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?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

God's Multi-level Reward System

Sara made an interesting point in her comment on my last post “An Old Brown Bottle”.
She pointed out the fact that the man who discarded the brown bottle had no idea of the journey he had sent it on.

After drinking the contents of the bottle, he carelessly threw it on the beach or left it leaning against a log, never giving it another thought.
The incoming tide washed the bottle out to sea, tossing it on the waves until, filled with water it settled on the ocean floor.
A curious octopus, needing a home, found it and picked it up.
A documentary film crew just happened to be filming in that area and came across the octopus and the same bottle.
The bottle was captured on film and preserved in the documentary that was aired on TV where thousands or millions of viewers gazed at the bottle.
A little woman watching her TV set saw the bottle and was captivated by its story. She retold it on her bog, allowing the internet to spread the bottle’s fame a little further. Now the bottle had became an object lesson pointing out one of God’s life lessons.

If the man had been a Christian, and someone had said to him at the point where he threw away the bottle, “Do you know that you have set in motion a chain of events that will end up glorifying God?” I’m sure the man would have shaken his dead in disbelief.

We have all had glimpses of how life is one huge complicated domino effect chain…where nothing has nothing to do with anything else.

But there is one aspect that we sometimes forget.

All of us know someone who has been pulled into the allure of a pyramid scheme or mult-level marketing system. What is the irresistible aspect of these schemes??
That you can benefit from or share in the rewards of another’s labour.

Would you be surprised to know that the idea did not originate with a greedy, selfish someone looking for ways to get rich quick but rather that it originated with God??

Look at what Jesus says, “He that receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward and he that receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.”
(Matt. 10:41)

I have had some comments on my blog from people who say they were touched or blessed through my words.
If there is anything praiseworthy in what I have attempted, I am deeply grateful that God could use my humble efforts. Should I be given any reward…. then Lovella will receive the same reward. It was she who in obedience to the Spirit’s prompting did not let up --- shall we say pressuring me? -- until I started my blog. I was very nervous about doing it and may well never have done it if it had not been for her. She has been faithful in encouraging me all along.

While in the multi-level-marketing systems the profits are shared on a sliding scale from bottom to top, in God’s plan the supporter or the encourager gets the same reward as the doer. So Lovella’s reward will be no greater or smaller than mine.

Perhaps you are a quiet, behind the scenes kind of person… But you see the work of the kingdom being done by others and you have secretly or otherwise prayed for them. The same rewards they receive for their work, will also be given to you.

Maybe you did nothing but recognize that God was working through someone and you reached out to encourage them in some way…. You are now partaker of their rewards.

Remember the parable Jesus told in Matt. 20 of the workers called to work in the householder’s vineyard.
The first workers hired were offered a penny for a day’s work. They agreed and went to the field.
The householder hired more workers later at the end of the day who only worked for one hour.
At the end of the day, the men were given their wages or rewards in order, from the last hired to the first.
When the men who had worked very little were given a penny, the ones who were hired early and had worked hard all day were certain that they would receive more.
When they also were only given a penny, they grumbled and complained. The master said, “Friends, I do you no wrong. Did you not agree to work for me for a penny?”

Jesus rightly deserves the glory for anything that is accomplished that is praiseworthy, so for Him to even offer rewards for our often bungling efforts to help, is amazing. And how fair to give everyone who supported a work the same reward.
We will be amazed - I think - when the rewards are handed out.
And so delighted to find that I Cor. 3:6 is true.
“So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth but God that giveth the increase.”

God does not want there to be any envying, any strife, and any division among His children. (I Cor. 3:3)
Since all increase is given by God, we are only His helpers.

God's plan leaves no room for pride or feelings of superiority in those who are considered to be the ‘important’ one, the one who is elevated in men’s eyes, who stand on the platform or have the high visual profile.

Would we as believers not behave so much differently toward each other if we could just recognize this truth -- that we are all equal in God’s sight and the importance of our work is not measured by man’s standard of greatest but by God ? Who measures simply by the willingness of our heart to work in His vineyard?

Let us rejoice in the fact that God has chosen to use the most divine mult-level reward system ever implemented …every person , who by their support , is connected to anyone who is connected to someone who is doing something worthy of a reward will receive the same reward.
How wonderfully fair is that??

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

An Old Brown Bottle

I enjoyed a documentary I watched the other night – viewing the ocean floor through the eyes of a deep sea diver.
His focus was on observing the many varieties of octopuses. I would have never guessed how many there could be. Our Creator has done nothing with ‘adequate’ in mind; everything is in multiplied abundance.

One particular octopus caught the diver’s attention and mine as well.
The octopus was unique in that he had tucked under one of his many arms a brown glass bottle that he had found somewhere and adopted as his home. Rather than risk losing it he carried it with him everywhere he went.

The diver, intrigued with his attachment to the dark bottle, offered him a beautiful clear as crystal bottle that had more room inside.
The octopus seemed quite interested when offered the new bottle. He laid down his old bottle and immediately checked out the new one.
He found the opening and swam inside and around, came back out, checked out the outside once more and then went back to his brown bottle, picked it up and swam away with his old home tucked under his arm.

I thought of the octopus --- and thought of the lesson he taught.

We too, all of us, carry our ‘home’ with us. Where we live in our thoughts and attitudes and heart focus is our home. Our home determines our life choices and our daily decisions.

We were quite comfortable with our old way of living, the old dark bottle in which all our short comings, our mistakes, our character flaws, yes even our sins were safely hidden from the view of those who swim near us. It is easy to keep up an image if we live in a brown glass bottle.

But Jesus came and offered us a beautiful new ‘home’ - a clear as crystal, light filled ‘home’, where everything is open to Him who searches our hearts and also to those who swim near us. We were intrigued and eagerly examined the new bottle and tried it out!

But it is hard sometimes to live an authentic life, and sometimes we prefer to pick up our old self, our old ways of thinking or being and we swim away with our old-self brown bottle tucked under our arm, leaving the beautiful Spirit-filled-life bottle lying on the ocean floor.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Default Setting

The above picture of me holding a tiger cub was what started my train of thought that ended with this post.
(In case you are wondering, the picture was taken when I was in my mid thirties in the West Edmonton Mall. Holding that tiger was one of the more thrilling moments of my life. Just before the photo was snapped the tiger bit my arm. The photographer quipped, “You are not supposed to bite the lady until AFTER she pays.”)

