Saturday, March 24, 2012


(technically day 29 of 40... it took me this long to absorb this concept to be able to get my thoughts out. ;-) 

Jeremiah 17:7-8
“But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.

Colossians 2:7
New Living Translation (NLT)
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
 Some things take longer than others.
Have you ever seen a tree with all the roots pulled up?
An intertwined mess… but solid enough that its next to impossible to tear down completely.
Only when the tree is dead can the roots be pulled up and revealed.
That tree knew who it was. What place it belonged to and there was no moving it until it died.
The knowledge of who it was caused its roots to grow down deep into the earth to portray a stability.
Because that is what a tree is created to do.
To be stable and provide shelter and fruit…

The same is true for us as Christians.
We need to be SO grounded in the word of God.
Know WHO we are and what we are created to do.
We need to be SO firm and set in the place where God has us – and this does not change with ever wind and whim – and be exactly who He has meant us to be.
When we know who we are and let our roots grow down deep into the truth and the word of God, we will know who we are in Jesus. We will be a picture of the stability and shelter of who God really is as our Father. We will reach out and shelter those in need.
And we will bear fruit.

John 15:4-5
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

So let me ask you this question.
Where are you in this picture?
Have you let your roots grow down deep?
Are you planted in the place God chose for you?

It takes some longer than others… so don’t lose heart.
Think of a tree. It takes decades for a tree to grow into everything God created it to be.
Most of the time you can’t even see the growth! Any roots growing down deep into the earth are unseen… in the same way so much of our growth is unseen.

Trees are always changing and growing and bearing fruit or being pruned…
It’s necessary to be pruned. But if God sends a hurtful situation into our lives it is mostly just cuz He knows we need it in order to take us to the next level of growth.

Here’s the key…
Every time you think it’s too hard to go on…
Keep going anyways.

Everything takes time… His time.
We often rush ourselves and try to get ahead of God and compare our own walk to others…
We can’t do that.

I could go on and on writing about this… but because I too am just a product of His grace in my life, I’m just going to leave you with one verse. A portion of a letter from a man whose life was radically changed by the presence of God and he spent the rest of it travelling and telling people of God’s grace and  love… and even suffered prison because of his devotion to Jesus.
His name was Paul… here are some words he wrote to the church in Philippi.

“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
Philippians 1:3-6

Don’t lose heart because you are unfinished…
Be excited for how God is growing your roots down deep! J

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Resist and stay Planted... Day 27 of 40

Psalm 92:12-13
The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.

Psalm 68:5-6
A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
God sets the solitary in families;
He brings out those who are bound into prosperity;
But the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

I’m gonna keep this short and sweet.
Days #26 & #27 in The Purpose Driven Life are all about temptation.
How to grow through it, and how to overcome it.
Here’s how it works.
The bible says:
casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
1 Peter 5:7-9

#1: whenever you’re tempted, you need to shift your focus.
God cares about you… He LOVES you! (I’ll say it again) HE LOVES YOU!
Because He loves you, you can trust Him.
Whatever is wearing you down, whatever is tempting you, or even whatever is making you worry… just stop for a second and shift your focus back to Him.
You will find it’s impossible to be so concerned about things when you are surrounded by His presence.

#2: As much as God loves you… so the devil matches Him for hatred.
Its true, he hates you. But you don’t have to worry about it.
God says to “be vigilant”!
That doesn’t mean you go looking for the next “warfare” the enemy is waiting to spring on you.
Don’t give him so much credit!
He hates you… but that’s because you are made in God’s image AND Satan knows that – thru the blood of Christ and the Holy Spirit inside of you – you have the POWER to defeat him!

#3: “Resist him steadfast in the faith”
It’s extremely hard to resist someone who you constantly give in to.
So in order to resist Satan, you must make sure you’re covered.
You must be covered in the blood of Jesus… filled with His Holy Spirit… and planted in a place that He chooses.

This last point brings me back to the 2 verses I started out with. (if you skipped over these entirely, please go back and read them. Even if you read them, please go back and review. Highly important. J )

Being planted in your local church is the key.
It’s much easier to resist temptation when you have good God-appointed leaders over you to help steer you straight when the enemy swoops in like a roaring lion… it is this God-given authority that may save your life someday if you just stay planted in God’s house.
You don’t choose your church… God chooses your church.
He placed you there for a reason… He set you in that church family because there was a YOU-shaped hole waiting to be filled. Anytime you feel like you should maybe leave, or even get frustrated with your family (and we all know families quarrel from time to time) and want to run away – just remember. There’s an enemy out there who hates you. And he would give anything to see you uprooted and die in some hot, dry place because you got out from under your authority.

