Monday, December 31, 2007

Step by Step

New Year always bring to mind New Year’s resolutions. It used to be intrinsically important to personally make one …but I think the tradition has lost much of its impetus.
I do not hear people so much any more seriously making resolutions for the New Year.

I think that may be for several reasons...
1. Time passes so quickly we haven’t had time to even think of a resolution (tongue in cheek)
2. People are not as driven for perfection as they use to be. (We have lowered the standards we set for ourselves.)
3. It is not in our ability to aim with any accuracy most goals set in the distant future.

It is this last reason that I had some thoughts about that I want to share with you.

Being directionally challenged (as my faithful readers know) I do not like to take directions from someone who does not understand this weakness in my makeup.
They will say “Just go to such and there and turn right at the west lights and if you follow the straight curve around and turn left as soon you have turned right , you will be facing our house !”
And yes... that is just how confusing it sounds to me...and yes I have every problem reaching my destination.
I love people who say ...”Where are you now? Ok... then take one step, then turn right…and you will see a purple tower. At the purple tower take two steps left and you will see a green house… pass the house and immediately after you will you will see a sign with an arrow… turn in the direction the arrow points and go for several more steps. Then you will find yourself at a cross road… turn left and take six steps and you will hear a barking dog standing on a pink front porch on your right …You have arrived - That is our house!”

I can ‘follow’ those directions just fine !!! I’m being a little light hearted here on this last day of the year…but I think there is a truth here.

We are not called sheep without reason. Sheep don’t find their own pasture, they need a Shepherd to lead them and they will follow… step by step.
When we make our own resolutions or plan our own destinations… often we have no idea of the cards life will deal us along the way, how many unknown detours will block our chosen path, how circumstances will change … how the world itself may change. And so our resolutions and our plans fail because we get ‘lost’ along the way.

Let us determine that in this coming year we will be trusting ‘followers’ - step by step- through the year as our Lord Shepherd leads, beginning just where we are.
If we will do this, the end of 2008 will find all of us having arrived at exactly the ‘right destination’.

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” (Prov. 16:9)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Amazing Hornbill

In Africa there lives a most unusual bird , the Hornbill, so named because of her large beak and the horn above her beak.

The natural habitat of the Hornbill is in the vaulted space high above the green canopies of the jungle. She loves to fly and is swift of wing eluding her would be predators. She swoops and soars in the vastness of her freedom.
But then comes the time to raise her young and this considered ugly bird plays out a beautiful ritual.

First she seeks and finds a hollow in a tree that is large enough to allow room for her large body.
She enters and does not come out again until her family is grown.
Immediately she and her mate go to work to close up the entrance to her nest with mud and dung until the entrance is completely closed off – except for a slot that is the exact shape of her beak. Through this hole her mate will pass her her food while she lays her eggs and sits on them . When they hatch he will have to work even harder to provide enough food for all of them .
Not only does the slot opening allow food to be brought in but it serves for another purpose as well. With perfect aim she passes her own waste out of the nest… thereby not only keeping her nest clean but also using her deadly aim as an effective deterrent to curious little monkeys who might try to reach into the opening for a quick meal.
Her children will be perfectly safe but their safety is also her prison.

And so she sits and waits in her self-imposed prison of darkness for her chicks to hatch. But once they have hatched she does the most amazing thing. One by one she pulls out all her feathers…her flying feathers.... and tosses them out through the nest opening.
Because in the small space of the nest her feather shafts would scratch and hurt her babies and in an act of extreme love she gives up the very thing that defines her nature – her ability to fly!

I’m sure you can see where I am going with the illustration this Hornbill mother portrays.

What a beautiful picture of what Jesus did for us.
He gave up the glorious expanse of eternity and came down to a tiny place on the miniscule speck we call earth - so insignificant when viewed from the great universe of eternity, His natural habitat. He was held here, made captive by the dung of our sin – yours and mine.
And yet He came and stayed willingly --- captive and vulnerable yet there was an opening left --- an opening through which He communicated with His Father receiving the sustenance and strength that He needed.

He was said to have “no form or comeliness and when we see Him no beauty that we should desire Him” (Is. 52:3) and yet to those who loved Him He was beautiful.

Not only did He come to ‘sit’ with those He came to save but He limited Himself to their same space making Himself vulnerable in the same weak , human flesh we all are imprisoned in.
He gave up the freedom of His natural life , yes – the very glory He had shared with His Father.

And then He did the ultimate… He put off the very flesh that gave Him life… He put it off so that we could live. He gave His life that we might live - not hurt by the shafts of God’s judgment ‘feathers’ but rather comforted by the down on His breast.

Is it not an amazing God we call Father?

Isaiah 66:13 “As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you!”

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Wishing You a Blessed Christmas !

To all my dear readers...
I want to thank you for your encouragement over the last year!
I have so appreciated every one of your visits and your comments !!
I wish you and yours the most blessed Christmas season
May our Saviour cover you with His love,
fill your hearts with joy !!

So many years ago the angel spoke to a young teenage girl..

"Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God,
Behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son,
and shall call His name Jesus.
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest
the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David,
He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,
of His kingdom there will be no end!! "

May we all pause this holiday season to give thanksgiving and glory
to the Giver of all good gifts,
and especially for
the greatest gift of all, His Son, our Saviour !!

Monday, December 17, 2007

What do you have to give?

The Christmas season is fast approaching and what to give to the loved ones on our gift list is uppermost on most of our minds.

We want our gifts to be the best we can afford and we put much time and effort into seeking out that perfect gift .

But it is Jesus' birthday we are celebrating ... Have you considered what you are going to give Him?

Have you ever noticed how you can't outgive God and how little He needs to do something mind-boggling in return?

He took nothing and created the world.

He took five loaves and two fishes and fed a multitude with 12 baskets left over.

He took a nameless widow’s few drops of oil and a little flour and fed her and her son for the duration of the famine !

He took Rahab’s willingness to help two foreign strangers and saved her and her family and made her an ancestor of Jesus.

He took a little shepherd boy’s sling and five little stones and killed a giant and raised up the shepherd boy to be the most beloved King of Israel.

He took Tabitha’s gift of sewing and raised her up from the dead…and put her in the pages of scripture.

He took Ruth’s willingness to leave home and country and put her into a prosperous, secure place, with husband , son and happiness.

Enoch gave God his whole heart , and God took him to heaven bypassing death !

A poor woman dropped two tiny coins into the temple box and Jesus declared it to be the greatest gift anyone gave.

He took a little boy’s willingness to hear His voice in the middle of the night and made him a great prophet.

He took a little servant girl’s tender heart and healed mighty Naaman.

God took what was in Moses’s hand, a rod, and used it to destroy the might Eyptians.

“What is that in your hand?” (Ex. 4:2)

Be it ever so small, be it ever so humble, if you give it to God He can do mighty things with it.

God can do little with a man’s ‘much’ , but He can do much with a man’s little!!

It matters not how small your gift is , it matters how big your God is.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Gift Game

We have all played it. The Gift Game.
Everyone sits in a circle and the gifts are placed in the center. There are several variations but basically the game is based on each person choosing a gift from the pile or choosing to steal a gift someone else has already opened.

One year at my extended families Christmas gathering, we were playing ‘the game’ as we had many other years.
My granddaughter, who had just celebrated her third birthday, was playing with her cousin on the other side of the room. As the game progressed I noticed her leave her place of play and make her way over to me. She came to stand in front of me and placed her little arm over the gift in my lap. Looking around the circle she said, “Nanna, this is your present. I don’t want them to take it away.”

I opened my mouth to tell her it was alright, that we were just having fun but the words died on my tongue.

We had taught her to be kind, to share and not take toys away from someone else. Now how was I to explain to her that it was okay for adults to behave as naughty children?

The game suddenly lost its appeal for me as I viewed it through her eyes.

