Baptist women sharing and caring with each other all over Atlantic Canada. We have removed member login access to the blog - it is now in a read only state. You will be able to view all posts, however commenting has been turned off due to recent security problems.
If you find that strange, just let me ask -- Are there any movies or television shows that you have watched more than once? My guess is that there is. And why do we like to see or read things over and over? One reason is that the familiarity is comforting or pleasing, the other is that we often notice something that we missed the first, or susequent time. That's the way it is for me with some books -- so I struggle with passing them on in case I want to read the story again.
I had the experience of seeing something new in one of Jesus parables this week. I couldn't tell you how many times I have read, or heard the parable of the sower and the seeds; -- too many to count. But, for some reason this week I thought of the soil in particular. Usually I have thought of the seed,or the sower, or the "people" that the "fruit" represent. But this week, it was the soil that struck me.
There are four types of soil mentioned:
--the hard packed soil along the path where the birds could eaily take the seed
--the rocky soil that prevented the seed from taking root
--the thorny soil where the seed took root and grew, but was then choked out
--and lastly, the good soil, where the seeds took root, grew and bore fruit
This is one of the few parables that Jesus told his disciples what it meant -- he compared the soil to the hearts of people who heard or listened to the Word of God. The type of soil compares to the reaction of the people who hear.
What struck me is that in a garden, the soil can be changed. I have to admit, I don't garden, but I do know enough that when the ground is hard, you can dig it up, use a rototiller, get it so that it is able to be re-planted and germinate the seed. Rocks can be removed. I have heard how the early settlers to North America in particular used to have the rock sleds to take the rocks out before seeds were planted. And of course, any gardener has to contend with thorns. Thorns can be dealt with in many ways, but when they are removed, the seeds flourish again.
This made me think that missions, whether close to home or on the other side of the world, is an act of re-working the "soil" where the Word of God lands. Sometimes we have to be patient and really work on changing the way someone views the church and God. They might seem hardened to hear, but with time,and patience, and God's help, the "soil" can be changed and made earth that will bear wonderful plants.
The "rocks" that get in the way of someone growing in Christ can be removed too. That also takes time. It can be very heavy work. But it is possible, and that is what we are called to do -- to build relationships with people that allow those rocks to be addressed and broken up so that God's Word can really change a person.
Thorns, too, can be removed. They come in all sizes and from many sources. People who have heard God's word, started to change, but then gotten distracted by other demands in their life, or perhaps were hurt by something or someone in a church. They still consider themselves to be a Christian, but they don't live like a growing disciple of Christ because of the "thorns." Again, missions is about working on removing those thorns and producing healthy plants.
What kind of soil do you see around you? What can you do to re-work the soil so that the seed of God's Word will take hold and change people in a truly magnificent way? The job is ours as the sower of the seed. Thankfully, we also know the master farmer who is concerned for all the plants
The choices that an expectant mother has in reacting to a positive pregnancy are many -- but not easy to make. It doesn't really matter what the circumstances were that lead up to her becoming pregnant; at 17 she is still young. While we hear of many teen pregnancies, there are also a lot of women giving birth later in life too.
We know that abortion is easier to get today than it would have been in the past -- but still not an easy choice. Pregnancy of a single woman does not come with the same stigma that it would have done years ago. While there is still shame attached for many, we don't tend to hear of families throwing a girl out of the house when she becomes pregnant, and there aren't as many stories of "shotgun" weddings either. (Then again, that doesn't mean it isn't happening.)
As Christians who are trying to live and make choices according to God's Word, there are a lot of issues that come into play in a situation like this. Ignoring the question of how a girl became pregnant, there are serious issues regarding the life of the baby that is growing in her body.
The Bible very clearly tells us God is involved in the creation of all living beings -- Psalm 139 says that God knit us together in our mother's womb. In Jeremiah it says that God knew Jeremiah before he was ever born -- inferring that same knowledge for all of us. Humans are the only part of creation in Genesis that are described as having been made in the image of God -- we are special.
Human life is special -- human life is not something that we should end before it even starts outside the womb. As Christians we believe in the value of each human life, no matter how insignificant they may seem, or the stage of development they are at.
Of course, this belief does not sit well with many in our modern society. There are many who say that a woman must have the right to decide what happens to her body. In a sense, I agree with that -- but I think that a baby growing inside her has no voice, and that life should take precedence in importance over the "choice" of a mother.
I have a personal stake in this belief. Fifty years ago, there was a seventeen year old who became pregnant before she was married. (I don't know if she had even really considered marrying her boyfried before she knew she was going to have a baby.) That couple got married, (he was just 20), and made a life together.
I remember learning in Grade 13 Sociology that the majority of teen marriages didn't last -- but this one has lasted for fifty years now. You see, I was the baby that came from that relationship. I am humbled and mystified when I think of what could have happened, and thankful to God that abortion was not the choice that seemed best.
