Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday October 20, 2009
The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, and all who live in it. Psalm 24:1
This year has been eventful! Ann and I spent the first two months in England on a short-term missionary assignment, meeting up with members of our family to visit many of our haunts of our early-married life. Then there was prostate surgery waiting of me on our return and thankfully has given me clean results to date. During that time, we published our first book, Happy Together: Insights for Families from Scripture, and that meant a spring of activity and two summer trips to the coast to promote it.
Then our second great grandchild was born, but taken seriously ill shortly after. Again, we are so thankful that after a lengthy stay in hospital, he is home with his family and the prognosis is good, but needing a minor operation in a few weeks. Then another trip to the coast, this time to Victoria to attend a cousin’s sixtieth wedding anniversary. Now of course, Ann is back at university, and has one further course to take in the spring to complete her political science degree.
During the summer, I put together material for a second book, Guess Who’s Coming to Reign! Jesus Talks about His Return, ready for publishing this fall. I also launched a website to incorporate much of the writing we have done during the years, and you will find a link to it on the side panel, Norford's Writings - Home. All this has meant an interruption in my blogging and the letters that I regularly like to write to our grandchildren, but it is my hope that this blog will get me back into that comfortable rut I am always looking for!
Thus, it seems a fitting start today to muse on the words of today’s text, that all the earth and its inhabitants belong to God; especially that all we do is within God’s view and, we trust, within his purposes. In fact, despite the effort of many, it is impossible to get away from him.
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; If I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, If I settle on the far side of the sea, Even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:8–10.
The first line of this quote reminds me of yesterday’s news, that astronomers have found another 32 planets around other stars raising the number to over 500. This always raises the excitement that we can find another earth like ours with similar life upon it. Unlikely; other heavenly bodies all appear to be frozen wastes or stifling heat. Furthermore, our expanding universe appears to maroon us in an eternal space that God controls and where immense distances ensure we are contained in this solar system.
The immensity of God’s power is at once frightening and comforting. It is certainly a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, and terrifying that we cannot get away from accountability to him. Yet the offer he gives us of reconciliation with him gives us equally immeasurable security for life and for eternity. The vast universe is the big picture, and is an analogy of the big picture of our lives, “hidden with Christ in God.”

Welcome Back!

Tuesday October 20, 2009

After some experimentation we have finally come back here with our blogs. They are easily accessed from our website at http://norfords-writings.com/, or directly from this address at http://norfords.blogspot.com/.

You can also access Norfords' Writings from here by clicking the link on the side panel

Either way, we trust you find future information helpful or interesting, and look forward to meeting you here again on a regular basis.

Ann and Bryan Norford

Thursday October 8, 2009

Cole is HOME!

Here is the latest bulletin from Cole's mom. Thanks to all of you who prayed for a healthy outcome.

*From:* Joelle Alexander

*Sent:* Thursday, October 08, 2009 1:03 PM


Wanted to let you know that Cole is home!! We just got back from the hospital 1/2 hour ago... What a great feeling it is to have him home with us. All the screening for side effects from the meningitis have come back negative. He is doing great!

Thanks again to all for all your support, prayers, thoughts and helping hand through this tough time. We couldn't have made it through without you.

We hope that you all get to meet Cole very soon!!!

With much Love.

Dan, Joelle, Norah and Cole

Friday October 2nd, 2009

Cole is Improving

Thanks for your prayers. Below a note from Cole’s mother Joelle.

Ann and Bryan

From: Joelle Alexander [mailto:joelle_alexander@hotmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 9:50 PM

A quick note to let you know that Cole is doing great. The docs were successful at putting the picc in his leg and he bounced back from the anaesthetics quickly. He was really looking well tonight. He is out of ICU and back in Unit 2. He was only in ICU for 26 hours cause he was doing so well! We are so glad this part is over! Now he can get his treatment easily with no more pain and just work on getting better. Cole should be coming home in 8 days!! Yay.

Thanks again for your prayers and thoughts! We all feel relieved and are looking forward to taking our little hero home soon!