The thread …..

I sent this photo to a friend.
Her daughter liked the photo and finding out that she shared my love of animals I sent her an e-mail about the ‘pets’ I have had in my lifetime. My favourite have been the wild ones that I tamed.

I did not realize as I was reliving some of my animal experiences that I would find an answer to a question that has lurked in the recesses of my mind.

As I was lying in bed this morning, after awakening, I thought about a girl named Susan, whose family I knew well. We grew up in the same church, went to S.S. together and were in the same class in high school.

One beautiful day, when she was 16 , Susan asked to borrow her dad’s convertible to take her very best friend – they were almost inseparable - for a ride.
Her dad agreed with one stipulation. “Don’t take the top down.”
Susan promised and took the keys.
She drove a short distance down the road, pulled over and rolled down the top of the convertible.
She happily drove the familiar route to pick up her friend.
The day was perfect, two best friends laughing together, enjoying the wind in their hair….. Until……..
Susan lost control of the car and rolled it into the ditch.
When the car rolled, Susan’s friend --- this was before the days of seat belts- fell out and the car rolled over her.
She was killed instantly.

The ambulance came and both girls were taken to the hospital. Those who were there remember the hospital corridors ringing with Susan’ screams, “I am a murderer, I am a murderer.”
Her world changed in an instant – the consequence of a moment of disobedience hanging a dark shadow over her that was never lifted for the rest of her life.

I thought about her this morning and I wondered….
Why is it that our default button is set to disobedience??
Why is it always easier to disobey than to obey?
What parent has ever had to teach their child disobedience?

I have always wondered why…….

Then suddenly these two seemingly unrelated trains of thought collided in my mind and I understood!

When we moved to our dream property what I loved best about it was the wild animals and I so enjoyed taming some of them, in particular the squirrels.
We had purchased property that had never been previously populated.
The animals had lived their lives in freedom, undisturbed by man.
So their default button was set to fear me, to disobey my invitation to come close.
They lived outside of me and I had to coax them in.
With great patience and persistence I succeeded in winning their confidence and trust.

When God created man, God created him with a free will.
That meant – outside of God.
Where God is there is perfection, goodness, purity, holiness.
Outside of God is where disobedience reigns, where evil lurks and darkness determines default buttons regarding our choices.
To find God we must respond to His wooing, trust His outstretched Hand; believe that He is for us and not against us.
Except for God’s patient persistence none of us would be His.
We would have stayed where we were comfortable with the default buttons that motivate us toward disobedience and self-rule.

Why did God not set our default button to obey?
Because He wanted a people who would serve him not because they were pre-programmed to obedience but because He desired children who out of the freedom of their hearts CHOSE to love Him.

Our hearts melt when we see how much God loved us that He was willing to bear the parental pain of disobedient children, so that He could have the joy of children who chose to obey.

Obedience is the purest act of service or worship that we can offer God.

In I Sam. 15:22, 23 we see how strong He feels about this….
“Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”

And yet, much as God hates our disobedience … His desire is to draw men to Himself, not destroy them

"Jeremiah saw and said, “The Lord has appeared of old unto me saying, ‘Yea, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.' "” (Jer. 31:3)

Have you responded to His love and let him change your heart?
Has the default setting in your heart been changed?
Is it set by choice to ‘obedience’ ?

Friday, September 21, 2007

God of all Comfort

“Blessed be God, even the Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.” (II Cor. 1:13)

I am so overwhelmed by the tender heart of our Heavenly Father, how His heart is moved toward His children and how He comforts - not in a generic one-size-fits all comfort - but intimately in a way that is personally tailored to suit each child.

I was somewhat discouraged yesterday morning when I realized instead of feeling better I was instead feeling more pain and stiffness.

But the day was full of blessings that overshadowed my discomfort and filled my day with Son-shine.

There were several things that happened that blessed me including an unexpected phone call from my brother, and e-mails from dear friends.
But there was one e-mail that brought a special message from God’s heart from a source that could not have been more unexpected, from someone I have never met.

The e-mail was from a girl who lives here in my city.
She works in a local restaurant that my neighbour friend and her husband frequent and they became quite friendly with her about a year ago.
She told them about her upcoming mission’s trip to the Middle East and gave them her blog address. My neighbour lady told me about her.

I became interested in her story …..

I looked up her blog and was touched by the heart of this young girl and sent her an e-mail (about six months ago) just to encourage her and to tell her I would be praying for her. I never heard back from her - I did not expect to. I kept up with her blog and knew that she was now back home.
My neighbour was over a couple of days ago and said that she had seen her and that she had asked about me !
I was shocked that she would even remember me -- and then yesterday morning I got an e-mail from her. She had gone back into her records and found my e-mail address.

What was so special about her e-mail was that she said I had been on her heart and she felt God had given her a scripture for me ... she wrote out some verses from Ps. 91 which talks about God's wings.
There is no way she could have known....... but the reference to God’s wings had very special meaning to me, and brought me to tears.

I know those of you who have so faithfully read my blog will remember a post I did some time ago on God’s wings….but since some of you may missed that post I will repeat myself here and hope that if you have heard it before you will forgive me.

About four years ago, when I was very sick, one night God spoke to me through a dream.
I had been in an extreme flare for a long time -- I could not cover myself with the blanket nor could I turn myself in bed.
One day just before I fell asleep ( I could only sleep ten minutes at a time and the pain would wake me ) I found that my shoulder seemed to be less painful and I had some movement in it...I thought , Hmmm, I wonder what I did to make it better ?

And I continued the thought into my dream.
In my dream I reached out and moved my hand across my shoulder and realized that the reason I could move my shoulder was because I had cut off my wings...and I had done a very good job ...I had cut them off right at the base.

In the morning I told Vic laughingly that I knew why my shoulder was better -- it was because I had cut off my wings.
I thought it was just a silly dream until I got a phone call from Vic's nephew after breakfast and he said God had given him a scripture for me...It was from Malachi 4:2 where it says that the "Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings."

Immediately, I understood my dream. I didn't have to carry my pain myself; I didn't have to try so hard to stay strong... I had cut off my own wings (trusting in my own strength) and now I could rest on God's wings.
After that it seemed that references to God's wings kept coming across my path, always making my heart leap for joy because it carried a personal message to me from God's heart.
It became God's secret code word to me, to remind me that He was there, that He loved me and I could trust Him completely.