Someone said that if it is wrong to do it, it is wrong to imitate it or to watch it.

Think about it.
How often do we indulge in double standards?
What do the things we laugh at reveal about who we are?
What about the TV shows we watch? Are our sympathies pulled to the side of the one committing adultery?
Do we allow violence, bloodshed, coarse language into our home through the media and yet teach our children it is wrong?
Have we been desensitised by images we see everyday, by opinions we listen to that are in conflict with God’s Truth?
Do we refrain from speaking out against something we know is wrong because we don’t want to ruffle feathers or be caught standing alone?

I understand why God said, “Except you become as a little child, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 18:3)
Not childish, but childlike! Innocent and trusting, without guile, honest and true.

“Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill?
He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart!”
(Psalm 15:1,2)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

You've Never Seen it All

I received this photo in my e-mail today and was once more amazed with wonder at God's creation.
This is the Atlas moth; the largest moth in the world with a wing span of almost a foot.
Its protection from small mammal and bird predators is the frightening snake heads on the tips of its wings. I think it is enough to scare me away !!
The Atlas moth of course emerges from it's cocoon in its adult form. As an adult it has no stomach and no mouth , for it has no need to eat; it lives off the fat it stored while it was in its cocoon.
During the two weeks it spends as an adult it is focused on mating and laying its eggs and then dying.

My first thought in looking at this amazing moth was that God delights in confounding the so called wise of this world. How could evolution ever figure out that to frighten away predators snakes heads on the moth's wing tips would do the trick ?

I Cor. 1:27-
"But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise..."

I love it when science is baffled by the things God does with ease!!

Then I thought about this moth who is born with only one purpose -- to procreate and then die. This moth is totally equipped to fulfill its purpose.... it is protected from harm, it is unhindered by distractions, (with no mouth it is not tempted to eat) it takes no notice of the fact that its short life will be over when its self-less purpose is fulfilled.

I thought how we could learn from the example of this moth.

We too have been born to fulfill a specific purpose.

We too have a very short life to do it in - compared to eternity . I am reminded of a little verse I learned when I was a child.
Only one life- twill soon be past... only what is done for Jesus will last.

We too are protected from harm "... it shall by no means hurt them.." Mark 16:18

We will be unhindered by distractions if we "lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us..." Heb. 12:1

And truly we are equipped , prepared "for every good work!" II Tim. 2:21

And we need to remember that the things of this world will never satisfy -- our focus needs to be on the eternal "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.." Matt. 6:33

Isn't it a shame that a moth is more faithful and true to the purpose to which it is called then many who call themselves Christians?

credits - the above photo was taken by Robert Perry and will appear on front cover of the Dec.07 - Feb.08 edition of Creation Magazine

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Hot or Cold

We were invited out to dinner at our friends’ house yesterday.
It has been cold here the last while but pleasantly so, the air crisp and fresh and a delight to breath. But last night it was bitingly cold with a wind to drive it through your bones.
We just caught our breath and rushed from car to house and from house to car. No loitering or looking around … just a mad dash with head down – focused on getting out of the cold.

I thought of the opposite extreme when the sun is unbearably hot. Again people are focused on getting out of the heat… and finding a cool spot in the shade or preferably near water.

I was reminded of the verse in Rev. 3:15, 16 where Jesus says, “I could wish we were cold or hot, but because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, will I spew you out of My mouth.”

A person who is cold or hot is very easily motivated to move from his uncomfortable position. In fact he is quite focused on movement.
I was thinking of how the longsuffering of God, motivated by His desire that all men should be saved, brings ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ applications to our lives for the purpose of moving us toward Him.
Often the things that make us uncomfortable are the things that spur us toward change. It is our choice whether the changes are good or not, but our attention has been alerted, the opportunity has been presented.

Lukewarm is like a pacifier. It makes us lazy, happy to stay where we are, unmotivated and unwilling to give up our half-asleep ease in our comfort chair. It makes us unaware of our need, unaware of our spiritual lack and the fact that our ‘chair’ is drifting out to sea.

Have you checked lately if you are hot or cold? Are you rushing toward the shelter of God’s arms to find the security, the answers you need? Is God your focus? And pleasing Him your delight?
Or are you lukewarm, sitting in your easy chair, drifting along, happy with your own answers and doing that which is right in your own eyes?

Rom. 2:4 “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”

Ps. 18:30 “As for God, His way is perfect, the word of the Lord is proven, He is a shield to all those that trust in Him.”

Sunday, November 25, 2007

To Be or Not to Be - that is the Question

We live in a world that is fraught with pitfalls and lurking dangers everywhere. Not only in a physical sense but also in a personal, relational sense and our natural reaction is to become protective of ourselves, trying to minimize the opportunity for painful experiences – to keep ourselves from being hurt by others.

Webster’s defines vulnerable as “capable of being physically or emotionally wounded, open to attack or danger.”
That certainly sounds like something to avoid at all cost.
That has the sound of ‘victim’ in its definition, something none of us want to be.
And so we learn to avoid putting ourselves in a vulnerable situation.

However, In putting up the protective walls that keep us from being vulnerable we also keep people out…we are not as accessible, we are not as willingly available for someone who is needy , someone who needs a helping hand to encourage or help them along the way .
We even prefer to give to missions overseas…because then there is no danger of us becoming entangled with the person we are ‘helping’.

But is this how God wants us to be? Is this part of the victorious life we are called to?

Some years ago… before my life-saver spell check … I was looking to my heavy Webster to confirm my spelling of ‘vulnerable’.
I found it…but my eyes caught on a word several entries down from ‘vulnerable’.
The word was … ‘vulnerary’

I had never heard of the word…and I suspect you haven’t either. It is not a word that is commonly used.

The meaning of vulnerary is “used for the healing or treating of wounds”.

There is a beautiful description of the heavenly city in Rev. 22:2 that says, “In the midst of the street of it and on either side of the river was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits and yielded her fruit every month and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

I see this verse as a break-through verse… where eternal things break through to be used for earthly purposes. God calls us a “tree planted by the waters of life that gives forth his fruit in his season, his leaf also shall not wither and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper!” (Ps. 1:3)

There is no room for being the ‘victim’ in any situation if we are a child of the Father !
We are called, not to be vulnerable, but vulnerary !!!
Not self-centered but other-centered… not focused on our own wounds but looking to heal those of others.

And in the reaching out to heal others… we ourselves walk in health. It’s just the way it works in God’s kingdom.

To be vulnerable, or to be vulnerary…that is the question !!

Which will you choose?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Put to Shame

All too often we suffer from tunnel vision.
All we see is life’s circumstances from our own narrow point of view and we judge and complain and worry and panic.
God is so patient with us and so gracious in wanting us to broaden our view to leave room for His marvellous intervention and purposes.

He has taken care to record for us real life characters and their life situations. Characters that are just like us, who felt the same emotions and worried the same worries and fears.
We tend to read these stories from God’s point of view backwards and say, “Well, yes, I could trust God under those circumstances too,”
But if we step back and take an unbiased view while standing in the characters' shoes we may realize that they had no more reason to ‘believe’ the miraculous was going to change their lives than we do.

Take for example the woman from Zerephath.

Zerephath was located in Sidon, in the land of the Gentiles. There lived a widow woman whose name we do not know.
She lived alone with her son and at the time she is introduced to us in I Kings 17, she was living in very difficult times.
Not only did she live alone having lost her husband but she had a beloved son for whom she was struggling to provide . I’m sure she tried to keep her fears hidden from him, assuring him all would be well, careful to keep her anxious heart hidden behind a cheerful countenance.
As a true mother, she more and more often did without herself to make sure her son would not go hungry. How easy it was to say, “Oh, I’m not hungry, why don’t you finish up the last piece?”

