Silence is Not Always Golden -by Lois Macdonald

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“Silence is golden.” The crowning jewel of etiquette for children growing up during the 50’s and 60’s, in North America. Politeness stood for good-breeding. Hence, little ones were only invited to speak in social settings if prompted by an adult. Then under the scrutiny of an anxious parent, they were expected to “think carefully before they spoke,” a lesson I believe should be revisited today, and respond with words pleasing to the ear. While manners have done an about-face, hopefully, respect for self and others will always be in season. So, what does Scripture tells us about being silent? Do the same restrictions rule over our prayer life?

There is “A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak.” Ecclesiastes 3:7. NLT.

In silence, one can leave all worldly distractions behind, and draw near to our Maker. Free to bare their soul, and soak in God’s wisdom, love and grace. In silence we can give our Creator the honor and respect, he is due. It is a sanctuary for honesty, repentance, healing, and salvation. Where “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:13. NIV.

The question many Christians ask themselves is, “Can I possibly admit that there have been times when I was disappointed or hurt by the way God answered or didn’t answer my prayers?” Must I tremble in fear, expecting lightning bolts to strike me dead for allowing such thoughts to surface? Or has our Father waited like a good parent for the moment when we trust him completely with the secrets of the heart? For myself, I believe God wants a “close-and-personal” relationship with his children. After all, “Nothing …is hidden from God’s sight…” Hebrews 4:13.

Speak up when the time is right. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King.

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Unworthy of Love -by Lois Macdonald

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Feeling unworthy of love or respect is that sinking belief that even the very best of you, just isn’t quite good enough. Convinced that no matter how hard you try, you will never measure up to those around you. Eventually, left questioning whether our Holy Perfect God could love such a failure. This is one of the cruelest lies that Satan will ever tell. If he is whispering it in your ear now, rejoice in the good news of this verse. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14. There you have it, God was not having an off day when he created you. The truth is, you are wonderfully made!

The destructive seed of unworthiness is often planted in childhood by perhaps a demanding parent, or an insensitive teacher, etc. If left unresolved, by adulthood this stigma often leaves its victims feeling powerless over rejection of any kind. Whether repeated criticism from a toxic boss or a partner who is a “full-blown” perfectionist. Either way, this type of spiritual warfare feeds off negativity, building an emotional barrier around its victims, keeping them isolated and stagnant, always living in fear. If you are standing at this crossroad and want to be all that God created you to be, it is time for a change. Time to let go of the past, forgive your offenders, use your experiences and lessons to help your wounded brothers and sisters. Your life is full of potential. Listen to God’s voice. “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” John 15:16. Now go out and shine!

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10.

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A New Day and a New Year -by Lois Macdonald

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It was the morning of a brand-new day and a brand-new year. In celebration the snow fell from heaven like confetti, gently covering those unsightly blemishes of yesterday’s sins. Sunbeams skated across the dazzling white surface spread underneath a canopy of delicate frosted-kissed branches. 

Recalling the beautiful Scripture verse, “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18.                                                       

A message of hope. A promise of God’s saving Grace and Salvation. Standing, on what felt like hallowed ground, swaddled in a warm blanket of fresh snow, the young woman, surrendered her heart to the Creator of all seasons. “Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7. Though she had made numerous New Year’s resolutions in the past and broken them without much thought, this declaration came straight from the very depths of her soul. She believed in God’s promises and wanted to begin living a life full of purpose. “…If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-18. It was the morning of a brand-new day and a brand-new year. She was born again!  

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Disabled or Mislabeled by Lois Macdonald

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A dear friend told me recently, that a butterfly can still fly even if it has lost 75% of its wingspan. What a miracle, and yet society would most likely categorize it as being disabled. If they would take a closer look, however, I believe they would see that the butterfly had been mislabeled. Though somewhat different in appearance she can still feel, smell, hear and savor the sweetness in nectar. She continues to bathe in the warmth of the sun’s rays and loves to join her friends whenever they slow down their pace and waltz, rather than run through the fields of delicate wildflowers. Truth be told, before her accident she had hurried through most of her waking hours, forever trying to catch a glimpse of tomorrow. This pattern had left her mindlessly missing out on all of the precious moments of today. Moments lost forever!

In the blink of an eye,  anyone’s life can be turned upside down! Chronic pain or disease can move in like an uninvited house guest, leaving us facing overwhelming obstacles. We can learn to adapt and evolve like the butterfly or allow fear to keep us chained to the past. Pope John Paul 11 encourages us to,  “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I {God} am with you. Therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”

Without any warning,  a severe form of arthritis crippled my wings. Learning to fly differently was extremely challenging, humbling and at times downright scary! Miraculously, breaking out of my comfort zone has brought such a new clarity and depth to my life, that I can honestly appreciate the truth in this verse “…rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5.

Was I was able to fly higher in the past? Yes. Am I thankful to be living in the moment of today, rather than chasing after a glimpse of tomorrow? Absolutely. Now the fragrance of a fully blossomed rose and the sweetness of a babbling brook song are no longer wasted on my senses. I can feel, smell, hear and savor the sweetness of God’s love that is all around me.

Would I consider myself disabled or mislabeled?

All I can say is, “I can still fly!”

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Worship or Pomp and Ceremony -by Lois Macdonald

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Viewers everywhere are glued to Netflix’s mini-series “The Crown,” following the life of a young Queen Elizabeth. Still, Symphony AM’s rankings reveal that the series “Orange is the New Black,” an account of life inside a women’s federal prison, and “Narcos,” the title speaks for itself, are far more popular with the 20’s to 40’s audiences. Proof in the pudding that the age of “Pomp and Ceremony” has been overthrown by cynicism and skepticism. The Millennial generation has taken it upon themselves to dissect all positions of authority and some for a good reason. The downside is that this has left the foundations of our government, laws, schools, and churches, crumbling. Christians are questioning the authority of their church leaders and challenging the relevance of Scripture in today’s society. Mega-churches are keeping their pastors in-house, and their collections even closer, while church-planting takes a back seat. These sophisticated, hi-tech, acoustically superior sanctuaries rank high on the entertainment scale, lots of praise going on, but the big question is “praising who?” Is God actually there? More and more believers wonder whether it is better to commune with their Lord and worship Him in the Spirit, at home. Somewhat ironic, for that is how the first churches began. No Pomp and Ceremony necessary. Bottom line, what does our Lord and King think? He warns us that He is a Jealous God in Exodus 43:14 and that we should tremble before Him in Psalm 96:9!

That He, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him, must worship in the Spirit and truth.” John 4:24.

For myself, I feel very strongly that our God will not tolerate having Himself or His Word dissected by anyone! Surely, we are living in the final church age before Christ comes. “Laodicea,” is the church we have created and is described in Revelations?   “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were either one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!  You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” Revelations 3:15-17.

It is the age of “entitlement,” where we like our forefathers before we cry out to God begging, “We want to be like the nations around us…” 1 Samuel 8:20.

Worship or Pomp and Ceremony?

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