Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Giving

This Christmas I have heard the challenge over and over again to reconsider our gift giving. Do we REALLY need the gifts we get? Is the stress of finding the “perfect gift” worth it? Consider the majority of the world who would love the gift of three meals a day; a regular paying job to support his family; tuition money for their children for college; a cure for AIDS that is killing off their family one by one….I could go one and on.. so could you.

So this Christmas, my husband and I are sending our gift money to each other to help Filipinos who have lost their homes in a flood. The staff in our Manila based office pooled their exchange gift money and is giving it to a family with a blind girl who is also now diagnosed with epilepsy and has no medical insurance. One friend is giving his wife a goat that will live in India to bring some livelihood into a village family there ( and did it on line with a reputable organization). Others have already stuffed gift shoe boxes to send to poor children through the Samaritans Purse.

Christ gave us the ultimate gift- his life for the ransom of our sin and it was a sacrificial gift. He is our example. Life is richer when we give!

Friday, December 14, 2007

A story that moves me

Several years ago, a preacher from out-of-state accepted a call to a church in Houston , Texas . Some weeks after he arrived, he had an occasion to ride the bus from his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change. As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, "You'd better give the quarter back. It would be wrong to keep it." Then he thought, "Oh, forget it, it's only a quarter. Who would worry about this little amount? Anyway, the bus company gets too much fare; they will never miss it. Accept it as a 'gift from God' and keep quiet."

When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, and then he handed the quarter to the driver and said, "Here, you gave me too much change."

The driver, with a smile, replied, "Aren't you the new preacher in town? I have been thinking a lot lately about going somewhere to worship. Just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change.

I'll see you at church on Sunday."

When the preacher stepped off of the bus,
he literally grabbed the nearest light pole, held on, and said, "Oh God, I almost sold your Son for a quarter."

Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read. This is a really scary example of how much people watch us as Christians and will put us to the test!

Always be on guard -- and remember -- You carry the name of Christ on your shoulders when you call yourself "Christian."

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Empty Spaces

We all have empty spaces in our lives. Sometimes other people find them for us or in us, circumstances reveal them or we just feel something missing and we go looking for it, whatever it may be. It is when we crave for something or have a deep dissatisfaction deep down inside.

Sometimes we try to fill these empty spaces with things- like money, education, new car or even a new hair cut. Or we try to fill it with people- husband, children, best friend etc. I find I try to fill it sometimes with food- you have heard of comfort food right- entertainment, or other fun activities. God showed me this week that the only thing that fills the empty spaces is his unfailing love. It is like water that flows in and around the cracks and gaps in my life. Other things just make more spaces!

If you have discovered some empty spaces in yourself lately, let God fill you up with his unfailing and unconditional love. There is nothing more satisfying.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I am Canadian

As I was growing up in India my eyes watered and nose ran because I often had a cold- we lived 7,500 ft above sea level. In the Philippines my eyes watered and nose ran because of allergies- hay fever. In Canada my eyes water and my nose runs because of the COLD. My passport tells me I am Canadian so I am trying it on for size this year.

Richard and I went to our first hockey game where you actually pay to see them play. I was bundled in my sweater, coat, blanket and gloves and looked behind me. There was a couple in shirt sleeves- alright they were teenagers trying to impress each other. A little further up on the bleachers was a mom (or was it grandma- hard to tell these days) with a little one bundled in coat and blanket. As I cheered on our home town team , heard the scraping of flying skates across the ice, sang the Canadian anthem…I felt Canadian.

As I have said in other blogs, we are learning what a deal Tim Horton’s is for a lunch of homemade soup and sandwich. Richard and I find it the best place to grab a cup of coffee with old and new friends. We are learning to eat more meat as it is served to us- portion sizes I mean. We were taken out to breakfast the other day and shared a normal order and it was STILL to much for us. The other day we were served fruit soup- wow that was good- soup of peaches, cherries, apricots, strawberries and I don’t know what else. Top it with a little yogurt and mmmmm that is good!

The malls are SO small compared to what we have in Manila, but I guess it is refreshing to go to the till and only be number 2 in line and nobody behind you! We are a small town but still there seems to be great events to go to continuously. Concerts, hockey games, sleigh rides, hockey games, choir festival, hockey games, ladies teas, hockey games. Ok you may have guessed that our church family is pretty into hockey. It might be because our pastor is the chaplain of the team!

So in many ways it is easy slipping into Canadian life- it fits well. At least indoors!