She lay awake at night, worrying… knowing that the bin of flour was dangerously close to being totally empty and the jar of oil was almost used up.
What should she do?
There was no one to borrow from…her neighbours had barely enough for themselves. She had no family that would take her and her son in. No one needed or wanted two more mouths to feed in time of famine.
Her stomach twisted into anxious knots as she realized she had no options, her hope was gone.

She thought about the neighbouring people she had heard about, the Israelites. It was said that they had a God who was able to do wondrous things on behalf of His people. How wonderful it would be to have a God like that! But He was not her God, she was a Gentile and He was the God of the Jews.

Finally, the day came that she had dreaded for so long. There was nothing more she could do. There was only enough flour and oil to make one last small cake.
Today was the day that she and her son would have their last meal and then there was nothing to do but wait until starvation took their lives. She only hoped her son would die first so that he would not be left alone. Her heart was heavy and her eyes blurred with tears as she went outside the city limits to gather a few sticks to make a fire to cook their last meagre meal.

She was just outside the city gates looking for her firewood when someone called out to her. She looked up and saw a strange man who had stopped to address her.
She was curious. She recognized him as being a Jew, one who served the mighty God.
She looked at him expectantly and when Elijah saw that he had her attention, he asked her for a drink of water.
Without a word she turned to go to fetch it. But the stranger wanted more. He called to her again, “And could you please also bring me some bread?”

Her heart lurched!
Sadly she replied, “As the Lord your God lives, I do not have any bread. All I have is a handful of flour and a tiny bit of oil. These sticks you see in my hand are to make a fire to cook my one last cake, so my son and I can eat it and die.”

Elijah felt the stirring of the Spirit within him and he was moved with compassion for the woman…. He said, “Do not fear…go and make your son and yourself a cake but please make one for me first.”

The woman looked at Elijah. What part of no flour and oil left did he not understand? Something in his face, his eyes gazing so intently into hers calmed her fearful heart and a peace came upon her. Why not do as this man of God was asking her to do?

Perhaps she thought, what difference does one cake make ? My son and I are going to die anyway; I may as well give my last cake to this man of God with the eyes that look right through me.

But what was this man saying? To her incredulity, Elijah told her that her flour would not be used up nor would her jar of oil run out until the day that his Lord God would send rain upon the earth and the famine would be over.

The widow woman can put many of us to shame. She did not know this God of the Jews. She did not know this strange prophet who was hungry and asking for her last bit of food. How did she know he was telling her the truth?
But she believed and went and made the cake and brought it to him.
I wonder if she doubted when she went back into her kitchen, wondering if truly there would be enough flour and oil left for a cake for herself and her son?

Wonder of wonders !! there was ! I’m sure the cakes she made for her son and herself that day
tasted better than any she had ever made. And if her son asked for more he could have more !! And she no longer needed to sacrifice her meal for him.
No matter how many cakes she made the flour bin , just as Elijah had said, did not diminish and the oil jar always had enough oil for one more cake !!!
And so it was until the famine was over !!!

Can you imagine the joy in the widow’s heart and the awe she felt to think that this God of the Israelites, knew where she , a nameless Gentile widow woman lived, and He cared enough to send His great prophet to her to save her and her son from starvation??

We have her mentioned by Jesus, in Luke 4:26. Jesus angers the leaders in the synagogue by pointing out that there were many widows in Israel during the time of the famine…but no prophet was sent to them because of their unbelief but a prophet was sent to a Gentile widow who had more faith than God’s own people.

Let us learn from this story that God preserved for us, a story that is meant to encourage us that no matter how black things look or how hopeless, there is always God--- who is never at a loss to provide for the needs of His people. And surely He is aware of our circumstances and our needs.

If the Gentile woman who only knew of God through hearsay could trust His prophet.. how much more reason do we have to trust God in and through our most difficult circumstances.
Let us not be put to shame along with the religious leaders of Jesus’ time.

Friday, November 16, 2007

By Chance or by Design?

“An Amazing Book”

Reading the story of Joseph one day, a couple of details caught my attention -- the fact that no sin is recorded for Joseph and he was sold for pieces of silver. It struck me that both details were also true of Jesus. So I put on my thinking cap and looked closer to see how many other details Joseph and Jesus shared.
I found 51....
What do you think? Is this by chance or design????

1. both were descendants of Abraham
Matt. 1:2 -------------------- Matt. 1:17

2. both names start with the same letter
J- oseph -------------------- J- esus

3. both were ‘first born’ of their mothers
Gen. 30:22-24 ------------------Matt.1:23

4. 12 brothers/tribes - Joseph -------12 disciples – Jesus
see Numbers 1:20-42 – there are 12 names designating the 12
tribes, counting Joseph would make 13,
Jesus had 12 disciples , counting Jesus would make 13

5. both were beloved of their fathers
Gen. 37:3 ---------------------- Matt. 3:17

6. both had divine callings on their life
Gen. 37:9,10 --------------------Matt. 2:5,6

7. both belittled/doubted by their brothers
Gen. 3:7,19 ---------------------- John 7:3,5

8. both wore a ‘special’ coat
Gen.37:3 ------------------------ John 19:23,24

9. their ‘own’ sought to kill them
Gen.37:20 -----------------------Matt.12:14, John 7:19

10. both were taken into Egypt
Gen. 37:28 ---------------------- Matt.2:13,14

11. both were sold for pieces of silver
Gen. 37:28 ---------------------- Matt.26:15

12. both were betrayed by one of the twelve closest to them
Gen. 37:22,27 --------------------Matt. 26:14

13. both were separated by ‘death’ from their father because
of the sin of others
Gen. 37:35 --------------------Matt. 27:46 , Is. 53:6

14. both were ‘restored’ to their father
Gen. 46:29 -------------------- John 20:17(16:28) John17:11

15. both left ‘glory’ to be humbled as a servant
Gen. 39:1,4,13 --------------------Matt.20;28 , Matt.12:18

16. the blood of a kid covered the sins of their ‘brothers’ before the father
Gen.37:31,32 --------------------Lev.4:22-24

17. both were falsely accused and brought before the courts
Gen. 39:18,19 --------------------John 18:12,13

18. Joseph has no sin ascribed to him, Jesus had no sin
------------------------------ I John 3:5

19. both were despised for giving a negative report
Gen. 37:2 --------------------Matt.21:13,14, Matt.23:27

20. both left their homeland
Gen. 37:28 --------------------I John 17:5

21. both were destined to ‘rule’ over their family
Gen. 37:10 --------------------Matt.2:6

22. both saved both Jews and Gentiles
Gen. 41:57 --------------------Romans 9:24

23. both rode through the streets lined by people who worshipped them
Gen. 41:43 --------------------Matt.21:9-11

24. both were tempted
Gen. 39:7 --------------------Matt.4:1

25. both were given Gentile brides
Gen. 41:45 --------------------Rev. 21:2,9

26. both recognized that what was intended for evil God turned for good
Gen. 50:20 --------------------Heb. 12:2

27. Joseph had two sons, Jesus had two flocks -- the younger one given the inheritance
(Gen. 48:19 --------------------Gal. 4:21-31, John 10:16
( the New Covenant inherits what the Old Covenant could not receive)

28. both ‘tested’ their brothers / disciples
Gen. 42 --------------------Mark 8:27-30

29. both had strong trust in God
Gen, 41:51,39:2,41:16, 40:8 ------------ Luke 9:35

30. both wept
Gen. 42:24,43:30,45:2------------------ John 11:35

31. both forgave their brothers
Gen. 45:15, 50:17,21 --------------------Luke 6:37

32. both spoke the word of God to the people
Gen. 40:8 -------------------- John 12:49,50

33. both hid their identity
Gen. 4:23 --------------------Luke 24:16, John 8:59

34. both began their ‘ministry’ at age 30
Gen. 41:46 -------------------- Luke 3:23

35. both submitted to being mistreated – example of meekness
Gen. 39:20,21,Gen.39:4-----------Is. 42:2,Is. 53, I Peter 2:22,23

