Friday, March 26, 2010

If you don't like the weather in Denver....

We've been having a rather unusual spate of seasonal changes in this city...certainly more unusual than a typical March. The truth is I can't explain it without the following saying I've heard since I was very young.

"If you don't like the weather in Denver, wait a minute."

That explains it in a nutshell and covers just about any time of the year and any season or semi-season you can think up. We have a special couple of sayings for March that puts the crazy changes in a succinct few words.

"March comes in like a lamb and leaves like a lion.

Sometimes it comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb."

The latter saying may have you scratching your head especially if you don't live here or have never spent any amount of time in Denver or Colorado for that matter. It simply means that we'll have a humongous snowstorm at the beginning of March and then true spring-like weather by the end of it or it will come in very mild and balmy, windy and end with a blizzard.

This year it came in very nice, almost like summer on a few days but the second half of this month has been extremely weird. Weird weather here is the kind that can drive you out of your mind. Today is a good example. It was sunny and dry after having a pretty good snowstorm Tuesday night which almost dripped off and dried up by Wednesday afternoon. At about 2:00 pm it went cloudy. At 3:00 it had gotten windy, then the wind quit and it started to rain. (It almost never rains in Denver. I can count our rainy days in a year on one hand, normally.) Then after it rained for about ten minutes it decided to quit and started snowing. It snowed for ten minutes tops and now it's just cloudy again. This could go in any direction now and it's 6:00 pm while I'm writing this looking at a cloudy but dry late afternoon.

Did you get all that ? Well, don't feel badly if it confuses you just be glad you don't have to leave your house everyday equipped with every possible type of defensive apparatus known to man to fend off an unknown weather. We laugh at weather predictions this time of year because they really don't mean a thing. All I can tell you is that if you come to Denver be prepared for just about anything.

The Castle Lady with unpredictable kisses !

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cead Mile Failte~ A Thousand Welcomes

     Well, it's time for another round of Irish folklore. March 17th always seems like perfect timing for lifting up our spirits for the sake of a heritage that is rather ancient and yet is still so young in many ways. Back in 1999 I wrote the story of St. Patrick as a reporter for a newsletter of a Denver bank while I was concurrently employed there as a teller. I decided to republish it on my castlelady blog some years back and this is the link for it:
     I have a special feeling for the authentic castles of Ireland that reaches back into my own Irish heritage which comes from both my mother's and father's side of the family. A good example is Castle Trim. While it has been said that Irish people are not exactly fond of castles I would challenge that supposition on the basis of knowing that not all castles built on Irish soil were for feudal purposes alone- the same as it is in England. I cannot hear Danny Boy sung without crying. Does that tell you something ?  
     There is, however, a bit of a tourist fascination which has been well-capitalized on Irish soil and everyone should be aware that when you mention castles in Ireland there will be a bill attached to it which you may find excessive. There are no significant bargains to be had but there are wonderful venues for everyone to enjoy and get a dramatic initiation into their particular world of castles and culture. Not only that but it's worth the price of admission !
     If you'd like to find out more just check out and you can read about the featured castle this month, Lough Eske Castle which has been renovated and turned into an award-winning castle hotel. This wonderful site will be a great resource if you are planning a major event and you want it to be spectacular ! Tell them....
                             The Castle Lady sent you !  

Monday, March 15, 2010

PTL- An Incredible Day in the History of Haiti !

The following is an account I was sent in an e-mail about what is going on in Haiti. This is an historical event that reaches beyond the devastation and finally brings the good news to these spiritually starving people:

-by Jerry Miel (Feb 17)

Jerry Miel is a good friend and radio engineer who served as a missionary in Haiti with World Team mission when we lived there .
He worked with the Christian station, Radio Lumiere (Radio Light). He has gone back to Haiti to help in the aftermath of the earthquake and makes these important observations. - Boxley

I think that I will remember this day as one of the most significant in my life, not because of what I did, but for it's meaning . . .Today was the one month anniversary of the great Haitian earthquake.
About 3 days ago the Haitian President announced that there would be 3 days of holiday from work for the purpose of fasting and prayer. This is absolutely historic . If you have ever been in Haiti as a visitor or missionary, could you ever have imagined such a pronouncement? Could you image (sic) such an announcement from the U. S. President? This morning I saw a young Haitian-American woman, the leader of a work team, crying because the Americans could not understand the incredible importance of this day and wanted to go about business as usual. Remember, it was only about 6 years ago that a former Haitian president called the nation to come together to rededicate the nation to Satan.
This was not a minute of silence for the deceased or something as equally insignificant. Whatever the President might have originally intended, this became a real commitment for the Haitian people. As I sit here this evening, I can hear the preaching coming from a nearby church. Services have been going on all day . . . Let me tell you what I saw and felt today.
Peniel and I had planned an inspection trip up to the Artibonite Valley today. Right or wrong, I don't really know, but since it was the only opportunity, we went ahead with the trip. As we left the guest house abut 7:30 am, we were met by throngs of well dressed people headed to various churches. The sounds of Christian music and worship filled the air everywhere. the next observation was that there was NO traffic. Port-au-Prince streets are always clogged and overflowing with bumper to bumper traffic. This morning there were only a few vehicles on the roads, a few small buses (tap taps), some UN and military vehicles, and a few private cars. We had clear sailing through town. the same was true of foot traffic. Usually the streets are clogged also with people walking. Today there were only a few and many of them dressed for church. The only place that there were traffic blocks was in front of several churches where the congregations had overflowed the buildings and the yards and had moved out into the streets as well.
The next observation was that EVERYTHING was closed! We could not find even one business or gas station open. There were no intercity buses running. Whereas the sidewalks are usually overflowing with millions of street venders, we only saw a few here and there. The huge outdoor market near the wharf where thousands work each day and is spread out to cover most of the street, was EMPTY.
Where were all the people? They were in churches and makeshift meeting sites. Every church (except a JW church) had services going on, almost always overflowing into the streets. Beside broken down churches, services were taking place outside. In homeless camps, there were services. Everywhere the nation was gathered to worship and pray. No, I did not see any voodoo, Islamic, or Buddhist services. This scene was repeated in every
town and hamlet that we passed during the day.