Bloom where He planted you.
Stay planted… and you WILL flourish in the house of God!

Happy Sunday! J

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Next Generation Love... :)

Next Generation Love

One of the coolest things in my life is that I get to be “Auntie Chelle” to four little bits of the next generation God is raising up to do great things in His name.
Let me brag on my favourite kids tonight (I’ve just been babysitting 2 of them, so I have my head/heart full of their love and kisses right now.)…

This is Carter James.
He was my very first nephew and someday when he’s old enough to understand I have a story for him about how when he was born “Auntie Chelle” held him in her arms and realized that she needed to do everything she could to be like Jesus… so he could know Jesus better by knowing her.
Yes, he doesn’t know it, but his birth set off a firecracker chain of events that ultimately brought me back to serving God… I may have looked like I was doing good, but I was pro at faking it. Thankful for God’s grace and the reality check Carter James shook into my world. J

Carter-Bear is almost 3, he loves letters, numbers and learning about EVERYTHING!

This is Larissa Claire… the first answer to this Auntie’s prayer for a little niece.

All my life I’ve wanted a niece (or at least from the time I realized that siblings could grow up and get married and have nieces and nephews for me…)
And what a best first niece she’s been!
The summer she was born I was learning a lot about God’s plan for people’s lives and how he has purposed our days even before we lived any of them.
In praying for this little princess, I didn’t realize how much it had been needed…
The day she was born, I was called in to be designated babysitter to big-brother Carter (then 14 months old) and waited anxiously to hear the news.
Little did we know what a rough start to life the Princess would have…
She was born with her cord wrapped around her neck 7 TIMES!
Miracle child… she came out white and (amazingly) SCREAMING!
The doctors said she was “feisty”… and she holds true to that title to this day. J
(just ask her mother)

Boo (my nick-name for her cuz she talks so cute like the kid on “Monsters INC.”) loves music, shoes, necklaces (any and every accessory), and getting her nails painted by Auntie Chelle. J

This is Joseph Wesley – or “Baby Wes”…

Wesley has a special place in my heart since his mother is one of the biggest heroes of my life – my sister. Veronica.
Wesley and I share a birth month – May babies are always the best. J
The year he was born, my little brother Danny was very sick in the hospital.
This was the year I learned to trust God in the hard times… to fully worship Him no matter what the circumstance.
I think of Wes as a special gift to our family for trusting God during this time.
He’s the funniest little guy. Such personality!
Not only that! He lives in Shanghai, China!
Yeah… pretty sure he’s got a “Made in China” tag stuck on him somewhere. J

Wesley LOVES music and singing worship songs with his mommy. He has even been caught crawling over to his mommy’s music corner and simultaneously hitting her bongo-drum while plucking guitar strings… such a natural. J
Even though I don’t see him much, we have fun singing “Skinamarinky-dinky-dink” over skype. J

And last (so far)… we have the beautiful Katrina Charis.

How proud I was to receive a 2nd niece!
Most of what God has taught me thru this tiny princess is recorded HERE
And even though she lives a 3-hour plane ride away, she will always have her Auntie’s heart in a way I can’t describe.
Her parents are two of my best friends. I can’t imagine life without any of them and am SO thankful to God for bringing us all through that long hospital stay last week!
Baby Trina… Auntie Chelle is always here for you and is so excited to see the amazing things God has for your life!

Baby Trina has captivating dark eyes… (she turned them into puppy mode and melted my heart a couple times already)
She too had a rough start, but through all of our prayers is (finally!) home with mommy & daddy and doing very well!
All her nurses said “She’s a feisty one!”… so I guess that’s a term that’s gonna stick on this next generation of feisty Eby girls. J
Auntie Chelle couldn’t be more proud…

These kids fill my heart like I can’t explain.
The other night a friend asked me what it was like to be an Aunt…
Here is what I told her:

Being auntie is crazy… think of how much you love your sister. Then duplicate that love and attach it to a vulnerable tiny version of her… one who loves you and looks up to you beyond anything you can imagine!

All that to say… I love being Auntie to these 4.
Excited to see what crazy adventures God has in store for them.
I believe they will change the world!
This next generation is not to be taken lightly. J

Psalm 78:4-8
We will not hide these truths from our children;
we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD,
about his power and his mighty wonders.
For he issued his laws to Jacob;
he gave his instructions to Israel.
He commanded our ancestors
to teach them to their children,
so the next generation might know them—
even the children not yet born—
and they in turn will teach their own children.
So each generation should set its hope anew on God,
not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.

