Wednesday, 30 December 2009

good stuff

I stayed up very late last night reading C.S. Lewis' book Mere Christianity. And... is it a good read, or is it a good read! These lines were particularly good. So good that they are high-lighted, and the page, dog-eared. So good, that they demand to be shared. So, folks, listen up!

"Christianity tells people to repent and promises them forgiveness. It therefore has nothing to say to people who do not know that they have done anything to repent of and who do not feel that they need any forgiveness. It is after you realised that there is a real Moral Law, and a Power behind the Law, and that you have broken that Law, and put yourself wrong with that Power - it is after all this, and not a moment sooner, that Christianity begins to talk! When you have realised that our position is desperate you will begin to understand what Christians are talking about."

Another way of putting it would be that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is good news. In fact, it is the best news. However, what makes this good news so good and so necessary is that it is put against the backdrop of very bad news. The bad news is that all have sinned. When the Bible says "all" that includes you, and me. Because we have broken God's law, we deserve punishment in hell. That is fair... because justice must be served... because God is perfectly holy. But God is merciful as well, and so He provides a way of salvation for us through His Son, Jesus Christ, who was the perfect sacrifice, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. And then He became alive again, according to the Scriptures, conquering death, so that all who trust in Him can conquer death also. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. There is no better news than that!

"I was dead in my transgressions and sins. But because of His great love for me, God, who is rich in mercy, made me alive with Christ even when I was dead in my sins. It is by grace that I have been saved." {Ephesians 2} Sheer grace, folks.

You know how when you pass the jewelers in mall, the diamonds that seem to shine the brightest are the ones on black velvet. Likewise: the gem of the Gospel shines ever-so-gloriously against the ugly reality of my sin.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

one step at a time

"Sometimes when we read the words of those who have been more than conquerors,
we feel almost despondent. We say, 'I feel that I shall never be like that.'
But they won through step-by-step,
by little bits of wills,
little denials of self,
little inward victories,
by faithfulness in very little things,
they became what they are.
No one sees these hidden little steps.
They only see the accomplishment,
but even so, those small steps were taken.
There is no sudden triumph, no spiritual maturity.
That is the work of the moment."
(thank you, Amy Carmichael)

Monday, 5 October 2009

(at a loss for words)

"As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things." Ecclesiastes 11:5

"God is in heaven. you are on earth. so let your words be few."
Ecclesiastes 5:2

"I am unworthy - how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth."
Job 40:4

“Some things in nature must remain a mystery to the most intelligent and enterprising investigators. Human knowledge has bounds beyond which it cannot pass. Universal knowledge is for God alone. If this be so in the things which are seen and temporal, I may rest assured that it is even more so in matters spiritual and eternal. Why, then, have I been torturing my brain with speculations as to destiny and will, fixed fate, and human responsibility? These deep and dark truths I am no more able to comprehend than to find out the depth which coucheth beneath, from which old ocean draws her watery stores. Why am I so curious to know the reason of my Lord’s providences, the motive of His actions, the design of His visitations? Shall I ever be able to clasp the sun in my fist, and hold the universe in my palm? Yet these are as a drop of a bucket compared with the Lord my God. Let me not strive to understand the infinite, but spend my strength in love. What I cannot gain by intellect I can possess by affection, and let that suffice me. I cannot penetrate the heart of the sea, but I can enjoy the healthful breezes which sweep over its bosom, and I can sail over its blue waves with propitious winds. If I could enter the springs of the sea, the feat would serve no useful purpose either to myself or others, it would not save the sinking bark, or give back the drowned mariner to his weeping wife and children; neither would my solving deep mysteries avail me a single whit, for the least love to God, and the simplest act of obedience to Him, are better than the profoundest knowledge. My Lord, I leave the infinite to Thee, and pray Thee to put far from me such a love for the tree of knowledge as might keep me from the tree of life.” C.H. Spurgeon

He puts a stop to my proud thinking. He silences my vain questions. It is a good thing, a very good thing to be quieted by His love.

Friday, 2 October 2009

divine intervention

"God, Who has called you into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, is faithful." 1 Corinthians 1:9

Sometimes, I am just so appalled at my own stupidity. But then again, it should come as no shock. After all, God likening me to sheep wasn't exactly a compliment. Rather it is a reality. What a fitting metaphor, you see. We, like sheep, go astray, leaving the pastures of peace for vain adventures. We are so foolish as to swap the perfect protection and provision of the Shepherd, for loneliness and fear. We are so silly as to starve ourselves of His all-sufficient love. But the beautiful thing is that God, the Great Shepherd, is in the business of seeking and saving lost sheep.

In our helpless state, He intervenes. Because of His great mercy, we are not consumed. I am no longer dead. I am no longer damned. This orphan has been adopted! He has redeemed my life from the pit. Not I, but He!

Salvation is from Him. Let me not forget it. That way, He gets all the glory, as He deserves. I have no righteousness to claim, except for that which He gives to me because of His Son, Jesus Christ. I have nothing to boast in, but the grace of God. The Gospel renders me dependent on Him. Does not 1 Corinthians 1:9 scream of our dependence? I am but the recipient of His call. He brought me to Himself, when I did not seek Him. He loved me, when I did not love Him. He keeps me, though I falter.

