Saturday, December 24, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Sometimes we don't realize how easily we filter what we see or hear through the grid of what is familiar to us or according to the cultural defines of our world.
I believe we do this more often than we know with the bible stories or teaching that we have heard all our lives.
I recently read a very interesting book by Kenneth Bailey called "Jesus, through Middle Eastern Eyes". Kenneth is a university professor who spent sixty years living in the Middle East observing first hand the ways and customs of the village people -- so little changed over the last 2000 years.
What he reveals changes some of the details of the Christmas Story that are taken for granted in the telling and retelling of the events as they are understood from our own cultural perspective. We are unaware that the details may well be different than we have been given to understand them.
Let's examine the story from the Middle Eastern culture in which the events of the beloved story took place.
1> The Census-
"So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city." Luke 2:3
When the census degree was issued everyone had to present himself in the city of his birth.
Immediately, we imagine people going back to the city of their birth - a city that has changed and grown. Joseph and Mary would be entering a city crowded with travellers all looking for accommodations .. and just like we have experienced .. the inns, the hotels all have 'No Vacancy' signs hung in the window.
Not so .... in ancient Bethlehem !
Joseph was not travelling to a foreign city. He was going home! Home where many family members still lived. Not only was he going 'home' but he was considered 'royal'. Bethlehem boasted of so many descendants of King David that they affectionately referred to it as The City of David. Joseph was "of the house and lineage of David" meaning that most every house in Bethlehem would be open to him.
To refuse hospitality to a descendent of King David would reflect negatively on the whole community. It wouldn't happen!
So if we accept that Joseph and Mary would not have come to Bethlehem with no where to stay .. how do we deal with the other details of the story as we have understood it?
2> The Inn
But the scriptures specifically say "for there was no room in the inn" , don't they?
Yes.. but ... what is meant by 'the inn' ?
There is a specific Greek word for what we would call a hotel or public inn. That word is used in the parable of the Good Samaritan. But the Greek word used here in the Christmas story is a word that is used only one other time and that is when Jesus sent His disciples to go to a certain house and ask to use the upper room or guest chamber.
We need to understand something about the homes of the Middle East villagers... homes that remained unchanged into the middle of the 20th century.
The homes consisted of two rooms. One of those rooms - either build onto the side of the house or on top of the roof (as in the upper room or as was built for Elijah by the Shunamite woman) was set aside for a specific purpose. Hospitality being of such importance in the eastern culture every home had a 'guest room' where they could put their guests. It was used for no other purpose.
So now we know... the home where Joseph and Mary went to find lodging already had its 'guest room' occupied. Because of that, the babe was laid in a manger. So we have to answer the question of the 'manger'.
3> The Manger.
Again we need to examine the home of the common people of that time. Beside the 'guest room' there was one other room in the house. A long room that was divided by either timber laid across the width of it or a dropped floor.
This division was needed because on one side the family cooked/ate/slept/lived. On the dropped side the animals spent the night. They were brought in at dark and tied.
There were two reasons the animals were brought into the house. One was that the animals kept the house warm and the other was that it kept the animals safe.
At the divide between the animal side and the family's side were one or two mangers filled with straw. If the animals became hungry at night they could eat of the straw provided.
In the morning the animals were taken back out, the area thoroughly cleaned and fresh straw laid in the manger. Many a village babe was laid in this manger for the day. it was perfect !
It was here that baby Jesus was laid - His first bed.
Another misconception we have is that Mary suffered and birthed her babe alone. That would never happened in middle eastern culture. The women would have sent the men out of the house and they would have attended and cared for Mary when her time came. For the family or even villagers to have left her uncared for would have been an unspeakable travesty of hospitality or the blatant neglect of their own.
4> The Shepherds
When the angels appeared to the shepherds that night they gave them a 'sign' saying "and you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger".
What was the meaning of the sign? Why was it important for the shepherd to know this ?
Shepherds were considered the poor of the poor -- the lowest on the social ladder. If the angels had come and told them that a King had been born, the shepherds would never have dared to go look for him. They knew they would never be admitted to a palace or even into the home of a wealthy citizen of Bethlehem. But the angel told them "swaddling clothes, in a manger". That told the shepherds that this baby was born into a common village home. Swaddling clothes they understood -- their own children had been so wrapped.. and they all had a manger in their homes. The angels' message to them was that the babe was 'one of them'.
5> The Wise Men
Not only was the babe born for the poor, but also for the rich. The wise men were eager to find the new king - the babe the star directed them to.
We read that they came to the 'house' where Mary and Joseph were -- not a stable, not a cave but a house!
Some have tried to make this fact fit by saying that Mary and Joseph had moved back to Nazareth at this time but that is easily seen to be false just by reading the scripture. After the wise men had come, the Lord warned Joseph in a dream to take his little family to Egypt. This he did and it was after he came out of Egypt that they moved to Nazareth.
I know these details do not change the important message of the story - that Jesus was born a baby... in humble circumstances - that He came to live among us fully man and fully God.