Daniel, Joelle, Norah and Cole

Joelle Alexander

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Love is Stronger than Death

In an earlier blog, we were happy to announce the birth of our first great grandson, Cole Ryan Alexander. Now we are seeking prayer for his recovery from serious infection that could include meningitis, besides kidney and blood infection. The time in hospital for most of his three and a half weeks of life has been traumatic for his little body, a harrowing one for his parents, and anxiety for other close relatives—grandparents and great grandparents!

His mother Joelle writes that through it all “He's a trooper, a very strong boy!” While some individuals—adults and children—are stronger than others, strength for all of us is gained from the love of those around us. It is common knowledge that a newborn cannot survive without love, and will die unless held and nurtured. Similarly, the will to survive for a newborn like Cole is strengthened by the love and care he receives from his parents.

Somehow, he will be sensing their love and devotion, the desire for him as an essential part of their family. It seems to me that love from another is what gives life its meaning, and the greater Cole senses that his little life already has meaning, the greater his will to participate in it and fight the disease and the pain of it.

This speaks to the meaning that life has for all of us—without the loving interest of another in our existence, life loses its meaning. The decisive significance of life is found in God’s love for us—that we were created purposefully and for a destiny with Him. That is why our souls crave for direction and meaning and it can only be found in the knowledge that God loves us and has an ultimate purpose for us.

We can all feel the pain and heartache that Dan and Joelle are experiencing this moment, although perhaps not to the same degree. But we trust that our love, prayers and support will increase their strength. And Cole himself will fight to be with them as he is drawn to their love and affection for him. Above all, our prayers can strengthen the bond between God and Cole created at birth that will be his ultimate healing.

Tuesday September 15, 2009

Most Terrorists may be Muslims, but not all Muslims are Terrorists

Few of us would feel comfortable meeting these three men, at least the way they are portrayed in these media photographs. But if we met them on the street we probably would not give them a second glance.

Nevertheless, these men were convicted of plotting suicide attacks to blow up seven flights from London's Heathrow airport to New York, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto and Montreal, using liquid bombs concealed in drink containers. The jets were planned to explode over the Atlantic simultaneously, and would have killed upwards of 2,000 people.

The three pictured above were sentenced separately to life in prison, with no less than 40, 36, and 32 years minimum to be served in detention. The trio were told they may never be released.

Short of capital punishment, this is perhaps the closest to punishment fitting the crime than most jurisdictions provide. Yet what is remarkable in this case is that the intent was considered equal to the action, the closest I’ve ever seen to Jesus’ charge that anger will be judged as murder, Matt. 5:21–22—the thought is as bad as the deed.

This conspiracy follows the New York, Madrid and London bombings, planned bombings of Toronto buildings and other attacks of the last decade all triggered by Muslim extremists. So it is not surprising that Maclean’s May 24th 2009 magazine found that 45% of Canadians consider mainstream Islam encourages violence.

Ann and I have had contact with a number of Muslim families over the years, and found that whatever interpretation is placed on the Quran’s promotion of violence, most Muslims want what we all want: freedom and security to raise our families. The massive migration of Muslims from their homelands to the west in recent years, bears testimony to the desire to escape from religious tyranny to the freedom of expression (however challenged) of western nations.

Even if not acknowledged, it is the Christian faith that has provided that freedom and the recent rejection of Sharia law in Ontario by Muslims themselves is evidence that they prefer the culture of the west to what they left behind.

While we may hear little against Islamist violence from the Islamic community—often from fear of reprisals!—Muslims have the same range of devotion to nominalism as Christianity does. The majority are not going to give up their new-found freedoms and return to what they escaped from any more than we would.

It may be surprising to find the same Maclean’s article referred to above also notes that 10% of Canadians believe that mainstream Christianity also encourages violence! In reality, every belief system has its fringe extremism and certainly Christian history attests to that.

Few of us in our right mind, including Muslims, can possibly believe that God’s call on our lives is to kill and maim as many countless innocent men women and children as possible any more than we applaud Hitler’s death camps. Our God given conscience tells us at least that much.

Your Muslim neighbour next door wants much the same from life as you do, and would welcome your friendship to help them understand how to achieve it. Eventually they may come to understand that the freedom we enjoy in the west is an outcome of the personal freedom we enjoy in Jesus Christ.