A Forever Friend

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15

One harried Sunday morning, our family snuck late into the pew. As we settled, trying not to draw attention to our lateness, I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Hi. Remember me?” I turned to see my college friend, Jan. She’d moved to our city.

Twenty years earlier we’d been single friends. Now we had husbands and three children each. Our friendship resumed as if there’d never been a pause.

Robert Browning wrote, “What a thing friendship is – world without end.” Human friendships gladden our hearts and warm our souls. The holy friendship we have with Jesus exists on an even higher plane. To think that the Son of God beckons me to sit by His side, converse, weep, reveal my secrets – oh my, a flawed nobody like me can be friends with the Perfect One.

God referred to Abraham as his friend (Isaiah 48:8). Abraham, with all his imperfections, loved God, trusted Him and remained faithful to Him. That’s what friends do.

Your forever friend, Jesus, is always within reach, always within earshot. Maybe there’s been a pause in your relationship with Him, like there was in my friendship with Jan. He’s tapping on your shoulder to remind you He’s still there asking you to link your soul with His and resume the friendship.
What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! Joseph Scriven


Rose McCormick Brandon writes books and articles, teaches Bible studies and writing classes, speaks at churches, libraries, historical societies and museums. Visit her website. Contact her at: rosembrandon@yahoo.ca. Visit her blog on Canada’s British Home Children.

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Healing for Broken Hearts

Many Christians suffer from recurring memories of a sinful or hurtful act, either committed by them or against them. No one gets through life without some heartbreaking loss, rejection or sin. Freedom from these things often happens when, or soon after, a person decides to follow Christ.

If suffering continues long after asking forgiveness, if memory pain won’t go away, if the sting of guilt persists . . .

 Here’s a plan.

Make an appointment with God. Set a time and place to meet with Him. Perhaps at the living room sofa while baby takes a nap. Make it a time when you can be alone without interruption. Shut off television, phones and all other modes of communication. This is a special and holy appointment between you and your Heavenly Father.

When the date and time arrive, lay out your sorrows before Him as best you can. You may not find words to express them. God understands unspoken feelings. Tears may flow as heartaches float to the surface. You may choose to write down thoughts that come to mind. It’s a good idea to have your Bible near. God often speaks to us through His Word.

Ask God to heal your broken heart. Prayer: Lord, pour your healing oil into the crevices of my heart. Restore to me what has been stolen (broken or damaged). Let your thoughts regarding my sorrows supersede my thoughts. Let good come from my brokenness. And turn my mourning into joy. When sorrowful memories surface, I ask that you take away their power to hurt me.

Take as much time as you need. You may feel exhausted afterwards. Rest. More than one appointment may be necessary. Keep at it until little by little God mends your broken spirit.

You will come to a point where all the things that wounded you will be distant memories and their ability to hurt you is gone. You will remember them without pain.

Some scriptures to hang your hopes on . . .

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy – Psalm 30:11

Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey–riding on a donkey’s colt. Zechariah 9:9

To grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting so they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. Isaiah 61:3

Then the virgin will rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old, together, for I will turn their mourning into joy And will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow. Jeremiah 31:13

Then I will give her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor (bitterness) will become as a door of hope, and she will sing there as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt (enslavement).  Hosea 2:15


Rose McCormick Brandon writes books and articles, teaches Bible studies and writing classes, speaks at churches, libraries, historical societies and museums. Visit her website. Contact her at: rosembrandon@yahoo.ca. Visit her blog on Canada’s British Home Children.

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The Simple Act of Prayer

Jesus stood by the tomb. He wept. Lazarus, his good friend, had been dead for four days. Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, and a crowd of mourners waited to see what Jesus would do.
Jesus said, “Father, thank you that you have heard me.” (John 10:41) Then He did the impossible. He called Lazarus back to life.
Earlier Jesus had taught a simple lesson – when you pray the Father will reward you. (Matt. 6) Why? Because He hears you pray.
Religious teachings often complicate the simple act of prayer. For example, I have a booklet that tells how to pray perfect prayers – each of the nine points it offers begin with the letter “P.” The insinuation is if you follow this plan all your prayers will be answered.
Jesus taught the simplicity of prayer. We see this in the first few verses of Matthew 6. His teaching boils down to three simple things:

God sees us
God hears us
God answers us

     We don’t need the “right” words. We don’t need a team of pray-ers. We don’t need to be “somebody” in the religious world. We can pray as simply as Jesus did – “Father, I know that you hear me.”
Nobody has God’s ear more than you do.
Talk to the Father from your heart. He hears you. And nothing is impossible to Him.