We can still rejoice in the great 'gift' of salvation that He brought with His life and His death.
Jesus - the evidence of God's love toward us and God's desire to live among us.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
I have always loved wild flowers more than the ones we grow in our gardens and I think this is the reason why.
No matter how dry or infertile the soil, no matter if rain falls or not, no matter how hot the sun, wild flowers bloom in wild abandon somehow unfailingly cared for by some unseen Gardener’s hand.
The flowers I plant in my garden on the other hand, seem to need constant pampering and attention which , in my case at least, never seems to be enough. And if I turn my head away for a day or two and the weather conditions are less than perfect they hang their blooms and leaves and die more easily than they live!
I have come to the conclusion that God has done that on purpose wanting man to see that what He does is perfect and when He speaks we can trust that it will come to pass. He did not say He would care for us as we care for our garden flowers. He said He would care for us as He cares for the wild flowers that are perfectly healthy and happy – as well as beautiful - in the most adverse growing conditions.
I was reminded of a verse in Psalm 2 this morning that encouraged me in spite of the discouraging conditions of the world around us. If we look at the failing economy, the shaky financial institutions , the ever increasing threat to our moral standards and values and to our expression of them , the threat to our personal safety from criminal or terrorist activity, then we have every reason to feel like a flower in my garden that is fearfully dependent on my ‘notsogreen’ thumb for survival .
BUT… what does Psalm 2:7,8 have to say to us ?
The familiar words of verse 7, "You are my Son , this day have I begotten you" …. quoted in Heb. 1:5 make it clear that in those Psalm 2 verses we have God the Father speaking directly to Jesus , His Son.
He is promising to Jesus His inheritance, which is … “I will give you the heathen and the uttermost ends of the earth !”
Do you think the same God who gardens with such faithfulness the wild flowers would be unable to deliver on His inheritance promise to Jesus ? I think not!
The promise He made to Jesus is also made to us as the followers of Jesus.. His inheritance is also our inheritance!
What does this inheritance entail ? What is it exactly that we have been given the right to and the power to receive ?
In Deut. 20:14 God gives His people instructions on how they are to deal with ‘cities that are afar off’ .. He says that they are to take from them all the plunder that they could productively use, as well as take the women and children as their own. Interestingly, they were to kill all the males. Why would this be?
Males represent power... and so God's people were not to allow something that would have power over them. God was to be the only authority in their lives.
The ‘cities that are afar off’ represent the world. We have this given to us in Acts 2:39 in the first sermon preached by Peter in his words… “and this promise is to you and all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call”
The words ‘afar off’ and the ‘cities afar off’ do not parallel by accident. Just as the OT ‘cities afar off’ referred to the heathen in the OT world, so also the words “afar off” in Acts are speaking about God reaching out to the heathen in the world to whom the promise of salvation was being extended.
So we see that God has given to Jesus and to us the ‘plunder of the world’ as our inheritance. Whatever we need for our livelihood or our ministry is ours to freely take … and the best plunder, of course , are the souls that we take ‘out of the world’ and bring into God’s Kingdom.
Did you ever stop to think that that is our inheritance?? That as citizens of God’s Kingdom we have the right and ministry to take from the world that which rightfully belongs to God and claim it for His everlasting Kingdom?
I love that God calls it our ‘inheritance’ . No one need fight for an inheritance – it is simply given by the one who names the recipient.
An inheritance can be squandered or used selfishly. That is not to be the attitude of God’s children. We are to be known by our attitude of love. We are to use our inheritance for the glory of God and in such a way that we will be recognized as children of God !
If the inheritance is ours by God’s Word, then the conditions around us in a crumbling world hold no terror for us, though they may threaten! What God has given us to do will never be hindered nor our opportunities be diminished !
So if God gave Jesus .. (and by extension to His followers and brethren) the 'heathen and uttermost parts of the earth as our inheritance does that not mean that we SHALL have it ?? surely God can pass on to us what He has decreed to be our inheritance !
So that means that no matter what happens in the world around us ... we shall take from it what belongs to God's Kingdom ... and that is our work and our calling and our ministry and our joy !!!
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
************* Ancient cities kept rolls of their citizens. Guards were posted at the city gates to keep out criminals and enemies by checking their names against the list. This is the context for Rev. 21:27 “Nothing impure will ever enter (the city) nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life”
Ruthanna Metzgar , a professional singer, tells a story that illustrates the importance of having our names written in the book. Several years ago, she was asked to sing at the wedding of a very wealthy man. According to the invitation, the reception would be held on the top two floors of
At the reception, waiters in tuxedos offered luscious hors d’oeuvres and exotic beverages. The bride and groom approached a beautiful glass and brass staircase that led to the top floor. Someone ceremoniously cut a satin ribbon draped across the bottom of the stairs. They announced the wedding feast was about to begin. Bride and groom ascended the stairs, followed by their guests.
At the top of the stairs, a maitre d’ with a bound book greeted the guests outside the doors.
“May I have your name please?”
“I am Ruthanna Metzgar and this is my husband Roy.”