It has been a long time since I have had any 'messages' using the code word ‘wings’, until today -through the thoughtful, message of this obedient young girl, who knows nothing about me and could not possibly have known how much her verses would bless me.

Later in the day, I read a comment on my cousin’s bog that made me laugh and I clicked onto the author’s blog, whom I did not know and had never visited her site before.
I intended to laugh with her , but I stayed to cry with her.
Her post yesterday was a memory tribute to her 57 year old friend who had just died of cancer.
I looked at the picture of her friend and immediately recognized the woman – I know her family.
I offered my comfort in a comment.

How beautiful it is for brethren to dwell together… One family ….. caring for one another, comforting one another with the comfort that we ourselves have received.

I am so moved in gratitude to the great God and Father whose name we carry.
How can we do else but simply fall to our knees in worship and declare Him forever worthy of our highest praise and honour !!!!

"For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named!" (Eph.3:14.15)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

the Kingdom of Heaven

Our summer here is over, summer holidays have come and gone and everyone has settled into the fall/winter routine of work and school.

Holidays are an important part of people’s lives and for some what they look forward to all year. A lot of research and planning goes into determining where they will go and the more information they have about their place of destination the more prepared they are and able to enjoy their holiday to the fullest.

If you do not know the laws and customs of a foreign country in which you plan to travel, it can quickly spoil your trip … or worse get you into serious trouble !!

I once sewed a wardrobe for Helen, a young lady giving her life to foreign missions. She was going to a tribal village in Africa. I had to sew all her skirts and dresses to hang well below her knees…because it was considered extremely obscene for a woman to show her knees, while it was perfectly okay for her to go topless.
My daughter’s friend travelled to the Middle East with her husband. It was a hot day and she was enjoying the day in shorts and a t-shirt. She became increasingly annoyed at the lewdness of the Middle East men who came up to her to pitch her bottom. She didn’t understand until she was told that in that country only prostitutes dressed like she was dressed. With her French dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair she looked the part perfectly!

It is important to familiarize yourself with the laws and customs of a foreign country before you visit – because you will have no recourse if you disobey them….your laws at home have no jurisdiction over the laws of another country.

I am sometimes befuddled at how carefully people plan their temporary vacations that last for a couple of weeks, but pay so little heed or attention to a destination spot that presumably everyone wants to go to … the Kingdom of Heaven.

If we were to check out the brochures that advertise this out-of-this-world paradise what would we learn about it?

Jesus Himself wrote the brochures and puts the information in word pictures.
He tells us what the Kingdom of Heaven is like, what is important for us to know if we are planning to journey in this Kingdom.


The Kingdom of origin was so elevated in the heavens and of such extreme living conditions that it was impossible for any citizen of the kingdoms of earth to even think of making it a place of destination.

So the kindly Father King of the Kingdom of Heaven found a way to super-impose it upon the very earth that people found so compatible with their needs.
It became a secret Kingdom…. here but also there…..real but not seen…. spiritual but not physical.
The beauty and goodness of the kingdom is allowed to grow together with the weeds and tares of the kingdoms of this world.

It is a kingdom that started very small.
Its influence in the earth’s kingdoms barely noticeable when it first came but it began to grow and spread until it could not be ignored….not unlike the tiny mustard seed …from the small herb family yet it grows into a tree large enough for birds to nest in.

It is a kingdom that has permeating influence. Where the kingdom is - everything around it is influenced.
The Kingdom of heaven by virtue of its presence brings goodness and mercy and kindness that multiplies like leaven even in a sinful evil world.

Because it is a secret, invisible Kingdom….it can be easily over looked. People can walk right past it and never notice but there is always this one or that one who catches a glimpse of the treasure this kingdom holds.
He sees it buried in a field and rushes out to sell everything he has to buy the field with the treasure of the Kingdom.
There is nothing of value in the kingdoms of this world that can compare with the treasures of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Finding it is like finding the very valuable pearl that a merchant has been searching everywhere for. How gladly one gives up everything …to grasp hold of that one priceless jewel!!!

There are men and women who are secret agents in this kingdom.
They search out those who are interested in learning about the King and His Kingdom, those who are looking for purpose and meaning in their lives . With these pilgrims they share wonderful treasures, old and new from the storehouse of knowledge of Truth that belong to this Kingdom.

The Father King is so eager to bring as many as possible into this Kingdom of His that he sends out huge dragnets that bring people in. Sadly, even though they have been compelled to come in, not all want to stay and are cast out, forever separated from those who do.

In this Kingdom of Heaven there is no unemployment… no touristy activities.
Everyone who comes into this Kingdom must work and the wages are determined by the Father King himself - no union rules apply here.
Some may think the wages unfair.
Those who work least are paid as much as those who labour long and hard. But the Father King’s word is final…and his judgments are true and just.

The Father King also demands that his example be followed by all who journey in His Kingdom.
He is a Ruler of great mercy, forgiving freely those who find themselves in trouble. If someone in his kingdom refuses to extend this same mercy to others he is swiftly brought to judgment and punished accordingly.

There is something beautifully romantic about this Kingdom of Heaven.
It is all about a love story, that will culminate in the marriage of the Father King’s Son.
The Father King is wanting many to come and be part of this wedding but will only allow those to come who wish it with their whole hearts.
Like the ten virgins, only five were whole hearted …the other five were not diligent to do all they could to make themselves ready.

The Son who the Father King gave the rule over this kingdom, is not presently visible.
He has gone away on business and has left his servants in charge of the kingdom.
Some are faithful and are doing everything they were instructed to do but others are a disgrace to the Son and are taking liberties with their freedom and are living for their own indulgences. They are tarnishing the reputation of this glorious Kingdom and will be in trouble when the Son returns.
So it is important that when you are travelling in this Kingdom that you are careful to discern who are the true servants of the King…and who are not.

The wedding feast is yet to come…. All is almost ready…. The Son could return at any time to take his bride and the celebrations will begin.
Then the Kingdom of heaven will no longer be a secret, invisible Kingdom but one that is once again lifted to high places and its glory will be visible to all!!

I am a citizen - a secret agent- of this Kingdom of Heaven….. are you ????

(based on Matt.13, 18, 20, 22, 25)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Dare to be a Rahab !

I have always been fascinated by the woman, Rahab.
She must have been an extraordinary person to have the courage to stand alone against her own people.