Acts 2:17-18
‘In the last days,’ God says,‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.
In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants—men and women alike— and they will prophesy.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pressured into something beautiful... Day 25 of 40

Day 25 of 40

“God has a purpose behind every problem.
He uses circumstances to develop our character. In fact, he depends more on circumstances to make us like Jesus than he depends on our reading the Bible.
The reason is obvious: You face circumstances 24-HOURS a DAY!”
(direct excerpt from The Purpose Driven Life – Day 25 – Transformed by Trouble)

12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13 Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
1 Peter 4:12-13

Here’s a point to ponder as you drift off to sleep tonight…
What are a few of the most valuable things in the world?
And yes, we’re talking materialistic.
Things of the highest value… things that will last and get passed down to generations.
Your latest apple technology won’t last long enough to pass on to your grandchildren (and, I’m sorry, neither will Blackberry).
What about diamonds? Silver? Gold?
All beautiful. All very long-lasting substances.
How are they made?
Are they instantaneous?
Not a chance!!
Diamonds alone take years before they surface to the earth’s atmosphere!
In fact, there are kinds of diamonds that will dissolve entirely if they are released into the atmosphere too soon.
They take literally YEARS – whether naturally fashioned, or man-made – before they become the glittering frame of gorgeous displayed in a ring or necklace.
The diamond goes through a lot of heat, pressure, chiselling, and polishing before it is fit to be used in any beautiful way.

It’s the same with our lives.
Nothing worth having comes easy.
We live in a society of greed, selfishness, and a media that tells us everyday that it’s all about having what you want right NOW!
The fast-food generation.

Let me ask you… if we base so much on NOW, how will we ever get to the finish line looking like a finely fashioned diamond?
It’s the trials that fashion our lives.
The mundane daily grind that we live in called: LIFE.
Whether you work full-time in the white-collar district or part-time at McDonald’s, I’m sure you know what I mean.
It’s tough out there!
But it’s these trials that shape us.

God never said we’d have it easy, being Christians (and I’m sorry if anyone ever told you that being a Christian makes life easier… it doesn’t. But Jesus is SO worth it!) He only said we’d never go through anything He hasn’t already paved the way thru for us!
He actually PROMISED we’d have trouble!

John 16:33
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Take heart.
No matter what troubles or sorrows you’re going thru right now, its worth it.
HE is worth it!
Just as it takes years for a diamond to be shaped and fashioned and chiselled into a beautiful thing…
So it is with your life.
Trust that He knows what He’s doing.
And know that no matter what you’re going thru… He has already been there, He knows what’s going to happen, and He has overcome.
He will build your character thru trials, if you let Him.
And you will come out of this high-pressured, heat-filled environment as the beautiful diamond that He has  always destined you to be.

“But he knows where I am going.
      And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.”
                        Job 23:10

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Don't starve yourself... Day 24 of 40

Lets be real... please? 
Most people aren't. 
But that's not the point I want to bring out... 

I'm gonna be real. 
Last week I was in Saskatchewan... I didn't have time, and didn't make time, to read The Purpose Driven Life, or even my Bible! 
Since being home I've been having a hard time cultivating the habit God has been calling me to form... a habit of pursuit. 
Pursuit of my relationship with Him. 
It's true He's always there... and when the Prodigal son decided to return home to father - even if just to be a slave in his father's house - his father RAN to meet him! 
But we must first decide. 
Who do you serve? 
You can't serve God and **insert-weakness-here** at the same time. 
That's not the way it works. 

So let me be real... 
Finally yesterday I picked up my Purpose Driven Life book and attempted to read where I'd left off - Day 24. 
And guess God is trying to get a point across cuz it's all about reading your bible. 
The truth of the Bible transforms us into who God wants us to be. 
It's like food. 
You wouldn't just skip a day without food, would you? Even if you didn't feel like eating? 
I know... it took me a long time to realize that the bible is my spiritual sustenance. 
I can't live without it... can't live without HIM. 
His words, His presence... Everything about Him penetrating my very core. 

The other night I cried out to God cuz I wasn't sure what was going on in my life anymore (this is just me being real... but the details are between me and Him.)... 
I cried out and He just simply asked: WHY are you starving yourself?? 

It's a pursuit... one that begins with me. 
Once I pursue His presence, He is faithful to show up in more ways than I can imagine. 
But it begins with a heart change. 
A heart that no matter what, I will pursue His presence daily. 