36. neither were accepted in his ‘own’ country
Gen. 37:19,20 --------------------John 1:11

37. both died in a foreign land
Gen. 50:26 --------------------John 19:30.17:12
Joseph died in Egypt ( a type of the world)
Jesus died in the world having left His home in glory)

38. both went to a far away place to prepare a place for their people
Gen. 45:9-11 --------------------John 14:2,3

39. both multiplied bread
Gen. 41:49 -------------------- Matt. 15:37

40. Joseph gave bread for life – Jesus IS the bread of life
Gen. 41:57 --------------------John 6:35

41. both provided salvation
Gen. 42:2 --------------------John 3:16

42. both were rulers
Gen. 45:8 --------------------Matt.2:6

43. both suffered unjustly
Gen.42:21,Ps.105:18 --------------------Is. 53:5

44. both were buried with the rich
Gen. 50:26 --------------------Is.53:9, John 19:38-42

45. neither remained in their grave
Ex. 13:19 - John 21:14

46. both prophesied of things to come
Gen. 40:12,13 --------------------Matt. 24:24,25

47. both in recognizing their ‘mission’ were reprimanded by their parents
Gen. 37:10 --------------------Luke 2:48

48. both were shepherds - feeding their 'flocks'
Gen. 37:2 --------------------John 10:14

49. both were stripped of their tunics
Gen. 37:23 --------------------Matt. 27:28

50. Joseph was in prison with two criminals , one was set free
Jesus was crucified with two criminals , one was set free
Gen. 40:2,3 --------------------Matt.27:38, Luke 23:42,43

51. both prophesied concerning themselves – their future
Gen. 37:9 --------------------John 2:9

52. both were tested by God
Psalm 105:19----------------- Luke 4:1

53. both had a 'special' cup to drink from
Gen. 42:2...............................Matt. 20:22

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Enoch - a Man of Few Words

There is a man in the Old Testament that has always fascinated me.
There is very little said about him but what is said begs our attention.

The man’s name is Enoch and we read about him in a few short verses in Genesis 5:19-14.

We are given very few facts about his life.
We are told his father’ name was Jared.
We are told that Enoch was 65 years old when his first born son was born. This son was Methuselah who is remembered to this day for his long life...969 years.
We are told that Enoch had other sons and daughters but we are not given their names.
We are told that Enoch’s sojourn on earth was a total of 365 years.

Not a lot of information as to what kind of a life he lived or what he did,
but there are two more pieces of added detail that make this man intriguing.

It says that Enoch walked with God for 300 years.

Reading between the lines we realize that something must have happened when Enoch was 65 that changed his life. All we know that happened that year is that he became a father. Could it be that becoming a father was such an incredible experience to him that his thoughts and mind turned to God? We don’t know …we just know from that year forward to the day he left this earth he walked with God.

Then we are given the amazing fact that one day God simply ‘took him’ and he was never seen again - he vanished off the face of this earth.

Can you imagine the confusion and alarm in his household when he does not come home at the expected time?
I imagine the servants would have been sent out to look for him and though they searched long and hard, they found no sign of their master.
He had simply disappeared.
When the servants finally returned empty handed …I would think his children would have gone out themselves to look for him, following familiar pathways, looking for him in all his favourite places.
How long would it have taken them to realize that God had taken their husband, father and grandfather? Did they grieve or were they simply in awe?

Did they think about what had made their father different? Did they talk about how Enoch had 'walked with God' ?

We are given one further clue about Enoch in the New Testament.

“By faith Enoch was translated so that he did not see death and was not found because God had translated him for before his translation he had this testimony that he pleased God.” (Heb.11:5)

Aww… here we are told why God took Enoch….it was because of Enoch’s faith in God.
Enoch was known as a man who trusted God.
It was his unfailing trust in God that pleased God so much he ‘took him’ -- translated him from the dimension of this world to the dimension of the world beyond --- without Enoch ever tasting death.
I think about Enoch walking with God every day ...every day more precious than the day before...and one day God just says, "I'm just going to take you home with me today."
Because of Enoch's faith??

Hebrews 11:6 says “Without faith it is impossible to please God…”

There is only one thing we can give God that pleases Him… our trust in Him.
The more we trust Him the more we walk with Him… the more we walk with Him the more we trust Him… the more we trust Him…the more we please Him in all we do.

Trust comes with knowing someone …. How did Enoch learn to know God?
Did he meet someone who knew someone who had known Adam and Eve?
Or did he read the evidence in creation (Rom 2:20) and learn to know the character of God and His trustworthiness?
Did he look at his own son and feeling the tenderness and love in his heart realize that God had to be even more tender-hearted and full of love toward His children?
I wonder …what were his life circumstances, his daily trials that tested his trust in God - and yet could not shake him?

Enoch – a man about whom we have recorded only a few words, and not one word that he himself spoke ….but oh… what an example he has set before us.

To trust God, to please God, to walk with God.

What higher aspiration could we possible have???

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lest We Forget

Remembrance Day, a holiday in Canada today.
The words that come to mind on this day are the words that have come to be recognized as the words that symbolize everything this day stands for.

Lest we Forget !

Would it surprise you to know that God authored those words many, many years ago?

In Deut. 4 Moses says, “Now , O Israel , Listen….”
He is reminding God’s people of all that that has been given them – the privelges they enjoy because of the Lord their God.
He exclaims in vs. 7 and 8…….

“What great nation is there that has God so near to it as the Lord our God is to us for whatsoever reason we may call upon Him? And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day? “

Then he warns them “Only take heed to yourself and diligently keep yourself…..
He reminds them in vs. 9 to remember the things they have seen, the things that they have experienced and to remember to pass on their memories to their children and their grandchildren.

"Lest you forget !!!” (4:9)

He warns them of the dangers that will come upon them if they forget the covenant of their God and they begin to serve other gods.
He warns them that when their children and grandchildren grow old in the land and they have forgotten the law of their God and made for themselves other gods…then they will provoke God to wrath.
Again he says….

“ Lest you forget!!!” (4:23)

He warns them again in 6:12 , to remember that it was their God. that brought them out of bondage into freedom. And he reminds them to make sure that they teach their children that it was God who gave them the wealth and freedom that they enjoy. “

“Lest you forget !!” (6:12)

So today, on Remembrance Day… Let us not Forget ! …. to whom we owe our allegiance and our gratitude and our thanksgiving and our worship… and let us not forget to teach our children and our grandchildren what a great God we serve !!!

“Lest we forget !!”

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Earth-side Views

Sometimes things happen that are unexpected.
Things that turn our world upside down.
That make us wonder if life will ever be the same again.
Things that cause agony of soul and mind.
Things that are difficult to accept and make us cry “Why?”

But I believe every heart wrenching “Why?” needs to be answered with Moses’ words…”Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen 18:25)

Of course! God makes no mistakes. He is ever seeking the best for His children.
Bottom line…. No matter what…. We can trust Him in every situation, no matter how dark it looks from our earth-side view.

Sometimes we are given a glimpse of Him working through or in a very difficult life situation and we need to tuck these glimpses into our heart and let them be seeds that grow into a harvest of trust in our Father God !

Let me share one of my glimpses.

I have a friend. named*Sherrie.
She grew up with a mother who was distant and rather cold. I was always very uncomfortable in her company.
Sherrie tried all her life to please her mother but never felt she even came close.

Then her mother began to show signs of Alzheimer’s and was eventually positively diagnosed.
It was like a death blow at first as I am sure it is for all families who have to deal with the ‘mental’ loss of a loved one.
Sherrie struggled with the changes that had to be made and to learn what she could of this horrific disease. She had to try to deal with the unusual behaviours of her mother and even the practical aspects of simply ensuring her safety and finally having to find a home for her that would give compassionate care.