Rahab…a Canaanite - Jericho’s prostitute and inn keeper.
How was it that she came to hold this undesirable position?
Was she perhaps disappointed in love? Jilted by a lover, betrayed by a husband, cast aside for another woman?
We don’t know. Her story is told in Joshua 2-6, but there is no mention of her early life.

Rahab… a meaning given for her name is “storm, assault – to be proud or arrogant”.
Obviously, Rahab was a woman who didn’t care what people thought of her. She chose her lifestyle, her profession, her business and ruled her own life.
She was an intelligent woman, able to quickly and accurately assess a situation and make wise judgments.
She was not afraid to think for herself, and to reason out what was true and what was false.
She was caring and loving, loyal to her family.

I think there is one thing that really sets her apart from the rest of her people.

God had taken His people out of Egypt and the mighty deeds He did and the victories his people wrought through His power were being spoken of everywhere. The news of each new defeat travelled fast.
Jericho was a fortified city. A huge wall surrounded it making it virtually impenetrable. When the city gates were closed the inhabitants were safe from the attack of any army.
Obviously, for its time the city of Jericho was technically advanced and governed by an intelligent people.

They also heard the news of this new God of the Israelite people. How He dried up the Red Sea to let His people cross safely and then drowned the mighty Pharaoh and his army. They heard how they defeated kings ….how victory after victory was theirs.
They also heard that Jericho was next. That God had plans to take their city also and to destroy them.
The leaders of Jericho trembled and their hearts fainted for fear…but they believed in the walls that had withstood all previous attacks. They locked their gates and allowed no one to go out or in. They hid, desperately hoping that the walls of their city would keep even the God of the Israelites out.

Rahab too listened and heard. She also feared but her fear was of a different kind.
In this story we see pictured for us two kinds of fear….

A fear of God that results in hiding FROM and a fear of God that results in trusting IN.

Rahab listening to the conversations of men around her…came to her own conclusions. She recognized that if the God of the Israelis had given Jericho to His people then there was nothing any of them could do to prevent it…even if their city seemed to be impossible to penetrate.
She reasoned that she had one chance of survival…..throw herself on the mercy of this powerful God.
Her fear of this God drove her to Him.

When the two spies came to her door…she recognized her opportunity and took it. Pulling them inside she hid them.
The spies had been spotted and officials soon came to Rahab's door demanding her to bring out the men so they could arrest them.
Rahab’s independent spirit served her well.
Fearlessly, she acted the part of a woman eager to help the officials find these dangerous men.
Convincing that she was, she sent them on a wild goose chase.

She had already formulated her own plan of action.
Before she helped the two spies, Joshua and Caleb, to escape she told them she knew and believed that their God had given them victory over Jericho. What she asked in return for her kindness to them was that they would promise to rescue her and her loved ones. Rahab may have had a tough exterier but she had a soft heart underneath.
She asked not just for herself but her family too.
Joshua agreed to her request, asking only that she remain in her house and all those who she brought in with her. If any one left the house or told of the secret deal she had made …. her action would free Joshua of his oath to help her.
Her house would be identified by a scarlet cord she was to hang from her window.

I wonder how much courage it took for Rahab to put her trust in Joshua and Caleb.
Or how difficult it was to convince her family to trust her and come hide in her house with their possessions.
Perhaps they thought they might as well die together in her house instead of individually in their own houses.
Rahab was a woman hard to say no to…and I’m sure it wasn’t the first time she orchestrated the activity of her family.

Perhaps the biggest test of Rahab’s faith was when the trumpets blew that seventh day and the collective shout of the Israelite people went up and the walls began to fall.
I imagine Rahab’s family sitting with their heads buried in their laps, shaking with fear.
But I see Rahab standing in the midst of them, head held high….watching , waiting for her deliverers to come.

Of course, we know the end of the story, Rahab and her family were saved and the city and its inhabitants burned to the ground.

In the excavations of the ancient city Jericho, the walls are tumbled down, just like the bible says, except for one portion….where Rahab’s house was build on top of the wall.

We know what happened to Rahab after her rescue…. She married an Israelite man by the name of Salmon and had children by him. She was the great, great grandmother of King David, putting her in Jesus lineage. Maybe it was from Rahab that David got his heart toward God.
Also in the honour role of faith heroes in Hebrews 11, Rahab is the only woman mentioned except for Sarah.

What an example we have in Rahab.
If she could stand alone in the midst of a pagan people, believing in a God she had never been taught to know, have faith when she had no history to build it on… much more should we have faith in our God whom we know so well ? Whose Word we hold in our hand every day ?

And I also see in the example of Rahab that God truly seeks those whose hearts are open to Him; He will look where no one else would think to look, and He will provide a way of escape for each one!!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Never Alone

I have happy memories of the summer my daughter and I decided to ‘mother’ some ducks.
Vic brought home four duck eggs from the hatchery and we set up an incubation spot, remembering to turn the eggs regularly.
In due time they hatched and the wet straggly baby ducks emerged and struggled to their feet.
The first thing a baby duck sees move, becomes its mother so Romay and I were ‘it’.
What fun we had raising those ducks!!
They needed us to be 24/7 in their line of vision. If we were - then their constant quacking became soft and cooing.
But if we disappeared from view their quacking became persistent shrieks until we reappeared.
Their worst fear was to be ‘alone’.

That summer those ducks taught me about my about my spiritual relationship with God.

To the ducks I was a totally foreign creature. I was not like them at all. I didn’t even quack like a duck and yet their faith in me was complete. They trusted me so much that as long as they could see me, nothing was wrong with their world. And how closely they stuck to each other, lovingly interacting.

God must yearn for his children to be like those little ducks. That we would coo in contentment as long as we were aware of His presence. The minute we recognized that we had wandered too far away or we felt alone, we would shriek until we were once again safely within the boundaries of His love. And that we would love one another!!

Fear of being alone. The fear is a gift, is it not ? To motivate us to stay close to God and in fellowship one with another.

God did not intend man to be alone. He placed him in families, in relationships, dependant on each other for survival !

I read a verse yesterday that got me thinking about being alone.

The verse is found in Prov. 18:1 and it says, “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeks and intermeddles with all wisdom.”

The verse caught my attention because its meaning wasn’t immediately clear!
My usual bible is the NKJV but I love the old KJV because of the poetic twist that often conveys a deeper meaning, when I dig a little , than some of the simplified bible translations.

