Life on the front porch

Faith, life, kids & bikes


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Lasting Peace compared to Good Attempts to find Peace

After a hurried rentrée (return to school after a week off) and praying through the stressful situations that many of our friends find themselves in (and you too?!), I’m reminded that we do not live in a peaceful world. There is always something for me to be worried about. There is always something trying to steal my joy and peace.

The verse that came to my mind this morning was John 14.27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

I am reminded of the ways that people around me (and me included) look for peace:

  • In political powers: my own nation of Canada is groaning and rejoicing with the political shift that has just taken place. In 4 years it will all shift again. Palestinians, Israelis, Syrians, Ukrainians, Romas are still waiting for political peace.
  • In economic prosperity: many of the deepest economic recessions have happened after stratospheric financial booms. A bumper crop can be wiped out with a hail storm.
  • In educational superiority: just when you think you’re getting somewhere, along comes someone who makes you seem very ordinary.
  • In family stability: we are all hoping that home will be a place of peace and security and look to copy those around us who seem to have it. Family is where tension and strife is most normal (and faith can make it even worse).
  • In physical health: one accident, one illness, one unusual test result and it’s all shattered.

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How to do a singing Bible study

Dear Worship Leader,

I enjoy worshiping and singing with you – it’s easy because your heart wants to worship.  Your role is important because the songs we sing will stay with us longer than most sermons or even encouraging words.  Your worship, helps us worship.

I’d like to give you a little tool to help your Bible Study time turn into songs between you and Jesus with a little model: Read it, Write it, Say it, Sing it, Pray it (thanks to my friend Kirk Bennett).  The goal is to take God’s word and turn it into prayerful worship, new songs and increased revelation of God. Continue reading


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Learning to love

My grandma passed away about a year and half ago at the age of 92. As she faded in her later years there were fewer and fewer things that she could do, but God graciously gave her continued joy in song and full thankfulness. When I would visit, I would sing for her – it was amazing and emotional. And when someone would do anything for her, even if it was uncomfortable, she’d always say, “Thank you dear.” She is for me a picture of Jesus’ friend, coming out of the wilderness. Weak, but glorious because of the One on whom she leans.

For the longest time, I thought that love was a command that I must follow – but try as I might, it seemed impossible. Some people told me that love was a decision, not emotional, I just need to decide to love him and then work hard at it. And I really wanted to, but it’s really hard and probably ended up looking for other rules to follow.

My children are part of the curriculum to teach me to love!

My children are part of the curriculum to teach me to love!

I think we may all know someone like me, who works hard at religion, loves the truth and loves the story, but their heart has yet to love God fully. Maybe it’s you. God has been working on me for years to take the ideas of love from my head to my heart. There are 3 verses in the Bible that have been very meaningful to me in helping me transition from being someone who knows about love to someone who loves (and it’s not over yet, believe me).

1. Matthew 22.37

And [Jesus] replied to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect).

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How to be confident in faith

This week I was out for a walk and suddenly felt this awareness of being far away from Jesus. Do you know what I mean?  My prayers felt like they were hitting the clouds and coming right back at me, doubts were starting to creep in and everyone with no faith seemed to be doing just fine and even prospering, while I’m struggling.

What’s up with seasons like this?  Why am I experiencing this when Jesus promised to never leave me or forsake me? (Hebrews 13:5)?  Sometimes I just withdraw (“O poor me”) other times I compensate by working harder (“I will just get through this”).  Do you ever have times like this?  Fear, worry, pride driving your lack of connection with the one your heart loves?

In the Song of Songs, this is not the the Bride’s response in Song 4 – she is beginning to grow in confident maturity because she is learning to know and love and trust her Lover.  She not only knows his love, his beauty and his strength, but she also knows what he’s thinking about her.  She is beginning to understand (knowledge) and experience (emotions) the Bridegroom’s thoughts and emotions about her.  As you read them, can you believe that this is how Jesus thinks & feels about you?

3 Declarations of the Bridegroom over his Bride (Song 4.9-16)

1.  Do you know how you move Jesus’ heart? Continue reading


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Get up, let’s go together!

To the one made beautiful by Jesus,

What I believe affects deeply how I respond to situations. If I believe that my boss is like an ogre (like Shrek on a bad day), when he says something nice, I’ll just think he’s manipulating me. And if she gets really mad, I may just say – “That’s just her, she’s always going off like that.” There are some people who easily offend me and others to whom I give lots of grace.

Shrek_angryshrek - It works this way with God. Some of us believe that God is a master and we are his servants. Others think of God as a big cuddly grandpa that likes to give out hugs and treats. (These are both good pictures, but incomplete.) Still others figure that he’s quite far away and doesn’t notice what’s happening here. We all respond to God and to life based on what we believe. Continue reading


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How to know if you’re growing in love…

To the favourite children of the King,When we first arrived here in Belgium I asked God what he wanted me to accomplish in the next 2 years.  Seems reasonable, He’s the One who brought us here.  I don’t want to be busy doing anything that is not the King’s business.  What was shown to me (through songs, scripture, the Holy Spirit and other people) is that he wants my heart more alive and me more in love.  If it’s possible to measure love and life, Jesus wants these to be the true measures of my success.

What do you think, looks like a path in Belgium.

I love to see how you are growing in your love of God and your skills in the Kingdom!  It makes me proud of you to see what fine men & women you are becoming.  As you grow in your love and faith, you will go through many seasons – probably over and over – and I want you to be aware of what they are so that you can not be surprised but rather be confident that God is the Greatest Lover.  And because he’s the Greatest Lover, He has set everything up so that you’ll fall more in love with Him and grow in your confidence that His love is secure.

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Is there a point to waiting?

Dear friend,

As we prayed last night for the end of your season of waiting I thought that perhaps this is a bigger topic I need to reflect on.  Yours is just one of many stories of waiting that I’ve come across lately.  It seems that the Lord allows us to go through something and then uses it to bring help to others.  I also feel like my brief encounter with intense waiting has given me confidence that God is present in waiting.

write down what God has promised

Write down what God has promised

 Every season is a season of waiting

I walked into the post office to see if anything had arrived for us from Belgium.  It had been our 2 weeks stretched into 5 with no firm end, just empty promises.  Now Rosenort is a small town’s small town, you can’t go anywhere anonymously.

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