Therefore, it is only logical that this dependence should manifest itself in desperation. Just as I was unable to save myself, I am likewise incapable of growth, apart from the True Vine. And so, it is the 'is faithful' part of this verse where I breathe a huge sigh of relief. He will not abandon the work He has begun in me. I am confident of this, that "He Who began a work in me will complete it."

And just in case, we still don't understand, the Lord repeats tHis promise in 1 Thessalonians 5:24. "The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it." I think He is trying to get something across here, don't you? He is a patient Rabbi. Let me be a better student.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

a lesson in gratitude

Isn’t it funny how we end up learning something, even as we are teaching? And isn’t it even funnier how some of the best teachers are our five year old students? That, my friends, is one of the best paradoxes in God's world. And we would do well to realize it.

Today in Sunday school, we each enjoyed a lollipop. Mine was apple. And it turned my tongue green. But that's beside the point. Before we dared take a lick, I was informed by five-year-old Kimi that we needed to give thanks. So we did. She said, “Dear God, thank you for these lollipops and thank you for loving us.”

And in that moment, God used Kimi to remind me to "(always!) give thanks to the Lord, for He is (always!) good!" Good, to create us. Good, to love us. Good, to rescue us. Good, to sustain us. Good, to bless us. Good, to even give us taste buds.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

i fell in love with fall a long time ago......

The leaves have begun to fall, and I couldn't help but smile as I walked to class today, crunching them underfoot.
Something about this season makes me crave apple pie. Makes me wish for ‘a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils’. Makes me want to snuggle up in Barnes and Noble with the latest children’s book. Makes me want a cuppa something delicious in a little cafĂ©. Makes me want to go to Boston. Makes me want to stay up late. Makes me take a stroll down memory lane, where I sometimes get lost. But most of all, makes me miss my years in Ohio, my street decked with the most colourful of trees, yards piled high with leaves; even makes me miss raking leaves.
Yes, this season has that kind of influence on me. I can’t explain it, but I certainly do feel it. Autumn is in the air, and I like it.

P.S. And if I could have nominated my street in Ohio for screen-saver-of-the-year award, I would have. And I bet it would have won. It was that pretty.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

my simple prayer.... to know that I am loved unconditionally by God, and to love Him and others because of it.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

big hands in the little details

“How precious also are Thy thoughts unto me, O God!
Psalm 139:17
Divine omniscience affords no comfort to the ungodly mind, but to the child of God it overflows with consolation. God is always thinking upon us, never turns aside His mind from us, has us always before His eyes; and this is precisely as we would have it, for it would be dreadful to exist for a moment beyond the observation of our heavenly Father. His thoughts are always tender, loving, wise, prudent, far-reaching, and they bring to us countless benefits: hence it is a choice to delight to remember them. The Lord always did think upon His people: hence their election and the covenant of grace by which their salvation is secured. He always will think upon them: hence their final perseverance by which they shall be brought safely to their final rest. In all our wanderings the watchful glance of the Eternal Watcher is evermore fixed upon us, - we never roam beyond the Shepherd's eye. In our sorrows He observes us incessantly, and not a pang escapes Him; in our toils He marks all our weariness, and writes in His book all the struggles of His faithful ones. These thoughts of the Lord encompass us in all our paths, and penetrate the innermost region of our being.
Not a nerve or tissue, valve or vessel, of our bodily organization is uncared for; all the littles of our little world are thought upon by the great God!
Dear reader, is this precious to you? then hold to it. Never be led astray by those philosophic fools who preach up an impersonal God, and talk of self-existent, self-governing matter. The Lord liveth and thinketh upon us, this is a truth far too precious for us to be lightly robbed of it. The notice of a nobleman is valued so highly that he who has it counts his fortune made; but what is it to be thought of by the King of Kings! If the Lord thinketh upon us, ALL IS WELL, and we may rejoice evermore."
- Charles H. Spurgeon

Thank you Lord for putting Psalm 139 in Your Word! I entrust myself into Your big hands and thank You that Your fingers are working out all the details of my life. May I meditate on this, that You, O good God, are so powerful to spin the planets, and yet just as personal to keep a count of the hairs on my head. Thank You for being intimate with Your children. Keep me ever-exploring and ever-enjoying the many facets of Your character. amen, and let it be.

Saturday, 29 August 2009


It’s often into the evening hours of Saturday that I begin to think about Sunday, because it is already Sunday in other parts of the world. I calculate the time difference in my head, and think about my brothers and sisters in all the continents. I specifically think of my family in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England, who meet with their small congregations. And I think of mis amigos in Argentina, as well. And I think of all my brothers and sisters who are meeting underground or in peoples’ homes or in lonely prison cells or under expanse of sky.

And I fall asleep rejoicing that God’s name is being praised in many different languages and in many different places by many different people! What a place heaven will be, when the international choir is united before Him.

Monday, 10 August 2009

the shell

I came across this poem, written by Amy Carmichael. It was written decades ago, but is as timely-as-ever today.

Upon the sandy shore an empty shell,
Beyond the shell infinity of sea;
O Saviour, I am like that empty shell,
Thou art the Sea to me.

A sweeping wave rides up the shore, and lo,
Each dim recess the coiled shell within
Is searched, is filled, is filled to overflow
By water crystalline.

Not to the shell is any glory then:
All glory give we to the glorious sea.
And not to me is any glory when
Thou overflowest me.

Sweep over me, Thy shell, as low I lie;
I yield me to the purpose of Thy will,
Sweep up, O conquering waves, and purify
And with Thy fullness fill.