Rose McCormick Brandon writes books and articles, teaches Bible studies and writing classes, speaks at churches, libraries, historical societies and museums. Visit her website. Contact her at: rosembrandon@yahoo.ca. Visit her blog on Canada’s British Home Children.

 

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A Radical Makeover

The talk show host introduced his next guest. A star I hadn’t seen for several years bounced from behind the curtain.  “Is that really her?” I wondered, searching the perfect face for familiar characteristics. Modern surgical techniques had eliminated the details that once gave this woman’s face character, and in my view, beauty.

New teeth, cheeks, lips, chin, nose – and voila – a magnificent makeover! Every visible defect had been removed to produce what someone somewhere decided was perfection.  “She looks like a computer-generated image,” I said, with a little jealousy because we’re the same age and she looks twenty years younger.

God is in the makeover business too, but He changes people from the inside out. The apostle Paul put it this way. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation; the old has gone the new has come.” (II Corinthians 5:17) Now, Paul wasn’t talking about removing double chins and erasing wrinkles. He was talking about a revolution in the core of man’s character. A total life-altering change.

When we choose to follow Christ, change begins. In the central part of us a holy surgeon begins a series of adjustments. Quietly, His gentle hand renews the mind, heals the heart, restores child-like hope, erases remorse and guilt, gives us power over addictions and changes some of our rigid opinions. There’s no voila! to God’s makeovers. We leave the earth still in need of much tweaking.

A good cosmetic surgeon can turn a plain Jane into a beauty but only Jesus can transform our character. Unlike the movie star’s high-priced surgeon, His services are free.


Rose McCormick Brandon writes books and articles, teaches Bible studies and writing classes, speaks at churches, libraries, historical societies and museums. Visit her website at: http://writingfromtheheart.webs.com Contact her at: rosembrandon@yahoo.ca. Visit her blog on Canada’s British Home Children at http://littleimmigrants.wordpress.com.

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A Good Mother is Worth Money in the Bank

First photo of Mom & me

Starting life with a good mother is better than being born into money. Not everyone begins life with this advantage. Those who do should treasure it because a good mother saves a child from many struggles.

Oliver Wendell Holmes wisely wrote that “our mothers carry the key of our souls in their bosom.”

Perhaps because my mother turned 91, on Christmas Day or simply because it’s long overdue, I’ve been reflecting on Mom’s influence in my life. These have come to mind:

Mom, on the arm of our son, Carson, at our daughter, Melody's wedding

Mom, on the arm of our son, Carson, at our daughter, Melody’s wedding

Mom led our family’s parade to church. Young, new to the community and unable to drive, Mom walked her children to the nearest church. This church wasn’t her first choice. She grew up in a family of quiet worshipers, people who felt uneasy when anyone said ‘praise the Lord’ out loud. This church was known for its exuberance. At 14 I had a personal encounter with Jesus in that humble little church. Other family members followed Mom there. She didn’t use words to entice them; she led by example.

Get along and get together – that’s Mom’s philosophy for family harmony. I’ve heard her express thanks that no rifts exist between her and her five children. She grew up in a closely knit five-sibling family. As adults they visited each other’s homes often, talked on the telephone often, and in their senior years, travelled together. Love and peace between siblings is a godly goal. Mom’s influence in this area is profound. Even her grandchildren pursue her ‘get-along with your kin’ philosophy.

Mom with our 2 grandchildren

Mom with 2 of our grandchildren

Books. In one of my earliest memories, my mother sits on the end of our bed reading Little Red Riding Hood to my sister, Carolyn, and me. Today, she teases me about filling my house and cottage with books but she’s to blame for my life-long love affair with reading.

I have no statistics to back it up but I believe readers enjoy a greater sense of fulfillment than non-readers. Readers discover; readers relax. Great stories carry them to foreign lands, mysterious times, intriguing plots and unforgettable characters. Their imaginations soar. When I visit my children’s homes and see bookcases lining their walls, a book turned over on a night table, newspapers and magazines littered here and there, I feel a sense of accomplishment. My children are readers – three pats on the back for me. The other day, Matilda, my little granddaughter, picked up her favorite thick-paged book from a pile, handed it to me, then turned her back, a signal to lift her onto my knee and read. My pleasure. It all began with a reading mother.

