Monthly Archives: October 2013

Egypt

Hi there!

On Sunday a Reverend from Egypt came to speak to our church.  For me, it was a humbling experience.

I am not altogether familiar with terms like “The Brotherhood” or “Secular Muslims”.  Apparently, the Brotherhood is a more extreme group.  The “Secular” Muslims are more peaceable.  (This explanation is clearly lacking, but it’s kind of the gist of it.)

He told a story about how last week two men walked into a wedding being held at a church, killing 7 people and injuring 14.  He spoke of a little girl’s white dress becoming blood-red.

And, yet he praised God.  There was joy, passion, life and love on his face.  It reminded one person in the church that the Bible is being lived out today.  The stories we read about in the Bible are happening in places like Egypt.

It reminds me that yes, the Bible is being lived out in places like Egypt, but is it being lived out here in Canada?

I came away feeling pretty ashamed of myself.  Not guilty.  It was more of a reality check.  We do have things pretty easy here.  I get ‘attacked’, but it is by words and facial expressions, not physically.

I heard a sermon preached many years ago talking about how we, Canadians, have to be at the end of our rope before we turn to God.  We turn to doctors, lawyers, accountants, physiotherapists, counsellors, etc.  These are not bad things, but Rev. Atef said they do not go to nations, or the church, or to any earthly organization for help, they go to God!

And, God is moving in Egypt.  For the first time, the Government, the Military, the Church (and a fourth group that escapes my memory) are in unity.

There were 84 churches burned.  The government issued a decree (like back in Queen Esther’s day) stating that the churches will be rebuilt at the government’s expense.  And, I just learned that they had to change a law to make this happen.

Praise God!

An official called up Rev. Atef and asked him about his church.  He told him it was old and he wouldn’t mind having it renovated.  The official said, “Why don’t you just burn it?”  Rev. Atef’s reply was something like, “Jesus didn’t teach me to do that.”

There is also a church or (some churches) that have set up clinics to treat the wounded.  They do not ask names.  They do not ask if the person is Christian or Muslim.  They treat everyone.  The Muslims are asking, “Why are you treating us when we’re the ones that hurt you?”

The answer came from a Muslim, “Jesus is sweet”.

He cares for and loves all of us, and we are called to do the same.  Our brothers and sisters in Egypt are living Faith.

I think this blog is going to have to be a “To be continued”.  There is more to say – and I haven’t even reviewed the sermon notes I took in church!  🙂

If you would like to listen to the sermon, you can go to the following link: http://www.sunnysidechurchottawa.com/  Entitled – Wesleyans in Egypt(You have to scroll down to the bottom, and it is on the left side of Pastor Brent.)

Blessings,

Ellie

The People’s Plans

Hi there,

So, somewhere in the Bible it says, “God frustrates the plans of the people.”

I never minded that saying, until He frustrated my plans.  I was on vacation this past week.  I barely told anyone I was off.  I wanted to take the first few days of my vacation for me.  I wanted to sleep in.  I wanted to go to the gym.  I wanted to stay in my pj’s until noon if I wanted.  But, most importantly, I wanted to write.

Then Monday morning I woke up to pain in my lower back.  This is not unusual for me, but I had been doing really well lately.  And, then it hit me again.

I made it to the gym on Monday, rested on Tuesday, had a little cry and a word or two with God on Wednesday, went to the gym again, and finally gave in and booked a massage.

Thursday I was feeling better – albeit, still quite sore.

The massage on Friday did not work the miraculous and wonderful healing I had hoped for.

But, I am writing.  I am stiff from sitting, but I am writing.

So, here I sit wit the verse “God frustrates the plans of the people.”  Like I said, I used to be okay with that phrase, but I really don’t like it when it applies to me.  Why did God have to go and frustrate my plans?

I know, God does not cause pain, illness, injury, but according to the experts on God (I apologize for my sarcastic, snarky tone), He will use it.

Well, I am glad to report that I did not learn anything spiritual.  I was just angry and in pain, a lot of pain.  The kind of pain that even six extra strength Tylenol couldn’t help. (Don’t worry – I didn’t take all six at the same time.)

It’s hard to see clearly when you’re in pain.  I often wonder how those who have severe chronic pain do it.  They are heavily medicated.  I knew someone who was like this, and she barely did it.

I remember seeing her at work one day, falling asleep at her desk.  You either have to suffer through the pain, and not be 100 % able-bodied, or have no pain, and suffer through the side-effects of the medication.