Amen, and amen!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

restless, but resting

Sometimes, like tonight, I feel so utterly restless. Wanting to be in a hundred different places at once. Thinking of 'there', but am here. Trying to sleep, but kept awake by a desperately needy world. On my pillow, thinking of those without one. In my house, thinking of those in huts. Me, with a full belly, them and their growling ones. But what is most haunting is their lost and lonely cries, for many do not know their Heavenly Father.

And sometimes, I am so disturbed, disgusted, and devastated with it all, that I forget the sovereignty of God, which tells me... that God has placed me here, now on purpose, which is His purpose. And other times, I am so burdened for other places and people that I lose sight of this place and people around me. And other times, I am caught dreaming of the future, that I let the present slip right by.

So, I have to recall, over and over again, that His sovereignty gives purpose to the 'here' and to the 'now'. And I reckon I'll be learning this again, and again, and again, till I'm home.

Friday, 31 July 2009

it's (much!) more than a song

Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick ought to come with a warning label. It should say - Beware that if you read this book while in bed, you may not sleep afterwards, due to the glorious truths contained between these binds! Open at the risk of being changed forever!

I have slept very little these past few nights, and I blame it on the book, and the Holy Spirit who is changing me because of the book! And the funny thing is the effects of this all. I simultaneously feel as though I could sleep (like a baby!) because of His love and run around the world declaring (at the top of my lungs!) His love. And though I am tired today, I am as energized as ever! How is this so? Because He loves me.

'Jesus loves me.' You've heard this. And I bet a million bucks that you sang this every week at Sunday school as a child, and a billion bucks that you even know the hand motions. And speaking of motions, I’m afraid that’s all this song might be to us. A popular Sunday school tune. A sweet message. A nice line from the Bible. A cute song we sang as a child.
But it is so much more!

Those three words offer all the hope, joy, peace, and fulfillment that a person could ever need, let alone want! His love gives me a purpose to live and provides the foundation to fulfill that purpose! His love 'covers a multitude of sins'. His love 'drives out fear' because it is perfect. And "the width and length and depth and height" of His love fulfills "with all the fullness of God." And right there, you can enjoy forgiveness, peace, and satisfaction because He loves you. And that's only the beginning, my friend. R.C. Chapman got it right when he said, “When we would consider the love of God in Christ, we are as one approaching the ocean; he casts a glance on the surface, but the depths he cannot sound.”

I am just astounded, which is only natural when one considers the fact that God decided to love the world. A world rampant with blaspheming, arrogant rebels who belittle His existence daily with their selfish ways and hideous idols. Nevertheless though, 'God is love' and loved us 'while we were still sinners'. And He 'so loved us' that He 'spared not His own Son, but gave Him up for us all', which in doing so satisfied His just wrath. What a love! Undeserved but nevertheless 'lavished upon His children'!

My life was saved and is being changed Because He Loves Me.

P.S. I'm being dead serious about that warning label!

the absurdity of worry

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Luke 12:6-7

It is foolish for us to worry. In fact, it is downright preposterous! Almost hilarious! Think about it. Can not the God who is currently spinning the planets, keeping their orbits perfectly on track, the God who lights up our day with the sun and our night with the moon, the God who is curtailing the mighty tides of the ocean take care of His children?

If He can count the stars and sand, I wouldn't dare (for one minute!) doubt that He can count the hairs on my head. And if He clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the birds of the air, will He not both clothe and feed me, His loved and adopted child?

Not to mention, God has a perfect track record. That bears repeating - perfect! Let me borrow the words of Amy Carmichael here. "Has He ever failed you yet? Never! Never! Wherefore fret?”

So let's put an end to our anxiety, by putting an end to our unbelief in God's promises to His children. And let's kill worry once and for all, because every time we worry, we are not only being ridiculous, but we are making a mockery of our Heavenly Father's unfailing hand. He has every right to be trusted. And we have every reason to be trusting.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

wake up call!

I am currently reading Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick. It's one of those books that ends up overwhelmingly yellow, from being attacked by the high-lighter! Anyways, this point in particular hit me, like a bag of bricks! It got me to thinking, which has got me to writing.

God's love isn't just important; it's essential! True love on our part can only be initiated and sustained by His true love, and the working of the Holy Spirit. Taking this into consideration, we should be alarmed at the self-help books stalking the shelves at the local Christian book store, and we should be just as weary singing songs to the Lord that declare our determination to follow Him, barely mentioning His determination to cause us to do so. It must always start, and stay with God! It's time to close those books that focus on us. And it's time to open our Bible! For when the focus is on Him (as it rightfully should be!), then and only then can authentic, lasting change happen to us!

It is frightening that we have strayed to take the first part of Philippians 4:13 to heart, that "we can do all things", and lost the second (vital!) part "through Christ who strengthens us". When His Word speaks of the believers' responsibilities and abilities, they are never spoken of separate from the fact of God's empowerment. The phrases "through Christ" and "by the Holy Spirit" are always attached to phrases such as: "I can do all things" and "all things are possible." God makes it crystal clear that it is only with Him and through Him, anything gets done. And just in case you still don't believe it, God rewords this idea for us! "Apart from Me, you can do nothing." Get it now?

Here's a thought...
Our relationship with God is ultimately His doing!

