Saturday, August 19, 2017

A Sacred Copyright by SUSAN HARRIS

One of my Facebook  pages is devoted to prayer. Each year I choose a theme, and this year, the theme is God’s Direct Words. As last year drew to a close, I felt a strong desire to hear God speak to me as He spoke to His people in the Old Testament, and through thought He impressed on me to study His directs words. Not when it is repeated by Moses or another but when HE first says it directly to Moses or another. 

I feel a holy awe come over me each time I read God’s direct words, as if I am there. I tremble when the people trembled. I pause when His presence stands still in a cloud.  Each time I highlight those sacred words with my yellow highlighter in my Bible or copy and paste from the online NIV Bible, I feel His presence.  God promises in Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ (NIV) . I sincerely believe this, and each time I call, I glean a fresh truth, a hidden insight from His words.

I chose the post from July 28 to highlight in this blog, “Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. 31 Say to the Israelites, ‘This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come. 32 Do not pour it on anyone else’s body and do not make any other oil using the same formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred.33 Whoever makes perfume like it and puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut off from their people.”  Exodus 30:30-33 (NIV)

The thought the Lord dropped into my heart is that just as Aaron and his sons (and generations) had exclusivity to the anointing oil and holy garments, so too, it is with the intellectual property He has entrusted to us as writers, artists, singers, musicians, publishers. In the natural, copyrights, patents, and trademarks guard exclusivity, and there are fines and punishments associated with their theft, abuse and misuse. 

The Lord our Creator, the Lord of Hosts has consecrated our giftings, and He looks over them jealously. I believe that whoever desecrates or copy our work unauthorized will face a punishment similar to the “cutting off from the people.”

We can personalize the verse so that God speaks to us directly.
 “Anoint (insert your name or names) and consecrate (me, us) so (I, we) may serve You as (insert writer, singer etc).

Considering how effortless stealing intellectual property can be in today’s digital world, this assurance keep my heart at peace. I hope it will settle your heart, too.

SUSAN HARRIS is an author and speaker. This year she is focused on reading God’s direct words in the Old Testament on her 1-Minute Prayer page and is finding it transformational. Any is welcome to join.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Thorn in my Side - by Heidi McLaughlin

They are the bane of my existence but I can’t ignore them any longer.  The twelve large rose bushes that create a private hedge around my lower patio are covered in limp petals and desperately need pruning. Twice a year for over twenty-one years I’ve gritted my teeth, gathered my tools, put on my ragged long sleeved pruning shirt and tackled the thorns.  But this year I don’t have Jack to gather the debris and make it disappear. Ok kiddo, you’re on your own, give it all you’ve got!

Almost three hours later I’m sweaty, dirty and tired but the pruning is done and the debris hauled up the hilly side of the house to be recycled over a period of time.  As I stop to gulp down an entire water bottle, I see the blood on my arms and the side of my t-shirt where the thorns grabbed me and took pieces of skin. Why do I put myself through this misery?

Then I remind myself about the months of June and July.  Those days when I sat on the lower patio with my feet up reading a great book and surrounded by a hedge of bright pink petals and buds. Those thorny bushes had to be pruned to create this captivating beauty.

The pruning experience made me reflect on those times when I feel “thorny.” 
  • ·      Someone won’t let me merge
  • ·      A cashier chatting up a storm and holding up the line
  • ·      Someone who compares the pain of my second husband’s death to the loss of her dog
  • ·      When you’re having a bad day on the golf course and someone gives unwarranted advice and says: “When was the last time you had lessons?”

The apostle Paul, the greatest recorded missionary in the Bible had a “thorn in his side” (2 Corinthians 12:8). Three times Paul pleaded God to take this thorn away but God said: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” In other words, live with it, learn from it and in the harsh process become more like Christ.

Christ shed His blood so that we can be free to love each other and pass on His undeserving grace. I was willing to shed some blood for my rose bushes, but am I ready to put up with some emotional pain and extend grace to those things that feel “thorny?”

By the grace of God I am trying. I know that in the future when I feel “thorny” I will recall the blood on my sleeves and the pile of dead rose petals and pruning. Showing grace is beautiful but hard. But through the process I am becoming more beautiful from the inside out.