Either way, it is a terrible way to live.

My physical pain comes and goes.  It is relatively manageable.

My one wish would of course be that none of us would have to suffer with any sort of pain (including emotional and spiritual).

For me, the pain I have experienced in my life is what has kept me soft – it keeps me looking forward to Christ’s return.

Revelation 21 says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.[a] He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children” (NLT).

To quote John, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20, NLT)

Now, to hobble into the kitchen to get another cup of tea.  🙂

Blessings,

Ellie

 

On Aging

Hello there!

It’s been awhile.  I think I figured it out.  The “why I have not been inclined to write lately” syndrome.

I was writing about singleness.  It’s boring.  I can’t find anything interesting to say about it.  As a good single friend said to me about singleness, “It sucks.”  What else is there to say?  Well, maybe just one more thing…

My mom sent me a funny – not sure who wrote it, but here it is:

“Madonna is 55, her boyfriend is 22.  Tina Turner is 75, her boyfriend is 40.  JLo is 42, her boyfriend is 26.  Mariah Carey is 44, her husband is 32.  Still single??? Relax, your boyfriend is not born yet.”

I didn’t check out the facts, but I know the JLo and Mariah Carey ones are close.

I know what you’re thinking.  “Those ladies are rich.”

“Don’t worry, if he’s not born yet, we still have some time to make money.”

To laugh is good.  I think this is the best way to spend your single days, or married days, or divorced days – laughing.  We must not forget to laugh.  Like my good buddy King Solomon said, “Laughter is the best medicine.”

I whole heartedly agree.

So, where does the “On Aging” part come in?  Well, it just did.

Also, I recently had a conversation with someone about turning 40.

People, I’ve pretty much lived half my life at this point.  That’s not to sound negative or depressing, but seriously, another 40 years and I will turn 80 (God willing!)  I don’t have time to spend with people who are dull or boring.  My life is half over.

The good thing about aging is that you really do begin to choose your friends.  You spend time with people you actually like.  It’s an amazing and wonderful transition.

In my twenties, I definitely found myself spending time with people I wasn’t so fond of, wondering, “Why did I come here?”  I really wasn’t enjoying myself.  So, now I don’t do that.  It’s liberating!

So, if you’re in your twenties or early thirties, let me save you some time.  Stop hanging out with those annoying people you don’t really like!  You’ll be fine – you’re wonderful!  So, get out there and find some people who are as wonderful as you!

There, I’ve just added twenty years to your life.  You’re welcome.

Much love and blessings,

Auntie Ellie

To be continued…

Well, that’s kind of how I am feeling today.  To be continued…

I finished reading The Shack Revisited.  It was a good theological reminder that God is about relationship, not religion, rules, etc.

I forgot about the scene in The Shack where the Holy Spirit, Sarayu, is in the garden that is the main character’s ‘mess’.  Kruger reminds us that both the Holy Spirit and God are smiling, even while working within our messiness.

That’s good news for me (and us).

There’s also this scene in The Shack where God says, “The Truth shall set you free and the Truth has a name; he’s over in the woodshop right now covered in sawdust.  Everything is about him (97)” (249).

This passage made me think about how Jesus is working for and in us, getting himself covered in our dust and ashes, thinking about us over himself even though, “Everything is about him”.  WOW!

Like I said in my last blog post, this was a book I had to read slowly.  It was too much for me to take in all at once, and yet I also feel like I rushed through it for the very same reason.  I wanted to skim over it.

Kruger talks about how Adam hid from God after he had sinned.  He believed God had changed – that God was going to punish him – but God hadn’t changed, it was Adam, and his perception of things and God.  The thing the serpent (the devil) did in the Garden was cast doubt on God’s goodness.  Kruger says we are still living this out.  We still doubt the goodness of God, and wonder why life is so hard, why we have to go through certain things, all the muck and messiness of life.

I don’t know.  I have asked the same questions about God, and wondered when it was going to get better.  It never seems to.  My dad still drinks.  My mom still has mental illness.  These things do not go away.  I still have to live with the scars and bruises of them.

And, to survive it, I hardened myself.  Now, the difficult part is to make myself soft, gentle, trusting.  How to undo all of those years of self-protection and wall-building?

For me, the answer lies in God.  Even in all of my doubts and fears and anxieties, somewhere inside of me knows He is the answer to the question, “Why?”

Please feel free to share your thoughts.