It is only by His mercy and grace that we've been pardoned and adopted. It is only by His power and Spirit that we are able to serve Him. It is only by His kindness that we are able to breathe another day. It is only by His sustaining strength that we are able to persevere.

All this to say, it is impossible for a Christian to walk, even a step, independent of His transforming work of love. We ought to be checking ourselves (constantly!) to see if we are under the arrogant delusion that somehow we are the catalyst of change. I mean, who do we think we are? Last time I checked, we deserve nothing! Have we mistaken His mercy to be merited on our part? If so, it's time for a reality check. Get a dictionary! Get a Bible! Mercy is entirely His gracious choice. It has nothing to do with us, apart that it is given to us. We need to humble and surrender our-pitiful-helpless-hopeless-selves, and realize His essential, life-changing love!

O God, let me not forget this - that is is completely and always God at work, lest for one minute I take pride in myself and fall. The only type of falling I want to do is on my knees, in realization of my weakness if left to myself. And thank God, that He doesn't decide to leave me to myself.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

the five senses

Some people with sight don’t see. Some people with hearing don’t hear. They go through life blind and deaf. They plug their nose, keep their shoes on, and waste their taste buds.

Tonight I got to spend a few minutes alone by the ocean.

I opened my eyes. The sun had already sunk below the water, but its golden hues remained to grace the sky. Colours blended and their shades befriended, leaving a sight that was undoubtedly painted by the great Artist. Creativity at its finest!
I opened my ears. The waves rolled and crashed. The water raced all around my feet. Then bubbles fizzed until the water was sucked back out by the mighty tide of the mighty blue. The noise was constant.
I breathed in the abundance of crisp air. I took of my shoes and let my toes sink into the soggy sand. I let the wind play with my hair. And I tasted the salt.

And let me tell you… tangled hair, sandy feet, and salty skin is worth it! Yes it is!
You know, God gave us all our five senses to use! So, use them! And then praise Him! Join in with the standing ovation of His creation!
{what a world! what a God!!}

Wednesday, 8 July 2009


It’s sad when you wake up in the middle of the night to the sprinklers, thinking it’s raining. Once I remember, however, that I’m in California, and it never rains here, I settle back into my pillow again and just pretend.

In these recent days I came across two phenomenal movies on the tube – Veronica Guerin and Blood Diamond. What the two movies had in common were very brave journalists, fighting to report the truth, who refused to be deterred!
Veronica Guerin was an Irish investigative reporter who spent her life (and gave it in the end!) to revealing the truth about drugs and crime in Ireland! She was beat up and even shot, but that only proved to be more fuel for the fight! ‘Big problems call for big commitment.’ And this Irish lady committed herself to a cause, despite the danger, regardless of the threats. The enormity of the drug problem in Ireland got her writing, and kept her writing!
And the same heroism is starred in Blood Diamond, as there is yet another fearless journalist investigating and reporting in the face of great tragedy and misfortunate reality. She left American ‘bling-bling’ for African ‘bling-bang’ and devoted herself to unveiling huge injustice and deceit! She dodged the bullets. She asked the hard questions. She wrote the hard stories. Amidst political unrest and oppression, she uncovers what we call ‘conflict diamonds’.
Good movies invoke a lot of reflection. And reflect, I have. I have put myself in their shoes, in Ireland and in Africa, and ask myself if I would be so brave, as to stand up to crime and injustice. Or even more importantly, would I be so brave as to stand up for the Gospel? After all, isn’t Jesus Christ of the Gospel most worthy of my life, and death?
And then I remember – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” He says to “not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Something not just to think about folks, but to live about!

The other day at work, an adorable little girl said to me, as she and her mum were leaving the store, “Ok, well have a good night.” I said, “You too!” of course. A minute later she came back and said, “And when you wake up in the morning, have a good morning.”

Well, good night folks. And when you wake up in the morning, good morning!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

impossible is nothing

Sorry, Adidas. Your slogan actually belongs to us.

I love what Adrian Rogers said - "If you realized you were inhabited (by the Holy Spirit!), you would not be inhibited."

And I love even more what Jesus told His disciples! "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8

People! it's time to wake up and smell the power! The moment we were saved, God gave us His Holy Spirit! He is with us!

Amen, and amen.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

transportation. tea. toe-tapping. trustworthy.

My work office is right beside an airport, and so there are always planes ascending and descending outside my window. I always wonder where they are going, or where they have come from. And sometimes I wish I could hop on one of them, and go for an adventure.

I am a self-declared tea-addict. I love everything about tea. The smell. The taste. The warmth. But apart from it being absolutely soothing and delicious, I love that tea invites a conversation. Share a cuppa, and have a chat. They go together so wonderfully.

At my work, I spend most the time filing and folding paper, then stuffing and sealing envelopes. (Yes, it's exciting as it sounds!) But thanks to my ipod, the hours pass quite quickly. Today I got back to my roots, and tapped my toe to Gaelic Storm, The Cottars, The Dubliners, Eileen Ivers, and Riverdance. It took everything within me to not stand up and do a jig right in the middle of the office. Instead, I settled for toe-tapping, and dreamt that I was the lead dancer in Riverdance. (Like that will ever happen! But a girl can dream, can't she?) Let music stir your soul.