But then Sherrie noticed something happening.
Their relationship began to change.
One day Sherrie commented to me in amazement, “I finally have the mother that I have always wanted.”
When the disease robbed Sherrie’s mother of most of her memory, it seems she ‘forgot’ what had made her so hard and bitter all her life and she became the most gentle, caring soul.
She began to trust Sherrie and cling to her as the only stable thing in her life.
To the very end she always recognized Sherrie - even when she recognized no one else.

One weekend I travelled with Sherrie and her mother to a family event some hours drive away. I went with them to stay with Sherrie’s mother when she needed rest and Sherrie could not be there.
At one point I was walking Sherrie’s mother back to our hotel room, and she was struggling to grasp where she was and why.
Even five minutes she would ask, “And who are you?” I would reply that I was Sherrie’s friend and Sherrie had asked me to take care of her. “Oh, good, “was her repeated and relieved reply, “If Sherrie knows, then it is good.”
She also kept asking where we were going… she didn’t remember the hotel room she had left a short time ago.
Finally, we got back and I was feeling such compassion for her mental struggle to make sense of what was going on. I opened the door to our room and said, “There we are back... Now you can rest…you don’t have to think anymore.”
Sherrie’s mother had always had a keen sense of humour and even Alzheimer’s could not rob her of it. She replied dryly, “Good, because I have nothing left to think with!”

On the drive back home we stopped to do a little window shopping in a quaint little town. Sherrie and her mom were very fast walkers and I was usually a few feet behind, struggling to keep up.
We had to cross a street at one point and half way across Sherrie’s mother suddenly stopped and asked, her voice full of alarm, “Where is Julie?”
This woman who could not remember my name…who asked every five minutes why I was there …. In a flash moment of compassion expressed a concern for my safely, remembering even my name. It was gone again in the next minute, but I remember the ‘gift’ she gave me in that moment.
To show compassion or express concern was totally uncharacteristic of her throughout her life. But in her last years Alzheimer’s freed a side of her that no one ever guessed was there.

Sherrie called me when her mother was dying and we stood together at her bedside when the Lord called her home. It was a beautiful and treasured experience.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Out of Silence

Joseph and the good times in Egypt were distant memories.
A story told to children at bedtime.
Life had been reduced to repetitive, back breaking slave labour.
Making endless bricks from morning until night, day after day under the burning hot sun.
Life had lost its joy and its meaning.
Even their God had turned His face away from them.
Their cries were met with silence.
Futility had settled into their souls.
Generation after generation nothing changed.
400 years has passed since their God has last spoken
400 years of silence.

Then suddenly, the heavens opened! God responded to their cries and raised up Moses, their deliverer !!
God’s voice was once again heard ! He took them out of Egypt, out of bondage, drowned their enemy in the sea !!
He set them free !! Free ! They had forgotten what it felt like.
Oh the rejoicing, the celebrating that now filled their days.
Then wonder adding to wonder Moses told them that they were going to build a tabernacle – a dwelling place for God.
The God who had been silent for 400 years was now going to dwell among them ??
How eagerly they gathered together what they would need to build the tabernacle. Everything Moses called for the people brought, joyfully and willingly until they had to be told to stop – there was more than enough to build God’s house.

But time went on and people forgot ! How short is man’s memory.
Once again , man chose bondage over freedom , sin over righteousness and their own gods over the One who dwelt among them.

And once again God turned His face away and stopped speaking to them.
For another 400 years.

Then God raised up John the Baptist who called the people back to repentance….and He raised up His own Son to set His people free.
To take them out of bondage, out of the grasp of the Enemy and into His sweet Presence.
Again God said, “I will dwell among you !”
John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory and the glory as of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth.”

And again, God wanted a tabernacle built for Him to live in. This time , not of physical materials but out of flesh – His believers, His own children – the called-out ones out of Egypt.
“In whom you also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Eph. 2:22)

Though we are builded together, as many members, into the ‘body’ of Christ we are also individually a temple of God’s Spirit. (Rom.12:5, I Cor. 6:15)

You and I are clay vessels into whom God has poured His Spirit.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.” (II Cor. 4:7)

Are you aware of the treasure you carry within you ?
Do you share it with those around you?
Do you honour God in how you keep His taberncle? Is it a place worthy to be the dwelling place of the Most High?
Are you still celebrating with joy the fact that God broke His silence to speak through His Son?
Do you hear His voice? Are you eagerly listening for it ? With a heart soft toward obedience?

Sunday, October 28, 2007


The above is a china dog I have in my possession.

It was given to my parents as a wedding present, which makes it at least 62 years old.

When I was two my mother had professional photos taken of me and to encourage me to sit still she allowed me to hold this china dog that I loved to look at.

I remember feeling so privileged that I was trusted enough to hold this dog, although I remember wondering why I was allowed to hold it now when always before I had been forbidden to touch it.
I remember feeling the responsibility of being careful not to drop it.

I have only to look at this china dog, to remember vividly the feelings and thoughts I had as a two year old.

I love memory triggers - things that help me to hold on to memories that are sentimental, life changing or important for the future.
We are today the sum total of our past. Every day has had its part in creating the person we have become.
Memories help us to keep our mooring in the face of change, help us hold on to the things that connect us to our past.

Memories of happier days comfort us when our today is lonely, difficult or sorrow filled.
Memories are what we use to fill the empty spots left by things or people who are no longer part of our daily lives.
Memories are the treasures of yesteryears that are like jewels in a jewellery box or cherished photos in an album.

Memories also help us live today better than we lived yesterday. We are creatures who learn best by experience…and memories keep those experiences in our line of vision where we can continue to learn from them.

Memories also keep us connected to those we love, our bond kept strong by the sharing of our common memories.

Memories…a beautiful, meaningful and purposeful part of our life.

Did you know God wants us to make sure we provide memory triggers for ourselves and our children concerning what He has done in our lives ??

God had just confirmed Joshua as His choice to lead His people after the death of Moses. Joshua in obedience to God’s instructions had commanded the priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant to put their feet into the Jordon. As they did so, the Jordon backed up and stood still allowing the Israelites to cross over on dry land. The waters of the Jordon were held back until all the people with their children and flocks had crossed over.
Twelve men, each representing their tribe, were commanded by God to take up one stone each from the center of the Jordon and pile them up where they camped the first night after crossing the Jordon.
The piled up rocks were meant to be a sign for years to come when the children would pass by and ask, “Why are these stones here? What do they mean?” Then the parents and the grandparents would tell the marvellous story of how God miraculously provided a way for His people over the Jordon. (Joshua 4)

They did not have cameras; they did not have artist’s renditions of the event.. so God had them use what they had – something that would not be washed away by rain or destroyed by the ravages of time - rocks.

Did you ever stop to think that even today, the popularity of cameras and the desire to capture memories is really a very old directive of God?
Do you think to record, not only the moments of interest in your days, but also the times that will remind your children and grandchildren of the miracles, the evidence of God’s goodness in your life?
Will your descendents looking at your memory albums be reminded of what was most important in your life?
When you sit with your little ones and they say, “What is this picture?” will you be able to tell them stories about God?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Your Bible or your Cellphone?

A friend sent me the following this morning in an e-mail. You may have already seen it but I thought it was so good I'd post it.
The bible is being given an ever increasing less important place in our society and in our daily lives. It's authority is being eroded - even Christians stand guilty.
Perhaps if we as true followers of Christ made His Word a priority in our lives.... our world would be a different place!!!


I wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cellphone?
What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?
What if we flipped through it several time a day?
What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
What if we gave it to Kids as gifts?
What if we used it when we traveled?
What if we used it in case of emergency?
What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?
This is something to make you go....hmm...where is my Bible?
Oh, and one more thing.. Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill...
And no dropped calls!
Makes you stop and think "where are my priorities?"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I have always been fascinated by mushrooms.
This afternoon Vic and I spent some time taking the following photos.
All of the mushrooms are growing within a few square yards in our back yard.

