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On Fridays I post FFF to stop and recall blessings of the previous week. Suzanne sponsors this exercise at Living to Tell the Story and invites you to participate too!

1. Church – I have been able to attend our Sunday church service the past two weeks. What a blessing to be in personal fellowship with the church family after having to miss for six weeks during my initial stage of recovery from surgery.

2. Doctor’s report – The surgeon gave me a good report and has graduated me to 25% weight bearing on my affected leg. How does one determine how much pressure on the leg equals 25% weight bearing? The physiotherapist gave me a simple formula: gently press down on the scale with the operated leg until the scale registers 25% of your body weight. That amount of pressure is how much you can use when walking. I will still be using a walker or crutches for at least another month.

3. Supplement in town – One of the supplements that has helped my fibromyalgia muscle spasms is now available in my small town. I used to have to drive at least 20 minutes north or south to a supplement store to buy them so I am very glad to be able to get them right here. A bonus is that they are actually a bit cheaper here!

4. Walk to the mailbox – Where we live mail is delivered to super-boxes for a whole street. Our super-box is right across the street from us, but since my surgery, it might as well be a mile away. Since I was a kid I have loved getting mail, and lately have been ordering some cutting dies from China for my card making. It’s so much fun to find one or two of these little packets in our mailbox! Since no one else in my family shares my enthusiasm for mail, I have really felt like I was bothering people to ask them to check the mail. Today I did a trial run out the back door and down the driveway to the mailbox. My husband ‘spotted’ me since we weren’t sure if the incline of the driveway was too steep for me to traverse safely with my walker. Everything went smoothly, and if I go slowly and carefully, I should be able to check my own mail now while getting a spot of exercise in.

5. Messing in the herb garden – Because of my emergency hip replacement surgery and planned slow recovery I have missed most of the outdoor activities of summer. Today I was able to work a bit in my raised bed herb garden, weeding out dead leaves, and thinning out some herbs. I love running my hands through the fragrant herbs, rubbing the leaves to enjoy the unique smell each herb offers. I’ve begun harvesting some of them to dry for use in winter cooking. It was lovely to be outside again for a bit today!

James is one! He was celebrating with my daughter-in-law’s family in the States.

Here are a few of the Purple Grandma Designs cards I have been working on as I recover.

 

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FFF spring

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

1. Travel, travel, and more travel  We are traveling quite a bit this summer for ministry reasons. Last week took us back to Calgary where we started a church plant in 1988. It was wonderful to see old friends and make new ones at the church! The church membership has successfully grafted in a new pastor and his family and seem to love him dearly and follow his leadership. Such a blessing to see this! My husband and I were both surprised at how emotionally intense (in a good way!) the weekend was for us.

2. Surrogate Grandma! One of the benefits of being ‘of a certain age’ is that you can act as a surrogate grandmother to kids whose biological grandparents live far away. When we told God we would serve Him wherever He wanted us, it ended up being far from either of our families. Many people became aunties, uncles, and grandparents to our kids in their growing up days. This past weekend I got to be Grandma to Madison and her brothers. Loved every minute of it and looking forward to more sweet times together.

3. The challenges of traveling with fibromyalgia When a person with fibromyalgia travels so many different things can cause a relapse. Part of managing my fibromyalgia these past 2 and a half years has been identifying problems spots in my health and learning to manage them. Two big areas for me are proper sleep and a diet that helps me have fewer or less severe fibromyalgia symptoms. This past weekend I had good sleep and thanks to the diligence and kindness of the church ladies, had safe food to eat all weekend. Yay!

4. Reunion with a dear brother Our schedule has been so intense and busy we talked about moving our Calgary meeting from last week into September, but we felt compelled to keep the July date. Just before we left to drive down, we learned a former church member was in hospice and would soon be with the Lord. He very much wanted to see my husband so that their relationship would be in perfect harmony before this dear brother went to be with the Lord. Many hugs were shared and many tears shed at that short but powerful meeting. Three days later this brother went to be with the Lord. God is sovereign and granted the dying wish of one of His own. We are humbled and blessed by His leading!

5. Goodbye tree! We had to take down a big, old tree from the back yard because it was diseased. *sniff* I love those old trees, the shade they provide, and the bit of privacy they offer. Now most of the back yard is open and sunny and…..as my husband reminds me, we have new possibilities for the space. Guess it does all depend on how you look at things!

Here are a few more of my prairie “Abandoned Dreams” photos. I hope to get out and take some with my new camera soon.

Jan Torrington cabin (6) Lean on me... Papa bear mama bear and baby bearDSC07480

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fff winter button

It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

1. Mobility! It snowed overnight, but the rest of the week has been warm enough for most of the winter’s accumulation of ice and snow to melt. I’ve been trying to go outside to walk around or do errands each day to help build up my weakened leg muscles. I was even able to go without my cane a couple of the days!

