plant, 
and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. 
These seeds will then produce 
the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” 
And that is what happened. 
The land produced vegetation—
all sorts of seed-bearing plants, 
and trees with seed-bearing fruit. 
Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. 
And God saw that it was good. 
And evening passed and morning came, 
marking the third day.

Joining Deidra and the Sunday choir


28 September 2012

Chasing Silhouettes by Emily Wierenga - a review

I believe there are reasons
why God allows us to move in darkness
seasons we feel lost and alone
we're not sure we can find Him
but He always knows where we are.

When in His strength (knowing or unknowing)
we have pressed on and walked through
to clear air on the other side of trouble
we become His shining lights
scattering the darkness for others.

Emily Wierenga has taken such a walk
and now stands as a wide, brilliant beacon
illuminating a path toward wholeness
healing and the loving arms of God.

In Chasing Silhouettes Emily shares her own story and the stories of others; both those with eating disorders and the families and friends who have watched, worried, wept, prayed and been torn as well.

Your heart will hurt as you read these pages, but it will also soar with hope in a God of restoration.

Please read this book.  Please give copies to others.  And visit Emily at her blog where you can leave her some words of encouragement and thanks.


26 September 2012

Now I know...

The last assignment for Compassion Blog month is to write from the perspective of a sponsored child:

Alone, frightened
cold climbed in deep
and would not let me go.
The blankets you gave
like arms wrapped close
whispering Jesus.

I had never heard that name
but now I know
it means warm.

Alone, frightened
hunger dug in deep
and would not let me go.
The food you sent
poured into all that empty space
whispering Jesus.

I had never heard that name
but now I know
it means full.

You didn't tell me.
You showed me.
Opening your own life
to touch mine.

And now I know
Jesus means love.

As of last Friday, we were at 2,006 sponsorships. We have one week to go! Let's give 1,102 more children the gift of being sponsored this month. 

To find out the most recent sponsorship number for every day this week, follow Compassion on Twitter

Feeling the God-Bumps with Jennifer

and walking with the broken but redeemed with Emily


A way in...

Because He first asked me
I can ask, seek and knock
praying every day
to climb inside
there abide

WordCandy Wednesday

Joining L.L. Barkat for something sweet.


23 September 2012

Upon a rock...

He lifted me out of the ditch,
    pulled me from deep mud.
He stood me up on a solid rock
    to make sure I wouldn’t slip

Joining in Deidra's Sunday chorus of wonder

22 September 2012

Closer still

In my quiet time, as I waited at His feet, I asked my Lord what He would have me do.  I wasn't asking for Rick and I as a couple.  I wasn't asking for our church fellowship.  I wasn't asking for the Body united.  It was a simple yet not so simple what do You want of me?

Here is His reply:

Know Me.  Come as close as you think you can then step closer still.

If you want to walk as I walked in the world you must remain tied to Me, wrapped in Me.  Any space between us will be filled by other voices - the voice of the enemy; the voice of the world; or the voice of your own mind.  The chattering will be loud enough to muffle My words.  You will not hear Me correctly.  You may not hear Me at all.

This is why I say come closer.  Closer still.

Only then can you dream My dreams.

Seeking the stillness with Sandy

 Abiding in Him with Cheryl


21 September 2012

Unstoppable change

The summer days
children of a season abbreviated here
fade like the leaves
drying to dust
frost begins to coat the mornings
and even still I hold on
till nothing is left but the holding

There will be no more tomatoes
reaching ripe perfection on the vine
they wait instead for the blush of red
in dark, closed boxes
safe from the cold, true
but losing the flavor that makes them shine

The bright quilt of hot nights
shall be washed and stored
the bed now dressed in down duvet
soon lace coverings on windows
will be replaced with something more substantial

as the brilliant display of trees fallen glory
gives way to wide, wide fields of white.

Five Minute Friday
Joining Lisa-Jo today writing wide


19 September 2012

It's the journey...

No, I would not choose to land
for I hunger instead
to be lost in the journey

WordCandy Wednesday
Joining L.L. Barkat for a taste of something sweet today


Choosing to love...

I didn't want to pick a child just because the picture called to me.  When God made it clear to us that it was time to sponsor a child through Compassion we sat at the computer and pulled up the list of children who had been waiting the longest time.

This little one in Uganda, a country that had already claimed our hearts when we were there in 2007 waited on and on for someone to choose him.  We realized it likely had nothing to do with where he lived or what he looked like or his age but it was his name that hindered.  Surely in North America people had many emotions stirred up when thinking of the name Arafat.

"How can we hold that against him?" I asked my husband, and our decision was made.  Never a regret, never a look back.  We opened our wallets and our hearts.

With apologies for the blurry photo that Rick snapped in poor light I encourage you to dive into Compassion's Pinterest Contest.  As part of Compassion's blog month, I encourage you to check into this and get involved even if you've never pinned before.

Halfway into Blog Month and 1,515 children in poverty have been sponsored.  Just 1,593 more to go!

Pray.  Blog. Sponsor. Help.