I asked my grandmother once what she thought when her seventeen year old daughter told her she was pregnant -- her response then was that she had hoped God would use the baby and that there would be a purpose for what had happened. -- Well, I would say that God does have a purpose for my life -- I still sometimes wonder exactly what it is, but I am so very thankful that God guided that 17 year old and 20 year old to keep their pregnancy and to have a baby.
By the way, it is this type of situation that Atlantic Baptist Women help with through the support we give to the Pregnancy Support Centres in the Atlantic provinces. There are seven of these centres in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI that our Home Missions revenues help. There are a lot of seventeen year olds (and others) who need to know that someone will help them in protecting the life that God has allowed to start in them.
For anyone wondering -- I turn 50 on May 3, 2016!
As you can see, my name is Annette Wells. I currently live in Prince Edward Island, but I grew up in Ontario. Church, and therefore learning about God, Jesus, and the Bible, have been part of my life for about as long as I can remember.
Missions has been an important part of my life experience too. One of my earliest memories is praying for a missionary from our church when I was about 4 years old. She was a missionary in Ecuador. I don't remember now what it was she was doing, but I am pretty sure it was with a mission radio station.
I served for seven summers as a "Summer Missionary" with Child Evangelism Fellowship -- most in Ontario, but one summer I went overseas with CEF. I felt God's call on my life to serve him from quite a young age, and investigated if He was calling me to serve as a missionary too. I spent three and a half months in Zambia many years ago now (maybe I will tell you just how long in another post.) That time lead me to get my Bachelor of Education and Teaching degree, but eventually I did not go to the mission field
After I moved to PEI, I felt God's push/call to become a pastor -- not something I would have thought possible when I was younger! -- While I have not been serving on an overseas mission field, missions has still been very important to me.
I appreciate all that Atlantic Baptist Women does to promote missions and mission awareness here in Atlantic Canada. I have also loved getting to know more about Canadian Baptist Ministries and the different projects that Staff are involved in.
Just recently I went with a team from my church here (First Baptist in Charlotetown) to Cuba, where CBM is partnered with the Fraternity of Cuban Baptist Churches. It was a "new" adventure for me -- one that felt right, like I was continuing with something I had done many years before. Getting there wasn't always easy, but God calls us to new adventures from time to time.
I see this blog as a new adventure too -- an opportunity to share with you some of what is going on in my life. Please feel free to comment and to ask questions. And please remember I am new to this. Hopefully I can improve and learn to add new things as things progress.
We have just celebrated our Thanksgiving Weekend and I am sure that people are still aching from eating too much turkey with all the trimmings and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving looked a little different in our house this year as our oldest was 18 on Thanksgiving Monday and decided that he wanted ham and scallop potatoes for his birthday supper. That did not go over well with his sister who wanted turkey and stuffing. I told her that we would have a turkey dinner the following weekend and reminded her that each day with Jesus is a day of Thanksgiving. She still was not happy!!!
I know for many it was hard to count their blessings this past weekend. Many people today are stuggling with finances, there are those who recently lost a loved one and many are suffering or know someone who is suffering with health issues. We need to remember that the thanksgiving comes not in the circumstances but in knowing that God through Jesus, is in the circumstances. We do not journey alone in our suffering as the thanksgiving comes when we can rejoice in God's presence with us always. So as the memories of the weekend celebration are still fresh in our mind let us pause to remember today and each day, to thank God for Jesus as without Jesus, without the cross, there would not be a reason to be thankful. Let us rejoice in the Lord always and give thanks each day.
It got me to thinking about how we as Christians are to be a light in the midst of darkness. Someone recently said to me, "that the darker the world gets the brighter we as Christians need to shine." So true!!!!! I realized that often we feel that it is the big things that we do that make a difference and the little stuff, well that is just not worth doing. However when I saw how much light came from that one little nightlight, I realized how just one small act of kindness, one act of forgiveness, one kind word, one small something can shed a lot of light in the middle of darkness. As Christians we are called to be light in this dark world. So this week, think of one small way you can share the love and light of Jesus Christ with someone you know or don't know. It does not have to be something big as "little is much when God is in it" just let your light shine.
The key to this passage is that we are to not trust our own judgement! Sometimes it is so easy to just move forward on our own but that's when we get into trouble. We need to trust that God knows best and follow God's leading and not our own. So as I send my children back to school trusting that God will take care of them, as you carry on in life no matter what is happening, trust the Lord and God will guide you and make very clear th road you are to follow!
As my holidays approach, I have to admit that I have been waiting for this break. In my devotional time I reflected on the fact that I have been waiting all year for this holiday time. Then something hit me, instead of waiting on this holiday time all year to renew my strength, I need to be waiting on the Lord each day all year round. Wait on the Lord, not an easy thing to do as often when we wait on the Lord it is not an instant fix but sometimes a long process. God's timing is not our timing. As hard as waiting on God is we are told through Isiaih 40:31, "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Yes, my holiday time will be a time to relax, but waiting on the Lord will renew! May we today in all that life will unfold take the time to wait on the Lord earnestly asking God to renew our strength, seeking God's presence in all that we see, say and do and may we through it all know that it is through God and God alone, that we are renewed. Let us wait upon the Lord.