Mushrooms are unique in so many ways.
I am intrigued by how many varieties there are... they seem endless and probably are. God's creativity has no boundaries.
When I look at God's creations I see that He loves variety, obviously taking pleasure in an abundant assortment , the details of which boggle our minds.
And then I think how much more pleasure He takes in creating each human being that has ever lived in the last 6,000 years unique and unlike any other.
You are so unique that without you , your 'species' would be extinct. God has no back up plan... if you do not fill the place in His eternal purposes that He designed just for you... no one else can.
I am completely mystified by mushrooms.
The mushrooms in the above photos were not there a few days ago. They have , in fact, never appeared in my back yard before. No one planted them. And they did not 'grow' like normal plants. They were just suddenly there!
They remind me of the secret work of God. How often have you prayed for a situation and see no resolution in sight. Nothing is changing; you see no reason for hope. Then all of a sudden, in a moment, everything is changed -- the answer is there... the miracle is in your hand !!
Or you are praying for the salvation of a loved one.
There seems to be no change in their attitude or their inclination toward God.
No work of God is visible to your eyes.
Then one day, the loved one comes to you and declares that they have changed direction -- that they have been born again and they are now living in the kingdom of God.
Jesus speaks of the work of God being invisible and mystical to our human eyes. He says in
John 3:8 "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it but cannot tell where is comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
There is a third characteristic of mushrooms that reminds me of God.
Mushrooms can be dangerous .... you have to know your mushrooms. If you do not fear them you can die from carelessly handling or eating the wrong ones.
And yet good mushrooms are delicious and a delightful addition to so many dishes.
So God too must be feared. He is a loving Father to His children but a Holy Judge to the unrighteous. Jesus said, "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
People are careful to avoid poisonous mushrooms but are often less careful to make sure that they are in right standing with the Judge before whom every man will one day stand to give an account of his life. (Romans 14:10-12)
The last thing that mushrooms remind me of is how fragile our life here on this earth is.
Mushrooms spring up overnight and then are gone as quickly.
The older I get the more I realize how very short our life here is... how little time there is to do the things I want to do.
The mushroom, though it mysteriously springs up and then quickly is gone, will spring up again just as mysteriously somewhere else.
And so we too , though this life is fleeting and over so quickly... we have another life waiting that will last all eternity. A life so beautiful and so richly rewarding that we will not give a backward glance to this earthly life we now value so much.
Rev. 21:4, 22:5 "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, and there shall be no more pain... for the former things have passed away...... and there shall be no night there. They need no lamp, nor light of the sun for the Lord God gives them light... And they shall reign forever and ever!"

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Ordinary Details of My Life

I was presented with a challenge…. turning another meme into a devotional. In tagging me Carolanne suggested that it might not be possible.

This meme consisted of questions concerning ordinary details of my life.
There are people who compartmentalize their life into neat little boxes and their faith fills one them.
I cannot do something by halves….if something is worth doing I do it wholeheartedly. For me my faith is 24/7. If I am a child of the King then it has to be part of every area and detail of my life.
So I see Carolanne’s meme as a worthy exercise to see if I can even do this meme with God in mind.

The questions and my answers are as follows:

1. What are four places that I have lived?
Since I have lived within a small radius all my life the few times I have moved have been within the same municipality, except for the last two years when I moved one over. Still, not much difference.
All of the places I lived were in the country except for four years when we lived in a subdivision in town. I am not a city girl. I love living where it is quiet – and where I have nature around me to remind me of the God who created all things.
And yet I always remember, I am not a citizen of this world but of a heavenly one. (Eph. 2:19)
I am seated in heavenly places with Christ. (Eph. 2:6)
As the hymn says, “This world is not my home…I’m just a-passing through.”

2.What are four jobs I have held?
All the jobs I have held came out of the creative gifts that God has given me. I worked ‘with my hands’. ( I Thess 4:11) But my earthly jobs, though necessary to meet my material needs, were really only places of opportunity to be faithful in my ‘real’ job…. To serve the King of Kings - “Always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain to the Lord.” (I Cor. 15:58)

3.What are four films I could watch over and over?
I watch very few movies simply because I am careful what I put into my mind. The ones I do love to watch are the ones that are wholesome and make a good deposit into my soul --- like Ben Hur, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Ten Commandments, Anne of Green Gables, The Sound of Music.

4.What are four TV shows I watch ?
I like documentaries, nature shows, Medical Miracles, Living Truth.
I love to watch programs that either teach me something or inspire me.

5.Four favourite foods?
God could have created us to be nourished through the air or water, but He wanted food to be more than our sustenance , He wanted the sharing of it to be an opportunity of fellowship and pleasure around the table. And look at the variety of foods He has blessed us with !! I love chocolate, fruit (especially grapes and nectarines) bread (though I can’t eat it anymore) chicken.

6. What are four websites I visit every day ? (not including blogs)
I don’t visit any websites on a daily basis…unless I can count g-mail…. I use web sites to glean information on a given subject I am interested in , and since that changes so do the sites I visit. We are so blessed in our age of technology. I know that everything can be - and is- used for evil but what a blessing to have at our fingertips any bit of information we need and use even our computers to glorify God and honor Him.

7. What are my four favourite colors?
I love pink… and I think God does too. Pink are the blossoming trees that declare that spring has come – the beginning of new life. Also the beautiful sun rise is pink…announcing a new, untarnished day. I also love purple – a royal color befitting the daughter of a King.
Green is on my favourite list… because all growing things are green…and I love burgundy the rich color of my Saviour’s blood.

8.What are four places I would like to be right now?
I would love to be standing before the throne of God listening to or being part of the choir worshipping Him. If I can’t be there I would like to be on a mountain top where God walks…and His Presence is so tangible. Or I would like to be in an underground church service where the worshippers are risking their lives to serve God. Or I would like to be right here where I am…. I am content to be where ever God is.

9. What are four names I love but could not/would not use for my children.
Of course the name I love above all names is the name of Jesus. I also love the names of people I admire like…. King David, the prophet Jeremiah or Malachi.

Instead of tagging four people, I am going to challenge you – my dear reader - to think about the ordinary things that make up your day….
Do you bring Christ into every moment?
Do you consider whether your actions, your words, your reactions honor Him?
Is your faith being clearly seen in any given moment of your day ????

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

According to Your Perspective

Vic dropped my younger granddaughter off at school yesterday.
Elora was reluctant to leave the car until her friend arrived so they sat in the car awhile and waited.
There was a group of children standing nearby and Vic asked if Elora knew them . “Oh, yes,” she said, “a couple of them are in my class.”
“Which ones? The boys?” asked Vic. “That boy looks really small .”
“Maybe from your perspective!” was Elora’s retort.

I knew what she meant. I laughed when Vic told me the story but it reminded me of when I was just six years old.
It was my first day of school.
I am so old that when I was young there was no preschool nor kindergarten. I started school with grade one.
My mother walked me the distance of just over a country mile to the one room schoolhouse that held grades one and two.
I was very excited and looking forward to learning to read.
But all my excitement turned to terror when the little schoolhouse came into view.
I saw two very big, tall boys hanging over the small fence beside the road.
I told my mother I had changed my mind…I didn’t want to go to school with those big boys. She laughed and said, “What big boys?? Those are little boys, they are only in grade two!”
Knowing what grade they were in really didn’t calm my fears, from my perspective they were huge and threatening !!

I thought about “from my perspective” and wondered how often we judge falsely because we judge ‘from our perspective’, without even realizing it.

There is an old saying attributed to the Native American (Indian) "Before I judge a man, let me first walk a mile in his moccasins."
“Walking in his moccasins” allows us to judge from ‘his perspective’ and not our own biased view.

Important as it is to open our hearts and listen to one another to understand their perspective….how much more important is it to not judge God from our perspective.