Let me encourage you to keep pursuing Him. 
It sometimes takes a little bit at a time, or even a REALLY good accountability partner to kick you in the rear once in a while  (God gave me an accountability friend. You can read her 40-day blog here: Made for a Mission ) 
But I hope you turn fully back to Him. And just like the Prodigal, find that Father-God has been running to meet you all this time. 

In conclusion I'd like to leave you with tonight's "song-on-repeat" that sums up my heart right now. 
And no matter where you are in the world, may it bring a new realization of His love for you... and how you (and I) truly can't live without His presence. 

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 
John 8:31-32 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

At a moment's notice... (written on the plane yesterday)

Sometimes life is just so surpising you don’t really know what to do with yourself.
3 days ago I woke up to a normal Wednesday not knowing how drastically life could change with the arrival of one small baby girl.
As I write this I am somewhere above Lake Michigan on a plane to go see her.
Her parents have always been some of my favourite people in the world. I must say tho, when I was a bridesmaid in their wedding… or even further back when we 3 were best friends with a ton of dreams, not knowing the future would hold love for them. I never ever expected this trip. This journey into bringing tiny baby Katrina Charis into this world to meet us.
Her name is regal and important. Not just because this auntie would drop everything to go be by her side in a Regina hospital, but also because her name means something very significant to my heart.
Katrina means “Pure”.
Think of this baby… more pure than any other with her early entry into this world.
Think of how pure the Father’s love for us.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

Her middle name: Charis.
Charis is the Greek word for “grace”.
His grace is sufficient for me.

This beautiful baby girl’s name has significant meaning to me… I seem to be running a theme this winter with my 40 day challenge.
A theme of love vase as the ocean.
A message of PURE GRACE sent out to any who believe in the greatness of our God.
So as I look out of this airplane window to a sight so vast, I remember his love.
His pure grace.
A love that no scroll could contain the whole, tho it stretched from sky to sky.

May pure grace penetrate your heart and even at a moments notice change your world around completely… even as tiny Katrina Charis has changed mine this week. J

(40 days of purpose/blogging will resume when I get home this weekend as there is no internet access at the hospital.) 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Grow up, little baby...

Day 23 of 40

Growing up…
Here’s how it starts.
You’re a baby, totally dependent.
Last night we welcomed a brand new baby girl into my family – my tiny niece came 6 weeks early due to complications with my sister-in-law. Praising God today that new Mummy and tiny 4lb 2oz baby girl (who is yet, un-named) are both doing well. J
This tiny baby girl has a piece of this Auntie’s heart already.
Because she is premature and so small, she is in an incubator with a few things to help her breathe etc… as she is not even fully developed!
This is what we are like when we first become Christians.
Everything is so new in the world that any adventure could happen, though we don’t even realize what all life may hold. We are dependent on people to feed us and help us develop.
As a precious, beautiful newborn we are completely pure without anything weighing us down. We have completely discarded all the waste of our old life in the womb and come into a bright new world of possibility with a very capable God in control.

1 Peter 2:1-3 (NLT)
So get rid of all evil behaviour. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. 2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.

But God doesn’t want us to stay in the newborn stage. He wants to see us grow up and become mature functioning people in the Kingdom.
So often we stay there… hooked up to oxygen to help us breathe… depending on people for nourishment and whining when something is wrong… letting others clean up our gross messes… crying all the time.
This is not God’s idea of a functioning church body.

It’s time to grow up.
As with anything else, we can’t do this on our own.
That’s why God appointed spiritual authority to help us grow up.
But we must let them.
See, the difference is that my beautiful baby niece has no choice but to grow. (in fact, she will have grown a lot without even thinking about it by the time her Auntie Chelle even gets to see her in person!)
But as Christians, we have to make the choice to grow up.
If we just stay dependent on others and crying and whining and pooping our spiritual pants about everything in our lives, we will stay there and eventually become such an annoyance to the rest of our local church.
I mean, think about that for a second. Would you want a baby that always stays a baby?
I have 2 nephews and a niece who are turning 1, 2 and 3 this spring/summer and they are SO much fun!
They are learning so much everyday and Carter – the oldest – is already learning bible stories and understanding that the snake in his “Adam & Eve” story is VERY very bad snake. He also recently learned that commandment #5 (in his 10 commandments story) is obey mommy and daddy! All his parents have to say is “number five”, and Carter will do exactly what they tell him.

See! This is what growing up is all about!
As mature Christians we need to get past the newborn stage and grow up into all the things God has for us.
God wants us to grow up into the person He created us to be like… Jesus.

Larissa & Carter