Mom, a widow of many years, with boyfriend, Bert Cooper

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits (Psalm 103:2). Mom hung this framed verse on the wall beside our dinner table. It expresses her thankful heart.

Mom forms opinions and expresses them She can converse with anyone about the latest global or local event. She knows what’s happening on the country’s political scene and likes to discuss her viewpoint. Forming opinions helps to keep the little gray cells functioning and it makes for lively discussion around our family dinner tables.

A good neighbour. Decades ago, a feuding older couple next door to our family home separated. He moved into an upscale shed at the back of his property; she remained in the house. Our sympathies lie with the shed-dweller. At Christmas and other special occasions, Mom delivered meals to him. Many older relatives and ailing neighbours also benefited from her generosity. From her we learned to keep aware of the needs around us, especially the ones right under our noses.

Mom with her 5 children Bill, Mom, Rose Carolyn, Brenda, Shirley

Mom with her 5 children
Bill, Mom, Rose
Carolyn, Brenda, Shirley

According to author, Kathryn Lindskoog, a child who learns English from the crib is born with the equivalent of $500,000 in the bank. It can’t be an exaggeration to say that a child with a good mother has the benefit of at least twice that amount in her life account.

If that’s the case I was born a millionaire.

 


Rose McCormick Brandon writes books and articles, teaches Bible studies and writing classes, speaks at churches, libraries, historical societies and museums. Visit her website at: http://writingfromtheheart.webs.com Contact her at: rosembrandon@yahoo.ca. Visit her blog on Canada’s British Home Children at http://littleimmigrants.wordpress.com.

 

 

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A Grudge-free Life

A woman peeked through the doorway into my office. “I’ve been walking past this church for  months. I thought I’d stop in and see what goes on in here.”

That was my introduction to Alice. I took her on a tour of the building, answered some of her questions and invited her to attend a Sunday service. “I don’t think I’m ready for that,” she said. “Do you have any meetings with just a few people?”

I told Alice about our women’s noon hour prayer meetings. “You can come with me,” I said.

The next week Alice showed up. For weeks she didn’t say much. When 1 o’clock came she gathered her things and left. As time passed Alice’s awkwardness with the group diminished. She started keeping a diary of our prayer requests and sharing hers with us. She always wanted to know, “Has anyone had an answer to prayer? If we’re asking God for stuff there should be answers right?”

One day during our conversation before prayer (which always went on longer than we intended), Alice blurted out. “When I was walking across the parking lot today, I was thinking about how much I’ve changed since I started to believe in Jesus. Then it dawned on me, I don’t have anything against anybody, nobody. This is the first time in my life since I was a kid that I can say that.”

Nothing against anybody. What a free way to live. Alice admitted to us that she had held many grudges, some of them valid. “I didn’t realize until today that they’re all gone. I’m thinking about this one and that one and I’m not mad at any of them any more.”

The miracle of a grudge-free life. That’s a life lesson I learned from Alice.


Rose McCormick Brandon is the author of One Good Word Makes all the Difference and Promises of Home – Stories of Canada’s British Home Children. Visit her blogs: Listening to my Hair Grow and Promises of Home. To purchase books, visit Writing From the Heart.

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Hosanna – A Word Suited Only to Jesus

Hosanna! A celebration word that exalts God – a high praise word. When “thank-you Lord” and “praise God” seem weak and unsatisfactory, we can dig deep and find that perfect word – Hosanna. The crowds who hailed Jesus as the long-promised Messiah … Continue reading

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Prayer for Revival

It is time for you to act, Lord; your law is being broken. Psalm 119:126 If there was ever a need to pray for revival it’s today. A revival is a time of quickening or impartation of life. As God … Continue reading

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Fear Keeps People in Boxes

E. Stanley Jones makes the point that Christians are people of the long view. By long view, he means that we plan not only how to live today, but tomorrow and for eternity. Our big enemy in long-view planning is … Continue reading

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Words with Holy Zing

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The rhythm formed by a writer’s unique way of stringing phrases and sentences together becomes their voice. This voice becomes the author’s trademark. Take Irish writer, Frank McCourt, (Angela’s Ashes, Teacher Man, ‘Tis) as an example. It wasn’t unusual for McCourt … Continue reading

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