18 September 2012

Confessions of a reformed chameleon

Image found at 
In my younger years I did not know who I was. I seemed to have no identity of my own. Convinced that I was in some way defective I sought the approval of others.  If someone, anyone, thought I was okay then maybe I was good enough after all.

For the sake of fitting in I could change my words and actions so fast that a chameleon would swoon with envy.  Certainly all the colours were beautiful, but it was exhausting trying to keep track of who I was with each person I knew.  I was terrified of having my friends together in one place and having to try to be just one me.  My life moved along in a blur, seeming unreal because I was not real.

Dictionary.com defines sincere as follows:

adjective, sin·cer·er, sin·cer·est.
1. free of deceit, hypocrisy, or falseness; earnest: a sincere apology.
2. genuine; real: a sincere effort to improve; a sincere friend.
3. pure; unmixed; unadulterated.
4. Obsolete . sound; unimpaired

How could I be genuine if I didn't even know who I was?

Then I met the One Who created me, Who had waited with exquisite patience for me to open my eyes and heart to Him.  No longer was I a defective mistake but instead a woman of grand design; chosen before time began, perfected by His Spirit in me.  In the years that followed He has continued to release me from the need of man's approval.  I am free to simply be.

Real. Genuine.  Free of deceit.  Pure, unadulterated me.  I am a living, breathing example of WYSIWYG what you see is what you get. Many are not sure what to do with me. Often bold, sometimes brash, seeking courage when fear sneaks in.  I will tell you what I think as my heart opens to pour out what I feel.

I expect the same from others.  Sadly, I am more than often disappointed.  I pray that all would step into the freedom I have found.

To breathe in, breathe out and be who you are.

Joining Peter and the rest talking about the word sincere

16 September 2012

Consuming fire...

Do you see what we’ve got? 
An unshakable kingdom! 
And do you see how thankful we must be? 
Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, 
deeply reverent before God. 
For God is not an indifferent bystander. 
He’s actively cleaning house, 
torching all that needs to burn, 
and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. 
God himself is Fire!  

 Joining Deidra and the Sunday singers


15 September 2012

Are we able?

All men's miseries 
derive from not being able 
to sit in a quiet room alone. 
Blaise Pascal

Seeking the stillness with Sandy


13 September 2012

Loosening my grip

It seems I have not yet learned the lesson of letting go.  My heart and hands grasp long and hard, wanting what they want.

Emily Dickinson said it: 

The Heart wants what it wants - or else it does not care

and Stephen King said it:
The mind can calculate, but the spirit yearns, and the heart wants what the heart wants.

As I try to hold on to the heat of sun splashed days the cold seeps into my bones.  I wrap tentacles of longing around what even now slips away. And yet...

When I turn my eyes and ears to the One Who calls to me, I know I will hear what my heart truly needs.

Yes, you feel the change of seasons
as summer soon is turning
nothing is constant here
but I Am

All the glory you see
colours in the sun
shifting in the wind
only because I Am
indeed the King of glory

and I have not
and I do not
and I will not change
the same always
yesterday, today, forever

while all else shakes
find what is solid
I Am

For Jesus doesn’t change—yesterday, today, tomorrow, he’s always totally himself.  Hebrews 13:8 The Message

The Lord is my solid rock, my fortress, my rescuer.My God is my rock—I take refuge in him!— he’s my shield, my salvation’s strength, my place of safety.  Psalm 18:2 Common English Bible

Walking with the imperfect loved ones at Emily's

Jamming with Bonnie - sharing our whitespace


12 September 2012

His music...

Praying that my word songs
are what He prompts
and pleasant to His ears

WordCandy Wednesday

Sharing with L. L. Barkat and others with a sweet tooth on Wednesday


11 September 2012

Letter on a windy day...

This week's assignment for Compassion Bloggers was to write a letter to God about sponsorship.

One week into blog month and 837 children have been sponsored.  We still have at least 2,271 more to go in order to reach our goal.  Visit the sponsorship page here, pray, love these ones...

My precious Lord:

Today marks eleven years since the Twin Towers fell in New York City.
Eleven years since acts of violence forever changed the way we live life.
Security has taken top priority, risen up like a golden calf.
We seem to seek safety above all else.

Your life wasn't safe Lord, you lived each moment
knowing that one day you would pay the ultimate price
your blood, your life, given for us.

The winds are howling strong today
trees trembling in a frenzied dance
the wail like a cry in my spirit, a continuous prayer
let me be more like You
dead to myself and alive in You
living for grace, for love, for mercy and justice

There are so many children who have never known safety
they have never lived in what we would call a home
families are broken, shattered with need
help me to care more for them
then my own comfort

The wind howls still
as my prayers continue
help me be a mother to the motherless
a friend to the weak
let me be filled with Your passion, Lord.

I may be the only Jesus they see
may I reflect You, Lord as You are
not as I might imagine You

True light, true love.
The answer to every question, asked or silent.
Through the acts of my heart and hands
may they taste and see that You are good.

 Join the Compassion Blogger Network 


09 September 2012

His light

I didn’t see a temple in the city, 
because its temple is the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb. 
The city doesn’t need the sun or the moon to shine on it, 
because God’s glory is its light, 
and its lamp is the Lamb. 

Soaking in Sunday in community with Deidra