2. Sense of humor One of the things I love about my husband id his sense of humor. He joked with the congregation that he and Pastor David had whirled around in teacups at Disneyland when they were in southern California last week. (No time for that kind of activity during a conference!!) A photographer in the church found some silly images of the pastors and photoshopped them into a teacup ride picture. The church family seemed to really enjoy seeing the lighter side of their pastors.

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3. God remains the same Currently the winds of change are blowing for many of our family, friends and ministries. Most of these touch us in some way and cause me anxiety if I do not leave them with the Lord. God promises that He will never leave us or forsake us. I am asking God to keep me focusing on that promise in these times of uncertainty.

4. A photograph I took I love taking pictures, but am in no way a trained photographer. In the past couple of years two different publishers have asked permission to use one of my photos in their books. They both asked to publish a picture of a stained glass window portraying missionary Mary Slessor I took when we visited Dundee Scotland several years ago. This has been my fleeting moment of photography fame!

Mary Slessor Window Dundee

5. Family in Christ God has recently drawn to our church a number of families who have emigrated from Africa. I am enjoying getting to know them and marvel at the sacrifices they have made for the promise of a better life for their families. Language, culture, climate are all different, but we are one in Christ and enjoy wonderful fellowship together based on that familial bond.

What has God blessed you with this past week?

 

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It’s Friday, time to look back over the blessings of the week with Susanne at Living to Tell the Story and other friends.

1. As I continue healing from my hip replacement surgery I am thankful for increasing mobility. Sunday I was able to go to church.  How wonderful it was to fellowship with my church family again!

2. I have had a longstanding prayer request regarding a relationship conflict in my family. God has graciously worked in parties to resolve issues and strengthen the relationship. I am so grateful for this!

3. Monday I see the surgeon for my six week post-operative appointment. I am hoping he will give me the all clear to drive again and send me on to the next stage – physiotherapy – to strengthen the leg and continue to increase my mobility.

4. Monday evening my daughters, who live nearby, will be here for family night when we will work together to decorate the Christmas tree. My husband and I abandoned the real tree for an artificial one several years ago. The fake tree is up and ready. My oldest daughter has dubbed me decorating dictator and the kids will be my minions!

5. My family will tell you that I love good deals.  Last week I was able to find exceptionally good deals on some card making tools that I was interested in.  Some of the items were 90% off retail.  Now that’s a deal!

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O be careful little ears what you hear???????????????????????????????

O be careful little ears what you hear

For the Father up above

Is looking down in love

So, be careful little ears what you hear

Still learning about grace

When my husband was first saved at age 20, he aggressively witnessed to M, his father’s second wife. He had a lot of zeal and was still learning about grace when addressing her and she made it very clear that she did not approve of him or his message.  Her animosity towards him grew over the years to the point where she told other family members that she hated him. Though Bud apologized and attempted many times to win her over, M refused to be reconciled.

For some reason M seemed to like me.  She bought me gifts and was very kind to me.  She spent time talking with me and we discovered we shared many of the same interests.

The comments began

Because of the tension between M and my husband I was very mindful about keeping our children under control so Bud could spend time with his father when we visited.  Soon the comments began. At first they were subtle, and never when Bud was around. “Bud should make sure you get enough rest.”  “I can’t believe Bud said that to you last night.”  “Bud is so selfish!  He needs to take care of the kids so you can have some time for yourself.” Because of her words slowly, and imperceptibly at first, resentment toward my husband grew in my heart.

Poisoned my thinking

If I had been more mature or more spiritually minded I might have thought of Eve and the subtle words of the serpent in the Garden of Eden.   I might have seen that M’s angry words against my husband influenced me to think wrongly about him.  I might have responded biblically and told her to take her comments directly to the person she had the complaint against. But I did not want to upset the delicate relationship balance so I kept quiet. Instead, I listened to what she had to say and allowed M’s words to poison my thinking.

Gossip

I have noticed this same sort of situation in churches.  Someone becomes disgruntled with the leadership or with another believer in the assembly and begins grumbling and complaining to others.  They either don’t talk to the pastor at all, or they leave from a meeting with the pastor annoyed and angry because he will not side with them on some issue.  These kinds of people puff themselves up and make it their pet project to destroy God’s work by gossiping and complaining to others.

God hates these things

Proverbs 6:16-19 says:

There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
 a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.

At best these disgruntled believers are guilty of sowing discord among the brethren, and may also be guilty of telling lies and devising wicked plans.   Rarely will there even be an attempt to deal with issues biblically, and if rebuked, they are often full of self-righteousness, pride, and even downright hatred.