My verse in Prov. 18:1 is such a verse… It starts of with, “through desire”.
Obviously, this is not a ‘good’ desire…but rather the lust kind that comes from self-centeredness and selfishness and pride.
By elevating himself and his lofty view of himself, the man is separated.
Separated from what??
Obviously from other people - he withdraws into solitude, aloneness.

The result?? He ‘intermeddles’ with all wisdom.

I love the word ‘intermeddles’.
I was surprised to find that the word is still in the Mariam/Webster dictionary.
The meaning given is “to meddle impertinently and officiously and usually so as to interfere”. So, in simpler vernacular – intermeddle means to be so proud in one own conceited opinions as to insolently interfere with true wisdom, twisting it to suit his own purposes.

Amazing - that happens when we withdraw from people ????

I was quite intrigued to find that the Wikapedia online encyclopedia agreed with the sentiment expressed in this verse.
I quote.....
“A loner is a label for a person who shuns or is isolated from human interaction……
Some individuals refuse to interact with others because of perceived or actual superiority in terms of ethics or intellect. They wish to only relate to individuals they consider worthy of their time and attention.”

I think about how often a mass murderer or child molester or rapist or serial killer is after-the-fact described as being a ‘loner’.

No man is an island. First of all we need to summit to the wisdom of God recognizing and accepting His word as truth. Then we need to listen to one another to keep us humble and on the right path.
“But exhort one another daily….” (Heb. 3:13) and “submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God, (Eph. 5:21)

We are all part of one body…. The analogy Jesus uses is clear….Just as every part of the body is necessary…so also every member of the body is necessary…and all parts are equally important and useful. If one part withdraws itself, thinking it can exist on its own… will very quickly rot and die!!

The past few weeks have been difficult and painful for me, but how thankful I have been not to be ‘alone’. Anything is bearable when you are surrounded by people who love you and care about you.
It is amazing how little a thing can make my day…. An e-mail, a phone call, someone sharing their good news, a hug.
My husband did something yesterday that really expressed his love for me.
I have to rest a lot and I spent a lot of time on the couch. I had been upstairs and when I slowly made my way back down to lie down, I saw that he had carefully draped my favorite afghan over the back of the sofa so that when I managed to lay down and get my legs up, all I had to do was pull it down over me. (I find I am cold most of the time so it is warmly comforting to have my afghan.)
It was a little thing but meant a lot because, having observed me struggling to cover myself with the afghan he cared enough to have the forethought of making it easier for me.
It was better than a bouquet of flowers!!!

I am not alone. I am thankful.

Isn’t it beautiful to know we belong to God’s family? And that we have a Father who never slumbers nor sleeps but is ever watchful over us to shower us with His blessings? And so often He uses His children as His couriers!!

Did you know we all share a family name???? “For …I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” (Eph.3:14,15)

Why don’t you ask God to bring one of His children across your path today who is feeling lonely, and reach out to them….maybe a smile, a word, a hug, a flower…..It will make their day!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Faith or Works??

(If you have not read “Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Revealed by Actions” you may want to scroll down and read it before you read this post.)
Over and over we are told what we need to do for salvation.

“Simply believe! – Salvation is by faith, not by works!”
We know the scripture off by heart……

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved!” (Acts 16:31)
“He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believes not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16)
“For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” ( Rom. 10:9)
“For God so loved the world …….that whosoever believeth on Him, should not perish but have everlasting life !” (John 3:16)

It is true , salvation is a gift, all we have to do is receive it by faith.

But wait……

Romans 2:6 declares that Jesus will come and judge everyone according to – not their faith – but their deeds!!
Some dismiss this verse interpreting it to mean rewards , not salvation --- but vs. seven nullifies that argument because it states that one of the rewards is ‘eternal life’. ---
Eternal life based on our deeds??

Jesus sets the stage…When He will come in His glory to sit upon His throne to judge the sheep and the goats… He will judge according to – not their beliefs- but their actions….Did they feed the hungry, give a cup of water to the thirsty, clothe the naked, be hospitable to the stranger?

Is there a conflict between the verses that declare salvation by faith and those that declare salvation by works?

No…but as James 2:26 says, “Faith without works is dead.”
If we truly believe….it will be evidenced by our deeds.
On judgement day when we appear before the throne of Christ we must bring evidence of the fact that we placed our faith in Him for salvation ---- our deeds!
Our deeds do not save us….but they ‘prove’ our professed faith.

What about the verse that says, “Not by works, lest any man should boast?” (Eph. 2:9)
The works spoken of here are the ‘works of righteousness’ in Titus 3:5. We cannot ‘earn’ our salvation by trying to live a ‘good life’.
The person who trusts in his works, has build a foundational belief that he is righteous and can live good enough in his own strength to meet God’s standard.

“Works that reveal faith” and “works of righteous” could perhaps be illustrated thusly.

If you believe that a chair in my house is solid enough to sit on, you will immediately sit down on it when invited to do so.
That is faith evidenced by your works.
If you come into my house and believe that you can create your own chair and try to sit down in mid air on your ‘mind created’ chair, -
That is works of righteousness – which invite boasting. (“Look how long I can sit on this chair that isn’t even there!!” smile)

While our own works cannot save us, Jesus says that simply saying that you believe in Him is not enough either– you must prove your ‘belief’ by your obedience to God’s will.
“Not every one that says to me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt.7:21)

When the rich young ruler came to Jesus asking what he must ‘do’ to get into heaven Jesus told him to obey the commandments.
With some hesitation , he asked, ‘which ones?”
Jesus answered, “Don’t do any murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t bear false witness, honour your father and mother, love your neighbour as yourself.”
Relieved that Jesus had left out the first commandment , the young man confidently declared he had kept the ones Jesus named all his life.
But Jesus knew what was in his foundation and testing it said, “Sell what you have and give to the poor and come follow me.”
Sorrow piercing his heart, the young man turned and walked away.
The young man’s foundation belief was revealed in his ‘action’.

Why could he not ‘do’ what Jesus asked??
Because he did not believe the first commandment. “Thou shalt love the Lord your God with all you heart! …and have no other gods before Him.”
The rich young ruler ‘believed’ that his money was the most important thing in his life, not God ---- his belief was revealed by his ‘action’ which was judged by Jesus.

In Luke 6:45-49), Jesus says, “Whatever a man has in his heart ---his foundation beliefs – will come out. "
“Look, I will show you what a man is like who hears my sayings and does them…A man who truly believes in me….. He is like a man who when he builds his house digs down deep and lays a foundation of rock….Then when the floods come , his house could not be shaken.”