As we are in the Lenten season journeying to the cross, I began to think about these signs and wondered if people see these new signs of life, God's life in me! The Spirit was prompting me to think of these signs of new life and how they are modeled in my life and it made me stop and think of my actions and my words. Do I speaks, do I enact these signs of new life. May the approaching time of Spring be a time when we reflect on the new life that is to come and may we examine our lives, to see how we are living as a follower of Christ.
I saw this quote when I was doing up my power point for Sunday and given the storm that is happening today I thought it was so appropiate. My 11 year old had decided last night that he and his friend were going to get up at 7 am and go coasting. Well it turned out to be 9 am but they took their sleds and in the blizzard went to the hill for some fun in the storm. "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain." Life is not about asking why the storm it is about asking God to journey with us through it all the while in the pain and struggle feeling and knowing the presence of God. I am always amazed at the panic that sets in our lives when the wheather storms hit and even more so when lifes' storm asail us. I am always reminded of the words from Isaiah that confirm to us that we are to not fear as God is with us. What a great God we serve and what a great assurance it is to know that God is with us through all the storms of life. As the wind howels, as the snow gathers let us all remember that God is with us and will see us through no matter what we face as there is nothing that can separate us from the love, grace and mercy of God.
It actually sounded so nice to hear the resounding joy of that carol. Why is it we pack away Christmas when we pack away the decorations? The hope, peace, joy and love of Christmas is not just a 4 week things it is a lifelong thing for the Christian. So, pack away the decorations but don't pack away Christ. Let the beauty and the meaning of Christmas remain with us as we now journey to the cross.
Now not only did one angel apprear but then there were many others and they all together praised God and then left. The shepherds at this point had two options, think they were dreaming and go back to what they were doing or listen to what the shepherds had said and check out this new baby. They we know they went to see the baby and stood in the presence of the Son of God.
What an amazing story! I am marvelled at the fact that God chose to send these lowly shepherds to the Christ child and that they were among the first to see the Lord. God comes to us all at Christmas, God comes to everyone and God's love is for all, the meek, the lowly, the depressed, the heartbroken, the addicted..... God loves us all. This Christmas share the story of the angels and the shepherds so that all can know that God came to redeem and love us all.
The Season of Advent is upon us and Christmas is fast approaching. Perhaps, you are already in the midst of shopping, cooking and cleaning, as you prepare for the season. Or, perhaps you are finding this year a difficult year, and would prefer to go to bed and hide under the covers until the season is all over. Whatever your situation, I’d like to share a short story with you.
Five candles slowly burned. Their flickering flame was so soft as they spoke. The First Candle said, “I am hope but nobody seems to have much hope these day.” So the flame slowly diminished and completely went out. The second candle said, "I am Peace. But these days, nobody wants to keep me lit." Peace's flame slowly diminished and completely went out. The third Candle said, "I am Joy. But these days, I am no longer felt." Joy's candle slowly diminished and completely went out. Sadly, the fourth Candle spoke "I am Love. I haven't the strength to stay lit any longer. People put me aside and don't understand my importance. They forget to love God, themselves and those nearest to them.” Love's candle could remain lit no longer. Love went out completely. Suddenly, a child entered the room and saw the four candles no longer burning. She began to cry and mumbled, "Why are you not burning? You are supposed to stay lit until the end." The Fifth Candle spoke gently to the child, "Don't be afraid I am with you always. I am the Christ Candle. I still burn and we can re-light the other candles." With shining eyes, the child took the Christ Candle and lit the other four candles allowing their flame once again, to brightly burn.
May this story remind us that when the light of Jesus shines in our lives we can always find hope, peace, joy and love. May the light of Jesus Christ always stay lit in our lives and no matter how bad things look or may be, through Jesus, God’s Hope, Peace, Joy and Love can and will shine. May we journey through this advent season reflecting the light and love of Jesus. Gail
Well it is that time of the year again when the kids are home from school for summer vacation. Time has a way of slipping by so fast as I walked my baby, now 10, to elementary school for the last time this morning. He will start middle school in the fall. As I walked home I was ever so thankful to God for the years that he spend at his elementary school growing and learning but I was even ever more thankful for the fact, that my child knows who God is and professes Jesus as Lord and Saviour of his life. Growing up in the society that we live in is not easy for children as it is a Godless society and children do not know who God is. I pray that over the summer months you would encourage a child to attend VBS or camp so they can draw closer to God and grow in faith in Jesus. Our children and youth are not the church of tomorrow but they are the part of the church of today and it is important that we model our faith so they can see Jesus in us. If your church is having a VBS this summer volunteer, or when you see children at church, take the time to tell them that they are not only love by God but by the people of the church. Also, encourage our youth and reassure them that you are praying for them. Pray especially that our children and youth to have a blessed and safe summer. Happy Summer everyone!