I used to be obsessed with alliterations. How obsessed? you ask. Well, let me give you an example. I would end my birthday cards to people with this: {and I quote} Have a day bombarded with bliss, packed with perfection, loaded with laughs, stuffed with smiles, and jammed with joy! Now, is that ridiculous or is that ridiculous? Yes, I was a bit weird as a child, but who wasn't? We all had (and have!) our little quirks, whether we admit them or not. And, I confess, alliterations still have a place in my heart. But then again, doesn't take a genius to see that (see title)!

Something to meditate on ...
"Not one of all the LORD's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled." Joshua 21:45
God has never failed, nor does He intend to start. Now, isn't that encouraging!

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

the highest crime

God forbid, that we complicate, categorize, or compromise the beautiful simplicity of the most important command in all of Scriptures - to love the Lord Jesus (with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength!).

I plead guilty of disobedience, of neglect. I have committed the highest crime, in the highest degree. I have 'lost Jesus' in my Christian walk. But God is faithful in awakening me to the possibility of that paradox, and it is frightening, folks. To overlook Jesus (the Saviour, my Saviour) is something I'm afraid we all do more than we would like to think.

I now see my pride, and it is ugly (very ugly). I've been impressing myself lately with applying Biblical principles, good conversations, going to church, encouraging others, and even trying to share the Gospel. All of which, are (very) good things, if done because I know and love Jesus. Those things should follow naturally a love for Jesus, but never be done independently or primarily. And so, I'm disgusted to admit, that in it all, I have failed in what is most important- knowing Jesus.

Is He just an acquaintance? A 'go-to'? A refuge? A 'get-out-of-hell card'? Or is He our everything? Our most precious Jewel? Our most intimate friend? Our most beloved Father?

He keeps His promises (thank Him for that!). How about we start keeping His commandments?, starting with the first, "love Him".

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

what's it gonna be, folks?

You have two choices, ladies and gentlemen. Either you will be a thermometer or you will be a thermostat.
[A thermometer is an instrument for determining temperature. A thermostat is a device for regulating temperature.]

In other words,
(option one - thermometer)
- You are thrown to and fro in the ebb and flow of life. You let the ups and downs of life put you on a never-ending emotional roller coaster. You're happy one minute, upset the next. You allow circumstances to dictate your mood. You panic. You pout. You disregard His promises. You act as though you do not have a Heavenly Father.

or (option two - thermostat)
You cling to the One who is unchanging and let Him keep you still. Take that thought a step further, and you'll see that our attitude ought not to fluctuate because the good character of our God does not change (ever!). You let His Gospel govern your thoughts, and thus peace, hope, strength, and joy are all your's (all of the time) in Christ Jesus. You rest and rejoice, for your Heavenly Father knows what you need.

Remember, two choices. Let's be thermostats, steady and steadfast in our Lord!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

cracked pots and crackpots

D.L. Moody once said, "We can never be too small for God to use; only too big."

Ever noticed that God deliberately chooses the weak and the foolish to do something great for His name? God loves to use the nobody because, by doing so, He will get the greatest glory, [as He is due]. He is the only worthy Somebody.

He says, "This one I esteem: He who is humble and contrite (repentant) in spirit, and trembles at My Word."

It is good to know and feel our inadequacy, for it is true. We are incapable to even breath, if it were not for His life-giving grace. The beauty of it is though, that He will still glorify Himself by using us, as silly and stupid as we are. He uses cracked pots and crackpots.

Our limits do not limit God. (Hallelujah! for that.)

Saturday, 20 June 2009


Words are heirlooms. They are passed down from generation to generation, and are of more value than anything else. These days, I'm collecting old lyrics, old rhymes, old sayings, and old quotes.

To live for Christ,
you live again.
To live for self,
you live in vain.

[as Granda Gordon says]

And you know what I'm realizing? Time cannot age certain things.
Truth stays true.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

the immortal beetle (not for much longer)

So, in the office where I work, we have a problem with water beetles. The other day, one scurried across the carpet, and I near had a heart-attack. I mean these things are massive, the size of a blue whale (and I'm not even exaggerating!). Anyways, thanks to the brave Lisa, he was squashed immediately. (Serves him right, thinking he can share our office!) However, that wasn't the end of it. His brother decided to make an appearance yesterday, and what a fast little critter he was. After many savage attempts to exterminate him, we dubbed him the immortal beetle. He refused to die and scurried away behind the filing cabinets, where he still probably resides, sneering at his human hunters. But not for long, beetle you, not for long! Bug exterminators are on their way. Victory to the humans! and we will lived happily ever after.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

still strumming at seventy

Ever leave a c.d. in your car, so good, that you actually can't wait to drive so you can listen to it? Well, I do. And let me tell you, it's great incentive for the 30 minute commute to work during the ridiculously early hours of the morning. The c.d. (entitled: La Cruz) was given to me by an elderly woman from my church. Se llama, Lupe.

She is a dear woman, and perhaps the funniest old woman I have ever met. Oh, the laughs I've had because of her. But what I love most about Lupe is her passion. Nothing (and I mean nothing!) can stop Lupe from praising the Lord. And the best part is, she loves to praise Him with her guitar. (She has this great, little, old guitar from Mexico.) Still strumming at seventy. Now that's a testimony!!

Anyways, every Sunday, she always has a Spanish song printed out for me. But this past week, she greeted me with un regalito (little gift). And it is this regalito that keeps me singing all the way to work. Gracias Lupe.

(p.s. I love that we have a multilingual God!!)