Let us dig deep and check our foundation….is it sound? Is it built on the Rock?
Then when the rains and floods of life batter and pound at our walls…we will not be moved , because we KNOW in WHOM we have believed!

“For the which cause also suffer these things, nevertheless I am not ashamed for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day !” (II Tim. 1:12)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Revealed in Action

A new impressive building, many stories high, was built for a large company.
Several years after moving into the building, a staff member came to the CEO and pointed out that there was a crack in the wall on the 42 floor.
The CEO immediately called the architect and made an appointment to meet him. The CEO left instructions to be notified of the architect’s arrival.
Dutifully, his staff alerted him the moment the architect stepped foot in the building and the CEO went up to the 42nd floor to meet him.
He waited, but the architect did not show up.
Finally, he called his staff and said, “The architect is not on the 42nd floor, where is he?”
He was informed that the architect was in the 6th floor basement.
The CEO went down to the basement and asked the architect why he wasn’t up on the 42nd floor where the crack was.
The architect answered “The crack may be on the 42nd floor but your problem is here in the foundation.”

In every building the most important part is the foundation, but then it is covered up and no one sees it again. Unless, an action manifests itself somewhere higher up in the building.
The condition of the invisible foundation will manifest itself as a symptom in the visible part of the building.

There is a wonderful lesson here.
The person we are is like a building.
What we believe is our foundation.
Our foundation cannot be seen, but our visible actions will reveal what our foundation is made of.

Characters we find in the bible illustrate this so precisely because we are given both their ‘actions’ and their heart ‘foundation’ beliefs.

We have Abraham who lifted the knife to kill his own son, and we marvel at his action.
What was his foundation belief that made his obedience to God’s Word such a natural thing?
Hebrews 11:19 tells us that Abraham’s foundation belief that God would be true to His promises was so strong that he knew if he did kill his son in obedience to God, God would simply raise him up from the dead.
His obedience was a natural action resulting from his core beliefs.

Admiring Abraham’s actions is much like admiring someone who walks to the edge of a roof and stops. His foundational belief is that if he takes one more step, gravity will have its way with him. So the fact that he stops is not amazing….it is the natural action of a strongly held foundational belief.
What we should admire is Abraham’s foundation belief that made his actions the actions of a faith giant.

Take the example of Moses.
He had been raised with every comfort and privilege, adopted by the Pharaoh’s own sister. He had a position of affluence and authority.
His life held every promise of earthly glory.
But then we see his ‘actions’ when he choses to take the side of the slaves that were his people.
Why was he willing to give everything up??
We are told why….because his foundational belief was that the temporary treasures of Egypt were not worth comparing to the eternal treasures of God. (Heb.11:26)
Moses gave up nothing; he simply chose what he believed to be the most valuable!
An easy, natural choice.

We have the example of Lucifer, who was heaven’s most beautiful angel; in fact he was the worship leader. We see his actions of rebellion against God. And wonder - Why?!?!?
We are told what his foundation was. Pride in himself was his core belief.
(Ez. 28:15,17)
His attempt to take over heaven was a natural action.

There is a verse that says, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.”
(Prov. 23:7)
Our heart is our 'basement', the foundation of our life, where our beliefs determine the strength of our life.

What you believe will determine how you act.

If you believe that as long as you have enough money, life will be worth living, then your actions will reflect this belief. Walking over people to get what you want, being dishonest in business practices, becoming a workaholic and neglecting the emotional needs of your family would all be natural actions coming out of your foundation belief.

If your foundational belief is that Jesus meant what He said, about God not forgiving you if you do not forgive others, then your actions will reveal that belief – you will be quick to forgive those who offend you, or hurt you. (Matt. 18:35)

People have asked me if I don’t get angry at the pain, angry that I struggle to do even simple things. I have thought about it and wondered why I really never do. Anger is not an emotion that I have ever felt regarding my RA.
I believe my ‘actions’ come naturally out of my very strong belief that God is in control of my life, what comes into my life was first cleared by Him, and I know that everything will work for good and for His purposes.

Do I enjoy the pain and disability? Of course not!
Do I want to be healthy again? Of course!!
Do I try to get better? Take medication? Of course!
But I am not anxious or upset because I know that God is with me…what more do I need?
I remember when I was first diagnosed and I saw my life as it had always been slipping away from me.
My first emotion was keen disappointment, “But Lord, I wanted to serve you! I wanted to do so much for you, and now I can’t!”
But immediately the answer came. "When my plans for your life were laid, I already knew that you would have RA.
You physical condition will not hinder you in serving me.”

Well, then of course, I will walk this path for as long as I need to walk it!
And pray that I be faithful in my glorifying Him.

Are there other ‘actions’ in my life that need some foundational repair?
Yes, I am not perfect --- yet!!
I say with Paul , .”“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:12)

Think about your actions…. Especially the ones you are not proud of and wish you could change….Check your foundation. Out of what beliefs do your actions spring? Trying to change the action will be futile, you need to go down into the basement and examine and change your core belief.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Word that Stands Alone

There is a word in our English language that is unique from all others.
It is unique in its limited usage.
It is a word for which we have no succinct definition.
It is a descriptive word that when used correctly can refer to only one thing.

As far as I know, there is only one word that fits the above criteria.

The word is Holy.
This word has no applicable use other than to be descriptive of God.
It has no easy definition. It is the word that connects our minds to the mysterious otherness of God – that part of God that man cannot touch or understand or define.

It is a word that I love.
The very sound of the word brings shivers of awe and other-world awareness through my body. It brings me into that Presence of the Eternal where God alone lives.
It is the word that the beasts before the throne of God repeat over and over , day and night, never ceasing….”Holy, Holy, Holy!” Their awe of the essence of God is never diminished…and forever expressed in this one unearthly word, “Holy!”
I think it will be the first word that will come to our lips when we step into God’s real Presence and look upon the One we worship. “Holy!”

In one of my July posts Glory of God , I appreciated a comment left by Pam from Colorado .
She said , “I do not use the word ‘awe’ very often as it represents to me, the very feelings I have for God. This picture is awe inspiring and instantly grabs my attention and turns it to the mightiness of God and all the beauty and wonder he represents.”

I know what she means and I agree…I don’t often use the word-awe’ either unless it in connection with God or His creation.
The word ‘awe’ however is understood – it means something so incredibly beautiful or mind-boggling that only God could have done it !!
The definition of ‘awe’ is written out in God’s glorious universe.