They may talk of this issue as ‘a prayer request’ or a ‘concern’ but what they are doing is wrong, so wrong that God hates it. God hates those who sow discord among other believers. Yes, He opposes them and what they are doing.

No grace

They may caution you that the pastor is preaching heresy or that a fellow Christian doesn’t do things the right way, when in fact the bitterness, resentment or pride in their own heart is the real problem. They are blind to the fact that good men differ over some areas of doctrine and practice. There is no grace extended to genuine believers who hold a differing position.  They resent the fact that people love and follow their pastor instead of them.

We will all answer

They forget that we all have to answer to God for our thoughts and actions and that the pastor is particularly held accountable for how he handles the flock. There is no grace, no love and no genuine concern for the body of Christ. They secretly delight in winning others to their position or in hurting the pastor or the church.

Don’t spread gossip!

Be careful, dear sisters, to have your spiritual antennas up!  Don’t be the one spreading gossip and don’t listen to those who do! When someone begins speaking critically about another believer, stop them and tell them to talk to that person not to you.  If there is a question about what your pastor has been preaching, go to him and ask your questions.

We are all responsible to search the scriptures to see if what we are being taught is accurate.  To do this we need to understand what the Bible says.  You may need to use a commentary or a reliable modern translation so you can clearly understand what is being taught.

O be careful little ears what you hear

But do not fall into the trap of being spiritually poisoned by lending an ear to a person who God clearly says He hates:  a sower of discord among the brethren.  Don’t poison the thoughts of other believers with gossip.  And don’t be guilty of listening to it just because it comes from a good friend or to keep the peace.

It may be a children’s song, but it contains simple yet rich truth:  ‘O be careful little ears what you hear.’

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Christ’s Example

I have been reading the gospels again and have been moved by Christ’s example of humility.  In the hours before His crucifixion Jesus was accused, abandoned, afflicted and abased.  When he was reviled with hateful taunts, He did not respond in kind.  When He was accused and later beaten, He remained silent.  He was provoked, pierced, prodded, and in pain, yet He did not lash out at those who so wrongfully and shamefully treated Him.  He endured this ‘contradiction of sinners against Himself’ for the far greater cause of bringing salvation to mankind through His sufferings.

The Bigger Picture

We are all guilty at times of losing sight of the bigger picture.  It’s not to our credit to love those that love us.  We are also supposed to love those who treat us unfairly.  Wow!  Is that ever hard to do!

In our society it’s considered weakness to back down from a disagreement.  After all, isn’t it important to make sure everybody knows the real facts about an incident?  Or knows who really came up with that great idea?  Or takes our side?  Or that I’m in charge?

It’s More Important to be Christlike than to Be Right

No.  It’s more important to mirror Christlikness than to be right.  Can that be true?  Sadly, we have been conditioned to plant our feet and in no uncertain terms let others around us know that we will not budge.  But that response to conflict is not God-honoring.

I want to challenge you:   Can you take the wrong – wrong behavior, wrong accusations, wrong ideas people have about you for the cause of Christ?

Church Splits

We shake our heads when we hear about churches that split because people can’t agree on the color of new carpet.   Does anyone remember the color chosen?  Do the stories praise the person who was ‘right’?  No, the reputation of Christ and His followers is diminished by this kind of insistence on having one’s own way.  People only remember that Christians can’t get along and they are not drawn to Christ by this fractious arguing.

Expectations

We are children of God and have various responsibilities in the church.  We can’t run away from this or change this.  Right or wrong, people know this about us and because of it have even higher expectations of godliness from us.

I want to challenge you to pray about and study the passages which speak of Christ’s humility and deference to the Father’s will.  I want to challenge you to study the Scriptures which tell us to take the wrong for the cause of Christ.  And then I urge you to practice on each other.

Don’t Be Known as Fighting Christians

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Don’t be known as fighting Christians.  Our testimony before a watching world should be one of love and tender deference to each other.  Our behavior toward each other may be used of God to draw a wanderer back or push a struggler farther away.

He Said, She Said

Our youngest daughter absolutely delighted to have her aunt and uncle here in May.  She particularly loved hearing her father and his sister give their individual accounts of the same childhood event.  They were both involved in the event yet had WIDELY differing versions of it.

When two believers see something differently take time to ask yourself if you might possibly have misinterpreted or gotten it wrong.  Don’t automatically think you are right and the other person is wrong.  Give the other person the benefit of the doubt.

Humility and Deference

By God’s grace let us love each other with humility and deference and allow our relationship as believers become a sweet savor of godliness to each other and to a watching world.

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