Sunday, 14 June 2009

wisdom. laughter. memories.

I will never forget last night.

Listening about my grandparent’s lives. Hearing my granda’s impersonations. Listening to some of their favourite ‘numbers’ as they would call them. Hearing them sing along. Watching them waltz together. Learning a few steps myself.

They met at a postcard stand in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1957. She was seventeen. He was twenty-five. Still now, he says he married the ‘right wee girl’. I’ve never met two people still so in love. I near cried twice.

Memories are in the making.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

stupid little me

I wrote this a while ago and just came across it the other day.

"The other evening I was riding home after a heavy day's work. I felt very wearied, and sore depressed, when swiftly, and suddenly as a lightning flash, that text came to me, "My grace is sufficient for thee." I reached home and looked it up in the original, and at last it came to me in this way, "MY grace is sufficient for thee"; and I said, "I should think it is, Lord," and burst out laughing. I never fully understood what the holy laughter of Abraham was until then.

It seemed to make unbelief so absurd.

It was as though some little fish, being very thirsty, was troubled about drinking the river dry, and Father Thames said, "Drink away, little fish, my stream is sufficient for thee." Or, it seemed after the seven years of plenty, a mouse feared it might die of famine; and Joseph might say, "Cheer up, little mouse, my granaries are sufficient for thee." Again, I imagined a man away up yonder, in a lofty mountain, saying to himself, "I breathe so many cubic feet of air every year, I fear I shall exhaust the oxygen in the atmosphere," but the earth might say, "Breathe away, O man, and fill the lungs ever, my atmosphere is sufficient for thee." Oh, brethren, be great believers! Little faith will bring your souls to Heaven, but great faith will bring Heaven to your souls." --C. H. Spurgeon

I find myself at times, thinking and living like that little fish, that little mouse, and that man. drowning, starving, suffocating, all because I fail to believe, to trust, to rest .... in Him.

May it not be so when I consider His grandeur, vastness, depth, breadth, and width, His love, provision, and mercy.

A God, so high, so strong, so loving, so lovely - what have I to fear? What have I to want?
I never have, never do, and never will lack, because of Him.

His grace has brought me hitherto, helps me now, and will always continue. The times when I fret, are the times I have forgotten.

His grace is sufficient, and that is the story of my life.

God grant me a better memory.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

thank God for nothing

Thank God for nothing. Sounds heretical, right? Well, I assure you, it's not.

This past Sunday my dad spoke on Psalm 103. And that was his sermon title. I went back and forth between two plausible causes for such a title. Either it was a very misfortune typo, or it was yet another clever play on words. The latter proved true quick enough.

Let us not just thank God for everything, that He has given us in His grace; but also let us thank Him for what He doesn't give us, in His mercy.

"He forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
satisfies your desires with good things."
.... thank God for everything.

"He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities."
.... thank God for nothing.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

confessions of a happy sheep

I love babysitting because it brings out the kid in me.

Tonight we made a fort, but not just any old regular fort. Noooo sir. We made a mansion-fort. Three rooms. Loads of pillows. Perfect roof. I mean, I don’t mean to brag or anything, but it was one heck of a fort!! But I must give credit where credit is due. Please put your hands together for Daniel, the mastermind behind the design, the emerging architect of this day. He made the blue-prints. (Official, I must say. He even used a blue sharpie.) And he even directed the construction. The fort lasted an hour. Success, ladies and gentlemen, success.

And then we had ice-cream, in the fort, of course. The kids say it tastes better that way.

Anyways, onto more important things… this week I pulled out some old sermon recordings of my dad’s. The ones I listened to were entitled: Confessions of a Happy Sheep, and were on Psalm 23:1. “The LORD is my Shepherd. I shall not want (for anything).” David here, when he penned those words, was looking back to his shepherd days and draws one of the most beautiful metaphors in.all.of.Scripture. What David was to his sheep (provider, protector, companion), he says that God has been to him infinity times more!!

David had what everybody wants, what everybody is searching for, what everybody would give everything for… and that is: sufficiency and security. David says, “I shall not want. And I will not fear,” *BECAUSE* “the LORD is my Shepherd.” A.W. Tozer put it well. “The man who has God for his treasure has all things in one. For having the Source of all things, he has in one – all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight.”

Because God has always been to Himself what He needs Himself to be, is He not (more than) enough for us? Because He is self-sufficient, is He not, thus, (all) sufficient for us?

They “lacked nothing”. (Deuteronomy 2:7)
Neither will we, only if we fill the hole in our soul with the ‘fullness of God”.

The psalmist tells us –
For my weariness, I have green pastures.
For my anxieties, I have still waters.
For my faltering, I have restoration.
For my perplexity, I have guidance.
For my fear, I have comfort.
For my enemies, I have a table.
For my hurts, I have an anointing.
And for my end, I have the Father’s house. (What about that for a happy ending?)

Martin Luther once commented that “personal pronouns are the difference between true religion and false religion.” I am so glad that He is my Shepherd. I hope that He is your's.

Thursday, 28 May 2009


Northern Ireland is where I was born and where I lived till I was almost six. Though I was very young, I do remember a few things, though I must attribute the strength of these memories to home-videos and visits.

I remember being at the beach, building sand castles under cloudy skies. I remember circling round-abouts with Uncle Ian till we were nearly sick. I remember feeding pigeons and swinging on swings. And perhaps my strongest memory is Irish dancing all around the house. (I still sometimes do this.)