Many people judge God by what their earthly father modeled for them . If their father was harsh or cruel , then from their perspective God is disinterested in their life until He sees opportunity to bring difficulty or tragedy into their lives.
If their father was a benevolent passive parent , then from their perspective God is a God who passively watches them live their lives, handing out blessings.
Or some people’s perspective of God is unconsciously formed by bits and pieces of information they have gathered over the years, that may or may not be true . So then God becomes a god they have shaped with their own hands.

There is only one true perspective to have !! To see God for who He says He is.
He has revealed Himself in His creation and most importantly through His Word.
How much time have you spent “walking” in the Word making sure that the perspective you have concerning God and His ways is a true one?

“…that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He..before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. I, even I am the Lord and beside Me there is no savior…” (Is. 43:10,11)

“Oh,how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day….I have more understanding than all my teachers…. How sweet are Your words to my taste , sweeter than honey to my mouth…through Your precepts I got understanding ”
(Psalm 119:97,99,100,104)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Proud Rooster

For years we had a little hobby farm that I so enjoyed.

We had a few hens , a rooster and some rabbits in the same enclosure surrounded by chicken wire.
One clever little rabbit figured out how to untwist the wire with his teeth and by pushing his nose through to open the hole and continuing to untwist the next link and the next …eventually opened a hole big enough for him to escape.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence even when you are a rabbit.

Or a chicken.

Once the rabbit hopped through his escape hole, the hens were very quick to follow and clucked with great delight at the abundance of fresh food on the other side of their pen fence.
The rooster was extremely proud of his harem and watched over them with possessive passion. When he saw that they had escaped his protective custody he squawked and clucked with great frustration and paced angrily back and forth in the pen ordering them to come back.
His hens paid him no heed whatsoever.

He tried again and again to get through the hole that the rabbit and hens had slipped though with ease, but he could not get through, no matter how hard he tried.
Why ??

The hole was down close to the ground where it was comfortable for the rabbit to do his work. The hens had no problem getting through ; they just ducked their heads down and bending their knees , quickly followed each other out in rapid sucession.
The arrogant rooster could not humble himself and when he ran at the hole to get through it, it just hit him at breast level. He tried again and again but since he refused to bend… it was impossible.

I read the following quote this week in a negative book review of a Christian novel.

“you are forced to digest speech after speech enhancing the characters' recently discovered faith, and their overwhelming zeal to convince everybody -including the unwary reader- that not only is their faith the only true , the only unmistakable way , but also that unless you are a true Christian, brother: your days are doomed.”

We could dismiss this as one man’s comment but I have been hearing more and more of this kind of sentiment… there is a definite trend toward ecumenicalism --- the belief that all religious roads lead to Heaven.

And yet Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life…No one comes to the Father except through me..” (John 14:6)

Without humility it will not be possible to bend the knee at the cross and accept Jesus as the only way of salvation.
If man insists in his pride that he can choose his own way to heaven , he will one day find that he was sadly mistaken .
He must duck his head, and bend his knee… like the hens.
The rooster is an example of the pride in man’s heart that will keep him from enjoying the pleasures of eternity.

Most assuredly I say to you, Unless man is born of water and the Spirit he can not enter the kingdom of heaven..” (John 3:5)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Winning the Lost

Proverbs 11:30 - “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life and he that winneth souls is wise.”

There used to be a lot more talk among Christians about winning the lost to Christ. Now I hear talk about being ‘seeker sensitive’ and being careful not to be offensive to the non-Christian.

Sometimes in being so careful not to ‘offend’ we also withhold the blessing of showing someone the way to be saved .

We were invited out to a restaurant dinner by our neighbour along with other invited guests.

While we knew some of the people there , others we had never met. I happened to be sitting close to a Dutch couple who had immigrated from Holland a year and a half ago with their three kids – 11 -15 years old.
They left a beautiful, large home , a very successful business and all their family and friends.
They are doing very well here and speak English perfectly.

Vic (my husband) was asked to say grace, and he stood to pray. When he sat down the Dutch man turned to me and said. “You would never see that in Holland, someone standing to pray in a restaurant..You would not see any one pray at all ! Just seeing that makes me happy I am here.”

He then told me that he had not known God at all in Holland, but he had met Him since he came to Canada and now he LOVED Him. He said because of his immigration he had found God and that alone made it worth leaving their families behind. They had found a good home church and were growing in the faith.
He spoke of how a year and a half ago he had been a ‘bad man’. Not bad in the eyes of the world , perhaps, but in God’s eye… he swore and thought bad thoughts… now he said his mind was clear and clean and he was so happy !!!
He was so refreshing to listen to.
Across the table sat a couple that we have met several times. The husband, "John" has engaged us in conversations about our faith and loves to ask questions about what we believe.
I noticed that as I was talking with this Dutch man, "‘John" was listening very intently. At one point he said to the Dutch man …”I’m surprised you are so open in talking about this.”
I know God is watching to make sure someone is planting seeds in "John’s" heart, sending someone else to water them and one day I am praying that "John" will be part of the harvest.

I find it so beautiful to watch how God seeks out those who have a hunger in their heart to know Him and then guides them to places and people who will show them the way to the cross to meet Him.

The Lord is the Master of the Vineyard and has called for labourers…. If we don’t do the work, who will?

Let us not be slothful in our service, but eagerly looking for opportunities.

“Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labour.” ( I Cor. 3:8)

We ,as believers, really have the answer the world is looking for. I came across this 'author unknown' gem a couple of days ago.....

Indulgence says, "Drink your way out." Philosophy says, "Think your way out." Science says , "Invent your way out." Communism says, "Strike your way out." Militarism says, "Fight your way out." Christ says, "I AM THE WAY OUT!"

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A Moment in Time

Margaret Fishback Powers years ago wrote a now famous poem called “Footprints” in which a man views his life journey and recognizes that at times there were only one set of footprints instead of two. The Lord explains to him that during the most difficult times of his life, He carried Him.

I think that if we could see another view of our life through the eyes of God, we would see that there were markers of another kind. Markers that stood as monuments commemorating moments in our life that changed someone’s world.
Often these moments blended into the normal flow of our day and we did not see their significance.

Once in a while God does draw back the curtain and allows us to see from His perspective…. how encouraging those glimpses can be in helping us to recognize the power we have in the smallest measure of a day to change someone's world.

Let me share two experiences from my life that I hold close to remind me to never under estimate a moment.

Years ago I worked with a young lady who I became quite friendly with and consequently also got to know her extended family.
Her sister-in-law came into the store quite often with her two children, Jarrett and Carla. At the time there were about 7 and 4. Carla was younger and she was a princess china doll with huge eyes framed by long lashes. She had long, thick, beautiful naturally curly hair. She was the kind of rare child that made everyone stop and fuss over her.
Jarrett as the older brother was a nice looking boy in an ordinary way. He stood in the shadow of his little sister who got all of the attention. I saw this happening and my heart went out to the little boy who was virtually ignored. I made a point of paying attention to him whenever I met them.
My friend one day in conversation mentioned that he liked little things that fit into other things and an idea formed in my mind.

I went shopping and bought a miniature stuffed animal and sewed a little drawstring pouch for it to live in. I had it ready the next time Jarrett and Carla came into the store with their mother. I immediately singled Jarrett out and made a point of barely acknowledging Carla. I told Jarrett I had something for him and I gave him my little gift. He smiled and said thank-you.
It was a moment thing and I very quickly forgot about it.
Years later, I happened to meet Jarrett’s mother and I asked about her children. She told me Jarrett was graduating from high school that year. I could not believe how time had flown. Last time I saw him he had been a little boy, now he was about to take his place as a man,
His mother then brought up the time I had singled Jarrett out by giving him that little stuffed toy. She told me how much she had appreciated it and how much it had meant to Jarrett. Then she said something that blew me away.
“Jarrett has never parted with that little gift. He still has it!”