Heidi McLaughlin lives in the beautiful vineyards of the Okanagan Valley in Kelowna, British Columbia. Heidi has been widowed twice. She is a mom and step mom of a wonderful, eclectic blended family of 5 children and 12 grandchildren. When Heidi is not working, she loves to curl up with a great book, or golf and laugh with her family and special friends.
Her latest book RESTLESS FOR MORE: Fulfillment in Unexpected Places (Including a FREE downloadable Study Guide) is now available at;, or her website:

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Creative Power of Words

Have you ever considered the creative power of words? Words change the world. They bring order out of
Foster farm, Durham, ON
chaos. Words shine the light of day into the darkness of this world. From the very beginning words have been imbued with divine power. The psalmist reminds us, "By the word of the L
ORD the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth."

But it's not only God's words that have this vast power. Our words—human words, whether spoken written or thought have enormous power too. Adam's first job assignment was to speak words—to name the animals. Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals (Genesis 2: 19-20).

Strangely, God didn't do what every parent does. He didn't tell Adam what the animals were called. Adam told God their names. By so doing, God vested mankind with the power of language. Life is what we call it. Our words describe the world and give meaning to it.

MosaiCanada 150, Gatineau, Quebec
Through our words we bring order and make sense of the world around us. As a writer I am continually processing and attempting to make sense of this chaotic thing called life. I do it with words. From the beginning of time, by divine command that's what we are called to do. We are to speak order into chaos—speak accuracy and clarity into this world’s muddled reality.

With our words we shine the light of truth onto a situation. With words we write laws, administer justice and design government. With words we woo and romance and vow our love to one another. Our words create imaginary realms into which we can travel—words that transport. With our words we have the power to elevate the human spirit, or crush someone to the point of suicide.

Finally, there is something innately prophetic about our words. What we think, speak and write is potent. It has within in it the latent ability to become reality. Therefore, we need to guard our lips. See James 3:1-12. The psalmist reminds us not only of the power of the word of the L
ORD, but also our own words. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.

Response: LORD God, help me give careful consideration to my words. Today, may my words, whether written or spoken, be a creative force for good in Jesus' name. Amen.

Your Turn: How has God used your words for good lately? Are your words bringing order out of chaos?

David Kitz experiments in bringing order out of chaos in our nation's capital. His historical novel The Soldier Who Killed a King was released by Kregel Publications on July 25th. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Surprise Attitude Adjustment

Last week’s shopping trip left me feeling elated and deeply satisfied.  Now if you know me that is quite a statement!  Unlike many women, shopping for anything other than books, is not my favourite thing to do—not even weekly grocery shopping.  However last week turned out to be quite different.  This week I had an identical experience—all the more exciting because of the two happening barely a week apart.

Last week I had walked past the meat department and had rounded the corner past the laundry detergents.  I was headed for the baking goods when the new clerk behind the meat counter came rushing up to me. 

“Ruth?” she smiled with delight and assurance.


I wondered how she knew me and what she was so excited about.

“You don’t know me. I am a friend of Mike and Sarah’s and I just started working here.  Sarah let me read your book that she bought several years ago and I just love it.  I laughed and cried through it and was so sorry when it ended. I could have kept reading if it was twice as long.

 Sarah said it was you when you passed by and I wanted to come tell you how much I loved your book.”

“Was that my latest book or one of my novels?” I asked.

“You’ve written more than one book?” she asked with eyes aglow.  “I’m sorry, I can’t remember the title.  I just know that I almost lived in the story as I was reading it.”

That statement of her inability to remember the title was rather comforting to me, for much as I enjoy stories I read, I often am ashamed to admit that I can’t remember the title either.  Sometimes even the author’s name escapes my mind.   

Once we had established that it was my first novel, Not Easily Broken, I informed this excited and affirming reader that there was a sequel.

“Oh-hh!  Where can I get it?”

“I have one in my van right outside the store.  If you’d like one, I’ll bring it in to you when I take my groceries out.”

I finished my shopping and as I promised, brought the book to her.  She thanked me profusely.

This week, I was barely inside the store when she came hurrying toward my cart. 

“I took Not Far from the Tree home last week and I kept reading for a full day and into the night to finish it.  Again, I laughed and cried and lived with the characters until the book was finished.  You have a way of writing that takes you right into the setting and makes it feel so real.  I felt as though I was living right with them.  Could I get one of the first books from you so I have a matching set?  I just love your books! ”

Somehow the chore of shopping felt much lighter this week.  I came out of the store smiling and I’m still basking in the glow of knowing that someone enjoyed what I had written.  