Holy…is the part of God that He did not display in His creation. It is the hidden part of God that our physical limitations do not allow us to embrace or even begin to understand.

We are, however, given some glimpses into the awesomeness of what this word speaks of...

When Moses drew near to the burning bush, when Joshua encountered the Commander of the Lord, both were told to remove their shoes for they stood on Holy ground.
Just as we remove our shoes before we step onto someone’s white carpet, so also the contamination of this world cannot touch God’s holiness.
Shoes also provide a barrier to protect us from the elements. There is nothing man-made that can protect us from God’s Holiness.

And protection we need !!
Holy speaks of the ‘terrifying’ side of God – the part that fills us with fear!!
It is the ‘Holy’ of God that caused Isaiah to say “Woe is me, I am undone!” (Isaiah 6:5) The sight of God’s Holiness was so ‘terrible’ that Moses exclaimed.. “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling!” (Heb. 12:21)
Even John the beloved disciple, who knew Jesus so intimately, when he saw his Holiness….”fell as His feet as dead!”(Rev. 1:17)

And it is not without cause that man cannot stand for fear before God’s Holiness.
God warned the Israelites over and over that if they so much as touched anything God declared Holy…. They would die !!
“but..they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die!” (Num.4:15) And God was serious….When Uzza reached out to keep the Ark of the Covenant from tipping, God immediately struck him dead! (I Chron. 13:9.10)
God gave the priests a special recipe for the perfume, the holy anointing oil. It was not to be poured upon man’s flesh, nor could they try to imitate the recipe for their own use - It was Holy !
Punishment for disobedience ? death (Ex. 30:31-33)

God’s Holiness is not to be taken lightly , no matter how secure we are in His love and care and faithful tenderness.
David, a man so close to God’s heart, stands in awe of God’s holiness. “Let them praise thy great and terrible name…for it is HOLY.” (Ps. 99:3)
One of my favourite verses that always brings awe into my being is in Hab. 2:20, “The Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him.”

I find it interesting that man through the ages has not found another usage for the word ‘Holy’. It is as though God has preserved even the word for Himself.

Except !

Satan, knowing what this word represents, has taken it and put it into men’s mouths as a swear word.
I am more offended when people use the word “Holy” as a swear word than any other and then so often coupled with words describing the basest of earth’s elements.

God has declared, “You shall not profane My Holy name……” (Lev. 22:32)
And yet, Holy as God is , fearful and terrible to our human flesh, He has found a way to ‘touch’ US with His holiness.
To His children, He has given His Holy Spirit…that mysterious otherness of God that we cannot see….abides within us to make us Holy, even as He is Holy.
God has called us to be a people separated from the world, a people ‘touched’ with God’s holiness.
“And you shall be holy unto me for I the Lord am holy and have severed you from other people, that you should be mine !” (Lev. 20:26)

What an honor!!
I am reminded of a time we were moving when my daughter was three years old. She wanted so badly to help carry stuff to the car. The boxes of course were too heavy for her, so I gave her a jar of pickles and told her it would be a very special help to me if she carried them carefully to the car. I can still see the pride in her face , and how extra careful she was not to drop it, guarding the trust given her. To her at that moment nothing was more important than to carry that jar safely to the car.
Is that not how we should live our lives as Christians? Ever aware of the most Holy thing that we carry within us??

There is a verse at the end of the Book that tells us what the end times will be like. There will be an exaggeration of evil but also a rising up of God’s saints !! The usage of the word ‘still’ means that the condition is set …on going.

“He who is unjust, let him be unjust still, he who is filthy, let him be filthy still , he who is righteous , let him be righteous still, he who is holy, let him be holy still !!! (Rev. 22:11)

“I saw the Lord…and the train of His robe filled the temple, Above it stood seraphim, and one cried to another and said,….
’Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of hosts , the whole earth is full of His glory !!!”

(Is. 6:1,2)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The REAL Secret

The Secret --- it can move mountains and create miracles.
The Secret reveals a law that has traveled through centuries to reach you! When you discover it you will never be the same. Everything you have ever wanted to be, or do, or have, will be yours.

The official website of The Secret reaches out – movingly spiritual, bringing alive the lure of ancient mystery and tempting with its glorious promises of fulfillment.
It is well done.

What does the ‘secret’ promise?? It promises that YOU can sit on the throne of your life! You can have the power to ‘attract’ into your life the things that you want!!
The law of attraction!
Really?? A thought has the power to change the world??
If that were true wouldn’t you expect the most horrific traffic jam of thoughts colliding in the universe - all of them vying for primacy??
Maybe that’s why it’s a secret….to keep too many people from finding out about it!!!

In the hype of excitement it is being proclaimed as a newly discovered secret law….but really it is simply an old lie done up in new packaging.
Its funny, isn’t it? We never get too old to be tricked into judging a ‘gift’ by its wrapping!!

Isn’t the Secret really the same old lie that caused all of our problems to begin with?
Satan whispering ‘the secret’ into Eve’s ear that if she would just eat of the forbidden fruit, power would be hers? Promising she could rule over her own world!
It didn’t work for Eve; I doubt it has worked for anyone else since.

Have you ever noticed that the most powerful lie has the most truth in it?

This is true of Rhonda Byrne’s “Secret”.
The Law of Attraction does states things that are true.

For example,
1> It says that you get what you focus on in your mind.
God says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7)
But the difference is that the Secret promises that you can change things outside yourself,
God says that what you think about defines who you are.

2> The Secret says an affirmative thought is a hundred times more powerful than a negative one.
Scripture tells us, “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, it there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, think on these things.” (Phil.4:8)

The lie of the Secret is that it ignores the Source of the Power.

If I sold someone a house and showed them the outlets in the walls, telling them that they could plug any appliance they liked into the outlets and every appliance would work, I would technically be telling them the truth. But if I neglected to tell them that the house was not connected to any outside hydro source I would have sold them a useless house and a lie.

The Secret is disconnected from any real power because it leaves God out!
"And God has declared… “God has spoken once, twice have I heard this, that power belongs to God!” (Psalm 62:11)

But I think the biggest reason the Secret lie is so powerful is because there really IS a Secret.
A real One!

“The Secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant!!”
(Ps. 25:14)

I think the reason we all so love a secret is because a ‘secret’ speaks of intimacy. We have a need, a longing to be intimate…to be loved, to belong in a very special way.

