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Eye to the North

"Out of the North He comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty." Job 37:22

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Lists and Plans

I have been putting things in order in lists or as long as I have been able to write. That I had the gift of project management became very apparent the summer I was 10. I plotted the family trip halfway across Canada (7 days driving). Every highway, camping site, lunch spot, and rest stop was marked on the map. Consideration was given to the shortest, fastest, most scenic, and the convenience of rest stops and lunch possibilities. I calculated gas consumption and costs, food allowances, and camping costs. And we followed my plans almost exactly!

Since then, I have concentrated on a career in Medical Laboratory Technology. When the opportunity was presented to help write policies and procedures, I jumped at the chance. I discovered that there is nothing more satisfying for me than to take information and put it into a format that is easy to follow. So I began to supplement my education with Technical Communication courses. I am currently only one courses from finishing the certificate.

While continuing to work as a Medical Technologist Supervisor, I am pursuing opportunities in technical writing. My experience has included proofreading fiction, non-fiction, and academic papers. I write web content for a chemistry laboratory. I have also discovered that the ability to read cursive writing is becoming a lost art, and I find my skills used to transcribe documents from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

There are many directions to take technical writing and project management and I am looking forward to the variety.

The Glory of the Lord

Isaiah 45:4 “I bestow on you a title of honour, though you do not acknowledge me. I am the Lord.”

The Lord says that He will bring glory to Himself by using the people on earth, even if they do not acknowledge Him. God will use what He made to glorify Himself. You cannot help but see the glory of God if you just look for it. That’s all you have to do – look for it, because He is using what He made. Look around you and see the glory of God.

Dear God,

Thank you that You make Your power evident, even when we don’t acknowledge You. Even when we try to take the credit, You make it evident that it is Your power, not ours that allows us to do things. Thank you, God, that you continue to demonstrate Your power in my world.

The triathlon of Life

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Why is it that I can look after my body or my soul or my brain, but not all 3? I can exercise regularly, but then I don’t pray or study. I can pray, but leave out exercise and study. And when I study, everything else falls by the wayside. Developing all three areas creates a balanced person.
Even with triathlon training, I tend to focus on one sport at a time. In summer, I run more. In winter I swim more. And sometimes I bike. But even then, I focus more on running than anything else. It is not until the race is imminent that I really work on putting everything together.
So when will I need all of my life skills? What is the deadline for putting it all together? There is no way to tell. Life is not a one time race that we can train for. Life must be lived daily with as much balance as we can manage.
It is time to work on my balance.

Do not boast about Tomorrow

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.” Proverbs 27:1
This says to me that I must live each day, each moment for itself. Don’t get caught up on planning for the future, right now is what is important. When I am sitting with my children, I should be listening to them. I shouldn’t be writing my next blog post in my head. I shouldn’t be planning supper. I shouldn’t be wondering how the traffic will be in an hour when I have to pick someone up from some activity. I should be right there – listening.
Later on in the chapter it says “Be sure to know the condition of your flocks, for riches do not endure forever.” (Verse 23) So those other things are important, too. They all need to be done. This says to me that I must take care of what I have been given. Don’t waste things through neglect. Don’t ignore the maintenance required to keep things working for another day.
The question becomes how do I maintain a balance between living for today and maintaining my flocks for tomorrow? What are the important things in my life that I must maintain, and when is it important to be right here, in this moment?
Relationships are the most important to God, and therefore the most important to me. My relationship with God cannot wait until the dishes are washed and the floors are swept. My relationship with others is more important than preparations for tomorrow.
I need to work on that. I need to work on being with the people who I am with. While that may sound strange, we all know what takes us away from being fully with the people around us. TV, smart phones, text messages, the project that needs finishing. There are endless places our minds can go while we pretend to listen. I want to make a difference in someone’s life today. Not only today, but every day. But I will start with today.
Live for today. Make a difference today. Build on a relationship today.

Dear God,
Thank you for today. Thank you that you have given me another day to spend with the people you have given me in my life. Thank you that you have given me another day to enjoy the world that you created. Help me to live today for today, and not for tomorrow.
Amen

Clarity in the Storm

Snowstorm
It was to have been a special day. Mom was home from work and the kids were home from school. We should do something special.
Let’s go tobogganing. At camp. It’s only 1.5 hours drive away and they have a super-fantastic hill.
Winter in Manitoba had been wicked so far. -40*C to -50*C wind-chill (or feels like temperatures) for almost an entire month. Friday was to be warmer. Only -12, feels like -20. It seemed perfect. Unfortunately, with the warming temperatures came snow.
“Mom, We need to leave at 12:30 so we can get there as soon as it opens.”
“I don’t know. There is a winter storm warning. The highway could have very little visibility.”
“But it’s not snowing that hard. It looks fine.”
So I contacted some people who live outside of the city to see what they thought of the road conditions. News reports and weather updates are guidelines. What were the roads that I wanted to drive like?
“It doesn’t look bad right now.” I heard from 2 different sources. “But we don’t know what the afternoon and evening will bring.”
I really wanted to go. I really wanted to make this day special. It was the last day of the winter break from school and I’d had very little time with them. I couldn’t make myself believe the weather forecasts.
At 12:28 the phone rang. It was my mom.
“Dad has locked his keys in the car at the grocery store, and the phone to OnStar is busy. Can you pick up the extra keys and take them to him?”
Glad that I was still home to help, my decision was now made. If OnStar was so busy with people in trouble, there was no way I was heading out anywhere.
Thank you God, for making my choice clear, in the midst of the storm.

photo by Shirley Bergen

Today is Music Day

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“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
Come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.”
Psalm 100

“I will sing of your love and justice.
To You, O Lord I will sing praise.”
Psalm 101

I cannot say it better.
Happy Music Day everyone.