To this day I love being by the ocean, especially when the skies are gray, and I still absolutely love to swing. I fondly regard pigeons and would circle round-abouts if there were any here.

All this to say, I have a thought that I would like to think through on paper. And so paper, please be patient with me.

“And if you should become a stranger, you know that that would make me more than sad.” This is a song about Scotland, and it has made me cry more than once before. And then it has made me think, more than twice before.

You see, I have grown up in a very Northern Irish setting, even within the United States. We sort of speak a different language at home. We love our tea, enjoy all sorts of craic (our term for good fun), and we treasure our sweets and biscuits (candy and cookies, for all you Americans). I’ve grown up blasting Irish music in the car, instead of the latest pop band. And I’ve listened to, and at times joined, when I’m brave enough, countless ‘lively conversations’ (that to the American would appear as quite the debate) about the politics of the country to the operations of the church there. I’ve always quite preferred their sense of humour and feel as though I could live on tea and chocolate bars. I invite a ‘lively conversation’ any day and wouldn’t mind getting my accent back.

At the same time though, I am very much so American, and am the first to say that I have loved living here, loved much about the people, and loved many people. I have immensely enjoyed the opportunities and outlook here, and am extremely thankful that I have had the privilege of spending most of my life here. And probably will spend most of the rest of my life here, if God deems.

But still, there is that longing in my soul, for the Emerald country. I know a bit of it, for a part of my life was there. And I know much of it from visiting and visitors, and my parents of course. But there is still so much I don’t know, that I crave to discover.

At this point, I would call Northern Ireland two things – one of my homes, and an acquaintance, and a very good one at that. And if this acquaintance was to become a stranger, you know, that would make me more than sad.

My hope rather is that perhaps one day, I can call her a true friend, after having spent precious time with her, getting to really know her and enjoying the wonderful things that I have heard about her and gotten a taste of from her dear friends.

I miss something, I think, because I have missed many things.
Just to name a few- growing up in their churches and schools and learning their culture by living in the depths of it.

But then, of course, I am glad I have missed those things because I have enjoyed so very much here. And I would never change that. Never. I trust that God knew best and moved us according to His perfect clock and plan.

Still, a good song from home makes me miss her.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

backyard bliss

I had chocolate with my cereal this morning. Should I be concerned?

Twas a glorious yesterday and today. I (finally!) went to Target and developed my photos from a semester in Israel and Egypt. I must have stood at the Kodak picture machine for a solid hour, sorting through hundreds and hundreds of shots. Let the scrapbooking begin!!

I would define today as: backyard bliss. I spent my whole afternoon with two very sweet wee girls. Stella is five and Coco turns three tomorrow (about which she is so excited that she burst into singing happy birthday to herself a day early). We coloured. We blew (is that really the past tense of blow?) bubbles till we nearly passed out. We bounced on the trampoline until we were all bounced out. We sipped apricot tea. (A five year old who drinks tea!! I love it.) And thanks to Stella, each of my toes is painted a different colour, ‘like the rainbow’ she says. And all the while, we listened to the birds because ‘they all sing a different song’.

I do believe that we have a lot to learn from children. Simplicity is a beautiful thing.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Scotland has arrived!!

Last night was an exciting night in the De Courcy household. My Gran May and Granda Gordon arrived in from Scotland, and along with them, a whole suitcase full of … the goods. Tea bags. Chocolate bars. Biscuits (aka: cookies). Oh it was wonderful. We all sat up late chatting and catching up over many a cuppa. They are here for the next few weeks and so I’m bound for many a laugh and story. My granda is known among the family as the comedian. He is still pulling pranks, though he’s near eighty. And for as old as he is, his jokes never tire. He always has a trick up his sleeve and has us laughing all the time. And my gran… now can she tell a story!! She instantly has her audience captivated by her thick brogue, sparkling eyes, and hand motions. Not to mention, she is the most in-style 70 year old I have ever known. The lady is always in a pair of high heels. I actually plan on borrowing a pair. Who needs my sisters anymore to share with? I have my gran.

By the way, my gran is ‘shrinking’ in height. What most would attribute to the aging process, my granda blames on Scottish short-bread.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

God, keep us from being merely dreamers. Make us doers.

I wish we could send mail to heaven. If we could, I would. I would write a thank you letter to Charles Haddon Spurgeon for writing all that he did, for he always points me to the lovely Lord Jesus.

The other day I was sorting through some boxes in the garage and came across a book called Morning and Evening. It is a collection of writings from Spurgeon, a late lover of God. I cracked it open then and there, and haven't closed it since.

This one especially spoke to me. May it speak to you as well.

“Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.”
Ecclesiastes 9:10
"‘Whatsoever your hand finds to do’ refers to works that are possible. There are many things which our heart finds to do which we never shall do. It is well it is in our heart; but if we would be eminently useful, we must not be content with forming schemes in our heart, and talking of them; we must practically carry out ‘whatsoever our hand finds to do.’ One good deed is more worth than a thousand brilliant theories. Let us not wait for large opportunities, or for a different kind of work, but do just the things we ‘find to do’ day by day. We have no other time in which to live. The past is gone; the future has not arrived; we never shall have any time but present. Then do not wait until your experience has ripened into maturity before you attempt to serve God. Endeavour now to bring forth fruit. Serve God now, but be careful as to the way in which you perform what you find to do – ‘do it with your might.’ Do it promptly; do not fritter away your life in thinking of what you intend to do tomorrow as if that could recompense for the idleness of today. No man ever served God by doing things tomorrow. If we honour Christ and are blessed, it is by the things which we do today. Whatever you do for Christ throw your whole soul into it. Do not give Christ a little slurred labour done as a matter of course now and then; but when you do serve Him, do it with heart, and soul, and strength. But where is the might of a Christian? It is not in himself, for he is perfect weakness. His might lies in the Lord of Hosts. Then let us seek His help; let us proceed with prayer and faith, and when we have done what our ‘hand finds to do’ let us wait upon the Lord for His blessing. What we do thus will be well done, and will not fail in its effect."

Well said, Spurgeon. Well said. Oh how I need to hear this, often!! I pray to God to make us faithful doers, here.

The other week I went to go see Slumdog Millionaire with my sister. At the finish of the movie, as the credits were rolling, I was ready to go to India with the good Gospel news. However on the car-ride home, I was convicted as I reminded Beth, who was about to buy a plane ticket with me, that He has placed us here currently and has called us to share His love with the people here. (Funny how God often challenges me when I'm in the middle of challenging others.) While yes, it is all fine to desire to do something noble for the Lord elsewhere, it is wrong to forget or fail in the place He has placed us at any given time. We too often as Christians look forward to 'missions' and abort our mission here. Is not California just as lost as India? Is not the name and justice and mercy of Jesus made a mockery of in the United States? Are there not lost and lonely people just around the corner? All that to say, let us not disobey His command 'here' and expect to fill it 'there'. Be consistent. Get real. And let's start lighting up our work-place, home, school campus, and street.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

summer so far

I think I’m addicted to Honey Bunches of Oats, the cereal. I went to bed last night, hoping that morning would come quickly, because morning means cereal!!

How glad I am that these summer days have arrived.

Summer is wonderful for many reasons. Sunshine and music. Time with my family. Walks around the neighbourhood. Beautiful nights and no homework to stop me from enjoying them. Cups of tea and writing letters. But most of all, I love it for the freedom. The freedom to read and write whatever. The freedom to go to the library and pick up any book that fits my fancy. The freedom to study Spanish. You get to do certain things that you had to put on hold during the school year.

Oh this summer is going to be wonderful. A lot to enjoy. A lot to accomplish.

So far, I’ve enjoyed a visit from an amiga. I brought her to my most favourite place in all of Orange … the Orange Circle. It’s where I bring everybody who comes to visit. So if you’re ever around, phone me, we’ll go. Anyways, it’s one of the biggest antique malls in America and is home to my favourite diner. The Filling Station. It’s a converted gas station, where cars used to go to fill up. Now people go. Banana pancakes, fresh fruit, Spanish omelet … coming right up. oh yes.

Anyways, as always it is a good time catching up with a friend. And catch up we did, over cups of tea and a nice long walk. Not to mention, we watched I Am Sam, probably one of the best movies ever made. It never gets old. I love it more every time.

We just moved into this house about a month and a half ago, and so, as you can imagine, there is plenty to do. And because flowers always help make a house a home, mum and me spent nearly the entire afternoon in the garden yesterday and today. I still have soil in my fingernails to prove it. Weeding, watering, planting. We did it all. And I must say, although pulling out weeds isn’t exactly the most amusing thing in the world, it is quite satisfying when you get a deep root out; actually it becomes a sort of game to find the longest root.

Tonight I went to the meeting at my church. We learned from Jesus’ example on how to pray. We looked at the Lord’s Prayer. Point in brief: ‘For prayers to get to heaven, they must start in heaven.’ In other words, prayer is about His glory, as is everything. It is His will be done. It is His name and fame taking preeminence. It is us surrendering to His pleasure and perfect purposes. And in doing so, it is all well with our souls.

Summer... so far, so good.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Paper is Patient

It was Anne Frank who once commented that paper is one of our most patient friends. It waits for us to articulate our thoughts. And I am so glad for that.
I think that is one of the reasons I most love to write. Writing allows us to think through things, figure things out, and then best of all, record them, for when our memories let us down.
And not only that, but writing is a wonderful way to share. To share life. To share memories. To share laughs. To share tears. To share blessings. To share with others that which God is doing in our lives.
So hence the reasons for starting this blog. Now I just hope all my readers are as patient as paper.

Unfading Hope

Well it’s been a few weeks now. A few weeks of looking and listening for that perfect blog title. A few weeks of patiently waiting for that moment of ingenious glory to fall upon me.
I’m telling ya, naming your blog is quite a responsibility. You want it to mean something. To be an authentic representation of your soul and your goals. You want something clever, something catchy… but not cheesy. Absolutely no cheese allowed.
So, here I am to report that after weeks of searching for that blow-your-socks-off blog title, I have come to this …
Unfading Hope.

Now, I know. It’s not that original. It doesn’t have some deep, secret meaning. It’s not a metaphor, and it’s not even alliterated. But it’s true. And I like it, because of that.
I have a hope imperishable, undefiled, which fadeth not away. I have a hope that never disappoints. I have a hope that is never put to shame. I have hope today, and I have hope for every tomorrow into eternity.
… because of Jesus Christ. Who is the Hope, who is my hope.
(And so it is only proper that the theme of my life is the name of this blog.)