Not Far from the Tree was based on Freda, a wonderful woman who became my dear friend when she was in her nineties.  Not Easily Broken was based on her mother's life.  Freda had a real sense of humour and a genuine interest in people.  I feel quite confident that she would have been pleased to know her life story and that of her mother meant so much to this reader and many more. She may even have been pleasantly surprised that her life could be that inspiring to much younger readers. We do not know what influence our lives have on others.

Nor do we, as writers often know what effect our writing has on people .  Getting occasional feedback like I received can renew our passion and give us new vision for continuing to tell stories. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Meeting the Unexpected--Carolyn R. Wilker

From The Guelph Enabling Garden website- Brian Holstein telling to an audience in the garden

This morning was planned months in advance—Tea and Tales, at The Enabling Gardens in Guelph. I was on deck with Jay Wilson, who is no stranger to theatre, with his puppet Prometheus. That the story telling was happening outdoors was just one of the features, in the beautiful Riverside Park in that fair city.
Several things have come into play over the last month and a half. One, that the crowd of seniors and others has multiplied over previous years so that there have been a hundred or more at any one telling. Maybe celebrating the 10th anniversary of Tea and Tales had something to do with it, or that the organizer, Brian Holstein, and his crew from Guelph Storytelling Guild did a lot of work to advertise the events. It may be the  first year that they used Facebook, but they also put up posters around town and promoted it to Baden Guild, of which I am a member, and any other people they knew who might be interested in the event.
When you have an outdoor event, you need to recognize that the weather can affect it. Today started out cloudy and overcast, meaning I could look into my audience’s faces without the need of a sunhat or sunglasses. It’s not really unexpected that there could be clouds and the chance of rain—sometimes a big chance—yet we started out with sunshine and a cool breeze coming off the river. Other Friday mornings this summer, the gathering located itself under one of the picnic shelters, but not this time. We hoped the rain would hold off just long enough. And before the stories began, we receive a blessing from a First Nations member who reminded us we were telling on what was truly native soil.

From Brian Holstein's photos of Tea and Tales

I’d asked to tell second since my friend Doris was coming from work in Kitchener and would be a bit late arriving, and so Jay took his place at the mic after introductions. I would follow him, to tell the second half of the hour.
Probably a good thing Jay went first as he had a laptop beside him. He used it for sound effects when he worked with Prometheus and also background music for a poem he recited that had been written by John Galt, founder of the city. His half hour was quite entertaining, and rain would not have been good for his laptop.

 past storytelling adventures- Open Doors Waterloo 2012

I began with a humorous short anecdote to follow up Jay’s serious ending to a historical tale, then followed with a folk tale, "Old Joe and the Carpenter," from storyteller Pleasant DeSpain. Then a personal story and another from childhood. I’d asked Brian, the host, to give me a signal concerning time, and he did. Not at 10 and 5 as we had planned, but at 5 minutes because of the raindrops that had already fallen.
Several people had put up their umbrellas, but I had the canopy of the tree that helped for part of my performance. The clouds threatened to give way. I offered one last short story and a woman came and stood by my side with her umbrella open, to protect me. I kept on telling, in spite of light rain, and finished the last story, another folk tale, "The Theft of Smell," by Pleasant DeSpain from his collection Tales of Wisdom and Justice.
As in storytelling today, there are often surprises, such as the small brown rabbit that hopped out of nowhere and right across the stage area as I told. I paused briefly as other eyes followed the rabbit's path, then resumed my story. A fellow storyteller said it reminded her of Snow White when the animals all came out when she appeared. Kind of neat that it happened.
Surprises in life happen often, in family and in community, some of them not so pleasant, with long-lasting effects, than at other times. But today's surprises were not hard to take. With God’s grace that holds us and his presence when we need it, we can handle the weather, even in a beautiful garden.