And here God Himself reveals that there is a Secret known only to those who fear Him, those who love Him, are willing to surrender their will, their heart, their life, to Him alone.

The Secret reveals to us .......

1> Where there is a hiding place to keep us safe when we are in trouble.
“For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion, in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me…” (Ps. 27:5)

2> How to find a place so close to the heart of God that the insults, the offences of man, and the words that so easily wound, cannot hurt us.
“You shall hide them in the secret of your presence from the pride of man; you shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.” (Ps. 31:20)

3> That we are called to live under the shadow of God Himself - that intimate place close to His heart.
“He that dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Ps. 91:1)

4> That God delights to share the Secret, looking for those who desire to live according to His commandments.
“For the forward is abomination the Lord, but His secret is with the righteous.” (Pro. 3:32)

5> That when you are privy to God’s Secret, He tells you about treasures and riches and where to find them…… those who live in God’s secret learn to know and understand Him - knowing the wonder of His Words.

“And I will give thee the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places …..” (Is. 45:3)

I have watched with puzzlement how people en mass are grasping onto the world's Secret and embracing it with all their might -- ignoring the real Secret that God offers!
Perhaps because the counterfeit seems free but the real one will cost you your life!

Jim Elliot said,
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

To give up our ‘selves’ to gain God, how is that a sacrifice???
Is to know the Secret of God not a pearl of great price that is worth whatever the cost may be???

Monday, September 3, 2007


I grew up in a rural area and the little ‘town’ where we did our shopping consisted of a few shops on either side of the gravel highway.
Among the shops were Friesen’s Shoe Store, Funk’s grocery store, Doerksen’s Christian book store, Hoogies Fabrics and my favourite, the 5 – $1.00 store . ( five to a dollar)

One day, when I was about seven or eight years old, I was shopping with my Mom in the 5-$1.00 store.
Mom was paying for her purchases at the counter and talking with the store owner. My attention was drawn to a display stand at the end of the counter from which hung several beautiful necklaces.
I reached out to hold the prettiest one in my hand. Hanging from a gold chain was a large lovely gem stone centered in a gold setting. As I held it between my fingers and my thumb, I moved my thumb over the gem, applying some pressure and it snapped loose from its setting.

I was horrified!!
I laid the stone back in place hoping somehow it would stay…but it didn’t. I had broken this beautiful necklace that I was sure cost a lot of money.
My heart was pounding and I felt sick.

A little voice told me to tell what had happened, but fear gripped my heart like ice and I heard another voice. “If you tell what you have done, they will be angry and you will be terribly punished!”

Shaking, I laid the gem stone underneath the stand and looked around. No one was paying any attention to me at all. No one had seen.
I didn’t say anything and followed my Mom out of the store with pounding heart, sure that I would be called back to face my punishment.

That night I did not sleep, experiencing the torment of unconfessed sin.
In my childish mind I had committed a terrible wrong.
I felt so guilty - so terrified that someone had seen me after all and they would send the police to arrest me and put me in jail. My over active imagination did not serve me well -- and fed my vivid nightmares of being caught and punished. The power of the enemy in the darkness of our mind is far-reaching.

As I got older, I of course realized that what I had done was an accident, but I was still tormented by the fact that I had hidden my sin and pretended I had not done it.
As the years passed I thought of the necklace less often, but when I did the memory was always a very short trip to the emotional closet labelled ‘guilt’ and it always brought the enemy’s taunting voice telling me I was guilty, that I was not what people thought I was. Even though I has asked the Lord to forgive me , I was never able to free myself from my childhood guilt that grown to be so huge.

When I was in my thirties, I was working for Eaton’s department store. One day a new employee was hired to work in the fabric department. She was an older woman, a widow by the name of Betty Enns. She immediately looked familiar to me…. and it didn’t take long for me to connect that she had been the original owner of the 5 - $1.00 store.

A thought occurred to me… At first I pushed it away, reasoning that it would simply be embarrassing. But the more I thought of it the more I realized that God was giving me a chance to do what I should have done as a child.

One afternoon the opportunity presented itself and I spoke with Betty.
I smiled nervously and said, “I have a confession to make to you!”
She smiled back and asked, “What could that be?”
And I told her what I had done as a child.
She gave me a hug, and expressed ‘how sweet’ it was of me to tell her. She laughingly forgave me and said she was sure they had just glued the stone back into the setting and sold it!!

I was free!! No more guilt!

That experience taught me something.

It is not how big or small a sin may be.
What matters is ….do we give the enemy a foothold in our life to torment us?

Eph. 4;27 warns us “Neither to give place to the devil.”

Satan works best in the darkness….anything small or big done in thought or deed in the dark and kept in the dark is a ‘place’ where the enemy works.

He can make a mountain out of a molehill or a molehill out of a mountain, whichever fits his purpose.
His purpose is to fill us with fear and torment – endless accusations, ridicule, threats, and lies.

In the dark , we listen to his voice and are paralyzed with fear and guilt.
But in the Light, he disappears. He has no place, no foothold, no room to work. He disappears with the darkness as quickly as the Light dispels it.

Why do we listen to his lies? Why do we hide in the darkness?

Perhaps because it is so natural for us to hide in the darkness, even a child will seek a dark corner when he feels he needs to hide what he has done.

Yet Roman 13:12 admonishes us to put off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light!
Putting on armour means to cover oneself with strong protective clothing that is impervious to enemy attack.
The enemy’s arrows only have power in the darkness, if we abide in the Light we are covered with a shield that the arrows cannot penetrate.
If only I had been brave enough to confess what I had done immediately, the store keeper would have simply said, "Don't worry about it. We can fix it!" and I would have been spared so much needless pain!!

There is a wonderful verse in I John 2:10 that says when we live in the Light ‘there is no cause for stumbling’.
Never? That’s what it says, isn’t it?
When our path is illuminated with light, it is easy to see where to place our feet.
When we are honest, truthful, confessing our wrongs, admitting to our faults, quick to forgive and ask forgiveness, taking responsibility for our actions and reactions, loving one another - it is hard for the enemy to trip us up !

Jesus came to bring His Light into our lives. He says that He came so no-one should live in the dark!!(John 12:46) but have the Light of Life!! (John 8:12)
No longer are we children of the darkness where there is fear and torment. We are ‘children of light’. (I Thess. 5:5)