Tonight, Pastor Ignace, who is sharing the room with me, asked this question: "Can people still say that Haiti is a voodoo country?" What has been happening and is continuing to happen in Haiti did not happen because of the earthquake. It has been happening because the Haitian people know how to pray. This is a tremendous outpouring of God's power as the result of prayer. Twenty years ago I started praying for the Gospel to change the Haitian culture . I think that I am seeing God do that work.
The only sadness that I feel today is for our nation . While a nation that has long been under Satan's domination is turning to God with total commitment, our nation, founded on Godly values has rejected God and is rapidly trying to forget that his name even exists. Let us pray for revival.
Pajanm bliye, Jezi remmen ou. M'ap priye pou ou !
Be blessed by Jesus today !

The Castle Lady with hugs, kisses and blessings !

Friday, March 05, 2010

Preach-y ? ?

I occasionally am inspired to write expository entries on all my blogs on the topic of Christianity and specifically God-given epiphanies and outright sermons (if you will) concerning faith. I hope I never come across as preaching heavily although given that my stance is basically fundamental by nature I'm sure it is unavoidable on certain points. I am not here to judge anyone and the Bible states pretty clearly "judge not lest ye be judged." I always keep that in mind when I write something I feel so strongly about- enough to write about it and post it on my blogs.

That being said, the following is my feeling about regular church attendance and why I think it's necessary for many but may be redundant for a few. There are a lot of variables here, so hear me out:

I don't know how many churches I've attended now and I've decided not to turn this into a mathematical equation or attendance record contest. I do know that any church I've attended on a regular basis eventually gets into the realm of repeating a sermon that invariably becomes an exercise in teaching a conditional type of faith based on works and not the love of a God who sent His son to die on the cross for our sins. I don't know how many people have said the sinners prayer and walked out of a church later- never to return except to the life they lived prior to attending the church but apparently it's so prevalent that John Bevere decided to write a book years ago titled, When the Heavens are Brass. I heartily recommend this book for those of you who witness to people and actively invite and take these people to church. Without prayer and careful watching, there is no one more vulnerable to spiritual attack than a brand new convert. Why do they get attacked so vehemently? They are generally the most enthusiastic people for the gospel. If a verse in the Bible describes them well it is in Jesus words in Matthew, Mark and Luke:

Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself but endures only for awhile. For when tribulation or persecution arises, because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, (but) the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word and he becomes unfruitful. He who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Today the world is such that very little of what we see, hear and read is truly internalized. Perhaps we are too inundated and it becomes difficult to sift through the barrage we encounter each and every day. Very little should be internalized, in truth, but it is not that way in your communication with your creator. People who accept Jesus as their personal savior need to attend church regularly, get in a good study group and get saturated with the words in the Bible in order to gain understanding of what they have started in motion. You cannot build anything without directions or education and it is the same with becoming a Christian. You have to build your faith and you have to work at it.

As your Christianity grows your church should be sensitive to your individual needs and make sure that they provide you with the training you need to become an effective witness for Christ. If you stay where you are at you will become the Christian who stumbles. Witnessing is key to the growth of your faith. This is a time for a special type of sheltering which ultimately comes from God but should be recognized and encouraged. No one has to be perfect to witness for the gospel but your effectiveness will definitely be according to the level of training you have received to deal with vicissitudes and others concerns. Compassion for sinners becomes a key issue at this point. If your church is not helping you at this stage, find a church that does!

If you have reached a point where you spend most of your time in a church and you begin to become judgmental of the world around you- finding it almost impossible to share your faith and feeling that you no longer want to communicate with sinners, you need to stop attending church and ask yourself where you are headed in life. What are you doing for the Kingdom of Heaven ? It's very easy to continue to cloister yourself among the faithful and stay comfortable in your perfect little world but you are like the seed among thorns. All the people who get on your nerves and make you feel uncomfortable with your life as a Christian are your assignments. It would be better for you to open your mouth and take the risks involved than continue living a life which produces nothing. Re-read John 15:1-9 and then ask yourself what you are producing at church.

If you are one of those people who actively invite and take people to church or you actively witness at each and every opportunity remember to keep these people in your prayers. Watch over your seed like a mother hen watches over her brood of chicks. Stay involved in those lives you have touched as much as is possible. Keep praying over the words you have witnessed and ask God to prosper them. You're ready for the Lord's Army. Rejoice ! !

Not preaching...just teaching,

The Castle Lady