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love.”  2 John 1:3  NIV

where my stories began
 picture book available now from my website

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

150 Years later.... _HIRD

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird
How many remember the late Bobby Gimby’s best-selling song ‘Ca-na-da’ created for the 100th Anniversary of Canada in 1967? Gimby was known as the Pied Piper of Canada, wearing a cape as he led countless Canadian parades. Living in Montreal at the time, my sister and I had the privilege of singing Gimby’s song on TV in both English and French at Expo 67.  I went to Expo 67 ten times on the brand-new Montreal subway. Never will I forget seeing both the US and Russian spacecrafts.  I naively picked up and started wearing a red Russian ‘hammer & sickle’ pin from Expo 67.  Until my public-school teacher pulled me aside and clued me in, I had no idea of this pin’s political implications.
Image result for Bobby Gimby
Fifty years later, we are now celebrating our 150th Anniversary of this amazing land of Canada.  Who would forget those amazing fireworks displays at English Bay and all across our nation?  On July 1st, thousands of us gathered in a ‘Voices Together’ celebration on Canada’s 150th birthday at the Pacific Coliseum.  Many Canadians are unaware that July 1st was originally called Dominion Day because of our being the Dominion of Canada.  Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley, a Father of Canadian Confederation and twice the Lt. Governor of New Brunswick, rose each morning to start his day with prayer and Scripture reading.  As the 33 founding Fathers gathered in 1864 at Charlottetown, PEI, there were many suggestions on what to call this new nation. That morning, as Tilley read from Psalm 72:8, he became so convinced that Canada should be a nation under God, that when he came down to the Conference session, he presented the inspired name “Dominion of Canada”.  Our National Motto on our Coat of Arms “A Mari Usque Ad Mare” (from sea to sea) was drawn once again straight from Psalm 72:8. “He  
Tilley came to a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ in 1839 through his Anglican rector, the Reverend William Harrison. His life was so dramatically transformed that he even became an Anglican Sunday School teacher and a Church Warden (Elder).  Tilley’s son Harrison became a well-known Anglican priest.
One day, an 11-year old girl ran to Tilley for help, after her drunken father brutally stabbed her mother to death.  Because of this tragedy, Tilley went from being a quiet pharmacist to becoming the Premier of New Brunswick in his campaign for alcohol reform. When Tilley brought in actual alcohol legislation, he was burned in effigy, his house was attacked, and his family’s lives were threatened.
Image result for Leonard Tilley
 Tilley the ‘dry’ Anglican was good friends with Sir Charles Tupper the ‘drinking’ Baptist Premier of Nova Scotia.  Both shared a passion for railways which they believed were the key to the Maritimes’ future.  Sir Charles Tupper eventually became the Federal Minister of Railways, bringing the CPR railway line to Vancouver, and BC into Confederation. Before the arrival of the railway, traveling to Vancouver would take all summer by riverboat and stagecoach.
The 1864 Charlottetown meeting was originally intended to bring a Maritime Union of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, to defend against the threat of American invasion. But Tupper and Tilley dreamed bigger, inviting Ontario and Quebec to join them in a new Confederation. Tupper believed in the greatness of Canada, saying: “The human mind naturally adapts itself to the position it occupies. The most gigantic intellect may be dwarfed by being cabin’d, cribbed and confined. It requires a great country and great circumstances to develop great men.”
Tupper read the Bible fully from cover to cover by the age of eight. His father Charles Tupper Senior, a prohibitionist, was one of the founding fathers of the fast-growing Maritime Baptist Churches. While training as a medical doctor in Edinburgh, Charles Jr discovered Scotch from which he never recovered.  Tupper served as first president of the Canadian Medical Association.
In 1867 the Halifax Morning Chronicle had described Tupper as “the most despicable politician within the bounds of British North America.”  Throughout his career Tupper was variously described as “the Boodle Knight,” the “Great Stretcher” (of the truth), “the old tramp,” the “Arch-Corruptionist,” and “the old wretch.”.
Image result for charles tupper
Tupper has the distinction of being the shortest-serving Prime Minister in Canadian history, even beating out Joe Clark and Kim Campbell (67 days!). His marriage, despite allegations of philandering, lasted longer than any other Prime Minister: 66 years!
Tupper, the longest-surviving Father of Confederation, served in six federal cabinet portfolios. If there was something that was really difficult to get done, somebody who needed to be won over, Macdonald often said: ‘Call Tupper.’ Tupper could make things happen.
In 1883 a British Columbia contractor close to Tupper was awarded a two-million-dollar job, even though rivals submitted lower bids. The opposition suspected a payoff. Tupper faced a legal challenge and demands for a full inquiry. He promptly left his retirement home in Vancouver and sailed for London, far from the cry of scandal, to take a diplomatic posting.
On our 150th Anniversary, Sir Charles Tupper and Sir Leonard Tilley remind us that God can use the most unlikely people in building a nation.

Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

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