Psalm 84

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“Better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere.”
David is not in God’s courts when he writes this. He starts the psalm ‘My soul yearns for the courts of the Lord.” and “Even the sparrow has found a home.”
We often sing this psalm joyously, but I think it is a lament. David’s “heart and flesh cry out for the living God.”
If this was written as a lament, is it right for us to turn it into praise? Can David’s lament be our praise? Should we be maintaining the intent of the author when we sing his psalms?

40 Days with Jesus

It has taken me many more than 40 days to read through the devotional booklet “40 Days with Jesus” by Sarah Young. My time with Jesus does not always include reading.
The last day’s reading has left me with many questions.

Psalm 139: 1-4
“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.”

God is with me always. He knows my thoughts and my attitudes. Sarah states “When My (God’s) Presence is the focal point of your consciousness, all the pieces of your life fall into place.”

Am I content with God being with me always?
Does it bring me joy to know that He knows my thoughts and my attitudes?
Do my thoughts and attitudes bring glory to God?
Is God’s presence the focus of my consciousness?

In all honesty, the answer to all of these questions is “no.”

So what am I going to do to change the focus of my life?
Do I want to change the focus of my life?

As a believer in God, my answer should be “yes.” As a sinner of this world, I fear the consequences of living a totally God-focused life.

On a recent mission trip, my son was challenged to find “God moments” is everyday life. Perhaps that is a good place for me to start.

The Pink Shirt – a story

The pink shirt was lying in the store packaged with two other shirts – a blue one and a yellow one. It had been lying on the shelf for some time getting very lonesome. Dust started to gather on the package. Many men walked into the store buying shirts. They looked at this package, put it down and bought another one. The shirt was getting lonesome, feeling sorry for itself. “It must be the blue shirt that they don’t want. Why couldn’t I be packaged with a red one or a purple one instead?”

Just then a man walked in wearing a blue shirt. He took one look at the package and said, “Yuck! Pink! Men don’t wear pink.”

The pink shirt felt even more dejected. Then a big awkward man with a beautiful young wife walked in. The pink shirt took one look at them and said, “Ugh… he will never buy us.”

“We are looking for a special tie for our daughter’s wedding.” The lady said hopefully. The man said, “Look, honey, here is one that would match your suit perfectly.” She responded, “Yes and it’s a nice bright purple!”

However, the clerk took it away and handed him a red one, saying,”It might match but you will never wear that. This red one looks very beautiful on you. The man took it back and said, “No, I want this one! While I’m here, I might as well pick up a shirt or two.”

The pink shirt straightened itself out in the package and thought, “If this man is brave enough to wear a purple tie, maybe he’ll wear a pink shirt as well.”

The man walked over to the shelf and picked up the package and said to his wife, “I kind of like these.” Her response was, “But one of them is pink.” At that the pink shirt’s hope sank right to the floor.” But he said, “That’s the one I like … everybody will notice me.”

The pink shirt could hardly contain itself in the package. It was so happy that finally someone wanted it. Then the man picked up the package and took it to the sales counter. Right beside the pink shirt was the purple tie.

“Is he going to wear that purple tie together with me?” thought the pink shirt. “How handsome I would look.”

The first time the man wore the pink shirt was to the MCC Auction Sale. “MCC Auction,” thought the pink shirt, “I wonder what that is all about.”

It soon found out. It also found out the man’s name was John. “We went to a big building. Oh, was there ever noise and people!” And everyone seemed to know John and wanted to talk to him. All day long I hear. “Have you seen John?” “Yes, over there in the pink shirt.” Or, “Yes I saw him a while ago over there. Look for a pink shirt.”

The pink shirt was starting to feel very important. “Everyone could find John because he was wearing me – the pink shirt.”

At the end of the day the pink shirt was all tired out from looking so bright and cheery all day. After that the pink shirt was worn quite often – for wiener roasts, picnics, family gatherings. “Whenever something exciting was happening, John chose me, the pink shirt.”

Then the pink shirt was put in the closet. At first it was quite happy to have a rest for a change. But then it started to get bored.

On Halloween, John’s daughter, Marjorie, asked, “Dad, can I wear your pink shirt tonight?” “Yes, of course, ” John said, “What are you going to be?” “It’s a secret,” Marjorie replied with a twinkle in her eye. She played dress-up for a while with her friend Crystal. But the pink shirt did not twirl properly.

Some time later, John asked Marjorie, “You used my pink shirt at Halloween. Where did you put it?” “In the closet,” she replied innocently. “I already looked and didn’t see it. But I’ll look again.”

He went through all the clothes and in the farthest corner he found the pink shirt. When he saw it he noticed that long slits, like tails, had been cut into the bottom of the shirt. He could imagine how beautiful they would look on a young girl twirling. But it was no longer possible for him to wear, so it ended up in the rag-bag.

The story of this pink shirt happened about twenty years before it was popular for boys to wear pink as a sign of anti-bullying. For a change, I was ahead of the times.

Written by John Bergen.

More stories by this author will soon be found here: http://granstory.wordpress.com

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