A moment, quickly forgotten, for me….but a life changing moment for him. A moment that had the power to convey to him the message that he had worth, that he had value and there was someone who cared enough to tell him.

There is another moment I remember.

It was my son-in-law’s university graduation night, eleven years ago.
I sat in the crowded auditorium behind an East Indian woman who was holding her little grand daughter who was probably about five or six months old.
At one point the grand mother turned the child to look backward over her shoulder. The child’s eyes met mine…she looked at me for a second and then reaching out her arms lunged toward me almost causing the grand mother to drop her. I would have gladly taken her in my arms but the look the grand mother gave me left no doubt in my mind that that was not going to happen.
She tried to distract the child, but the child would not be distracted. She kept holding her little arms out to me begging me to take her. Finally the grand mother picked up her things and moved.
My heart was captured by the sweet little girl.
I prayed for her that night, prayed that she would reach out for God in the same way she had reached out to me. I prayed that God would protect her and bring a Christian influence into her life and that He would find a way to bring her to Himself.
Many times over the 11 years since, I have remembered those little arms reaching out to me and I have been reminded to pray for her.

I will never know what effect my prayers have had on her life. She will never remember the lady who sat behind her that night and the moment that connected us together.
How excited I would be if in eternity she came running to throw herself into my arms!!!

I believe that God plants special ‘moments’ in our life – most of the time we are entirely unaware of their eternal worth - never guessing how our little actions could be magnified into great purposes.
But God knows and He watches over those moments and waters them and causes them to bring forth the desired results. Then one day when we stand before Him in eternity…He will show us what our ‘moments’ accomplished. We will stand amazed, and I’m sure wish that we had paid more attention to our earthly moments, recognizing that it is not the big things God can use best . but the little things.

“I, the Lord, keep it. I water it every moment, lest any hurt it. I keep it night and day……”
(Is. 27:3)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving !

If your eyes are on this page, then my wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving day are for you, since YOU are one of the things I am thankful for !!

If you are not from Canada, please celebrate with us anyway !!
EVERY day is a reason to be full of thanksgiving for the abundance all around us!

Psalm 100:4,5 "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His counts with praise. Be thankdful to Him and bless His name!
For the Lord is good , His mercy is everlasting and His truth endures to all generations!"

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Not an Actress

I grew up without television ( it wasn’t that long ago!) and our church was not into ‘plays’ so I really did not have much exposure to ‘acting’ until I went to school.

My teacher was quite musical and creative and liked to put together nice programs for the parents at Christmas time.
The first year I was in her class – she had grades 4-6 in one room—she gave me a part in the play, “A Christmas Carol”.
I was Tiny Tim.
We practiced and practiced… but I was so uncomfortable.
I remember when we were performing it in front of our parents and my cue came to walk on stage , limping. I couldn’t do it… I kept thinking… ‘There is nothing wrong with my leg… I don’t want the people to think there is !’
My teacher prompted in a stage whisper, “Limp!” but much as I always tried to please her… I could not make my leg limp.

I realized that day that I would never pursue an acting career.

Hipocrisy , dishonesty, deceitfulness doesn’t appeal to me. I look for authenticity and sincerity.

We , as believers, are called to be sincere…..

“That you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ being ‘filled’ with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil. 1:10,11)

Do you know where the word ‘sincere’ comes from ?
Our English word comes from the Latin word sinecera… Sine meaning without and cera meaning wax.

Ancient sculptors in Rome or Greece would try to hide flaws in their sculptures by filling them in with wax…presenting them to be what they were not. It was only a matter of time until the wax would crumble away and the original flaw revealed to the embarrassment of the sculptor and the detriment of his reputation.
A perfect sculpture was literally ‘without wax’.

That is what we are called to be… so completely sincere – without wax, …that we do not try to show ourselves to be other than who we are – being willing to be vulnerable rather than insincere .

When we come to Christ in humble repentance – all our wax stripped away – He sees us just as we are but accepts us in His love and forgiveness.

But here is a beautiful thing…. He does not leave us with our flaws and brokenness exposed for all to see. He offers His own ‘wax’ that will not chip away – it will keep us ‘without offence’ until He returns.

What are we to use as ‘filling’ ?? Fruits of righteousness – and not by our own strength… but by Jesus Christ ---by the enabling power of His grace.

Are you busy , daily, making sure all your 'flaws' are filled with fruits of righteousness??

“I in them, and you in me that they may be made PERFECT in one, and that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.” ( John 17:23)

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Least of These

For over twenty years the cross book mark in the photo above has lain in my bible.
It was given to me by an older lady who attended a bible class I was teaching in a former church.
Her name was Mary Christian.
She was a very quiet lady with a soft manner and gentle smile.
She crocheted cross bookmarks and gave them to anyone who crossed her path.

I heard she had left this world to meet her Lord, but not in time to go to her funeral.
I wondered if the question had been asked, how many people there would have raised their hands to indicate they had received one of her bookmarks.
I still think of her almost every day….. her bookmark still blesses me.

“The least of these”…Jesus said. We are so prone to judge by size or monetary value, or prestige.
God doesn’t judge that way…. He says many who hold first place in this world will be last in the next…and those who are last here will be first there. (Matt. 19:30)

Jesus isn’t impressed by the world’s standards….He looks at the heart and looks for sincere offerings.
He sees the offered cups of water…the hand extended to someone in need. and Mary’s bookmarks??

I remember another lady, Eva Marshall. She also is no longer on this earth.
She came faithfully to our bible study, chose her chair and fell asleep until it was time for coffee. She never had anything to contribute and found conversation difficult.
We all wondered why she came.

One day the leader of our group suggested that it would be nice if someone wanted to volunteer to be responsible to get everyone’s address and their birthdays and be in charge of sending everyone a birthday card on their day.
Eva immediately volunteered.
We all looked at each other, embarrassed, not knowing what to do.
The leader glanced around the room, forced a smile and said, “OK, Eva, thank you!!”
We all thought, “There goes that idea!”
We were about 20 people in that group but for the next several years; even long after the group disbanded we each faithfully received a beautiful birthday card on our day …
Eva was faithful …

Let us remember -- to be faithful in the small things is great in the kingdom of God.

“And he said unto him, ‘Well, thou good servant, because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities,’”
(Luke 19:17)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Taking 'Everything' Literal

“In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you!” (II Thess. 5:18)

Did you think that doing God’s will for your life was complicated? Hard to discern and even harder to perform??

Look how simple it is …..even a child can do it!!
Give thanks !!! This is God's will for you !!!

We all give thanks, and are grateful for things every day. But how close have you come to giving thanks for ‘everything’?

I have come ever so much closer than I ever would have had not so many things become impossible for me to do.
How often we take things for granted until we lose them -- then suddenly we recognize their worth.

I would like to challenge you, today, to go through your day paying attention to the very little things you take for granted and probably never thought to be thankful for them.

Have you ever thanked God that you can open a jar or a bottle?
That you can run with ease from the grocery store to your car to avoid getting wet?
That you can press down the button on a hair spray can?
That you can get dressed without struggling with hands and joints that won’t co-operate?
That you can take off your socks?
That you can take a pot off the stove and carry it to the table to serve your family?
That you can open the fridge door?
That when you finally sit down to enjoy your supper someone asks for one more condiment and you have to get up again, but you can do it quickly and without pain?
That you can release the seat belt button?
That you can wipe the table without pain?
That you can get down on your hands and knees to wash the floor?
That you can scoop a small child up into your arms?
That when you toss and turn at night are you thankful that you CAN?
That you can lift a grocery item off the store shelf and put it into your buggy?

Sometimes I observe people and see them get all upset about some little inconvenience and I want so badly to go up to them and point out all the things around them that they have to be thankful for.

How contented life becomes when we focus with thanksgiving on the little things that comprise our everyday chores and tasks.
A song rises up in our hearts ….and instead of complaining….we are singing!

Will you be singing today?