He searched the M’s. “I’m not finding it. would you spell it please?”
Ruthanna spelled her name slowly. After searching the book, the maitre d’ looked up and said, “I’m sorry, but your name isn’t here.”
“There must be some mistake, “ Ruthanna replied. “I’m the singer. I sang for this wedding!”
The gentlemen answered, “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you did. Without your name in the book you cannot attend the banquet.”
He motioned to a waiter and said, “Show these people to the service elevator, please.”
The Metzgars followed the waiter past beautifully decorated tables laden with shrimp, whole smoked salmon, and magnificent carved ice sculptures. Adjacent to the banquet area, and orchestra was preparing to perform, the musicians all dressed in dazzling white tuxedos.
The waiter led Ruthanna and
After locating their car and driving several miles in silence,
“When the invitation arrived, I was busy,” Ruthanna replied. “I never bothered to RSVP. Besides, I was the singer. Surely I could go to the reception without returning the RSVP!”
Ruthanna started to weep – not only because she had missed the most lavish banquet she had ever been invited to, but also because she suddenly had a small taste of what it will be like someday for people as they stand before Christ and find their names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Through the ages, countless people have been too busy to respond to Christ’s invitation to his wedding banquet. Many assume that the good they have done, -- perhaps attending church, being baptized, singing in the choir, or helping in a soup kitchen - will be enough to gain entry to Heaven … but people who do not respond to Christ’s invitation to forgive their sins are people whose names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. To be denied entrance to Heaven’s wedding banquet ill not just mean going down the service elevator to the garage. It will mean being cast outside into Hell, forever.
In that day, no explanation or excuse will count. All that will matter is whether our names are written in the book. If they are not, we’ll be turned away.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
The little house, recently sold, was non-descript no more.
Whereas for many years it barely got a passing glance from by passers, now it was the talk of the town.
What changed ?
The new owner, a painter by trade, decided to use the little old house as an advertisement for his skill. The new house colour was purple with red gables and yellow/green trim. I’m not talking muted designer colours, I’m talking primary - out of a child’s crayon box ! It looked like a larger than life child’s play house.
One day I was taking my daughter’s teen friend to our house. . We small talked and then she asked me a question. “How will I know the right man for me?”
I thought a minute and realized the perfect answer lay on the road before us.
I said, seemingly changing the subject, “On this road there is a very unusual, one of a kind house… Point it out to me when you see it.”
She answered, “What is unusual about it ?”
I replied.. “You will know when you see it .. if you have to ask .. its not the one!”
She looked out the car window carefully scrutinizing the houses we passed. One had an unusual roof line and caught her attention… “Is it that one?” she asked. I smiled… “You are asking , so no .. that is not the one.”
Several more times she , with varying degrees of convictions pointed out a house that had a number of unique features. Each time my response of “Are you sure?” brought doubt.
We were nearing the purple house… It barely came into view… when my young friend gasped and with unwavering conviction in her voice said … “THAT ONE!” I asked her if she was sure, but there was no moving her this time! .
I said.. “Just as you recognized the unusual house when you saw it, is the same way you will know the right man for you. When you meet him, you won’t have to ask… ‘is he the one?’
I was reminded of this purple house the other day and how it provided such a great learning lesson for my young friend.
But then I was thinking how it can be an even greater lesson to all of us.
So often we face challenges, choices, decisions. Our life path could go several ways.
We are advice seekers.. We ask professionals, we ask our friends, we ask anyone we think may have some wisdom to impart that will enable us to make the right decisions - large or small.
But do we look for the ‘purple house’ ??
Seeking professional or especially godly advice is a good thing and the bible commends those who do it.
But the ‘purple house’ is when we seek and find God’s word on something.
Then we need no one’s advice… we know that we know that we know the right thing to do. The ‘purple house’ of scripture’s “Thus says the Lord…. “ ends all discussion.
How diligent are we in finding the purple house of God’s thoughts or commandments… or are we content with man’s opinions as they fit with our natural inclinations? Do we try to find the one who speaks a comfortable ‘interpretation’ of God’s Word or do we seek to know what God plainly says.
I love a little motto I had on my fridge door for years …
“God said it, I believe it, And that settles it for me!”
Friday, May 27, 2011
Saturday, May 14, 2011
A perfect shot, isn't it ?
My daughter took it of their family dog and sent me the photo with the challenge to use it for a devotional.
I awwww...ed over the photo , of course! Then, I let my thoughts go and I followed them.
Let me share them with you .
Scattered throughout our days and years, often in unexpected time and place, are flashes of perfection. We see a sudden vision of beauty, the coming together of details unusual or rare, insights that quicken our spirits or stir our emotions.
Often we recognize the fleeting quality of a perfect moment and something deep in us immediately reaches out to grasp hold and somehow capture, record, preserve it to relive its pleasure at will, to share it with others or to ensure that the experience will not be subject to fading in our less than perfect memories.
We reach for the camera or the pen to freeze the image, experience or insight that marks its significance in our soul.
Perfection ! Why does the mere glimpse of it resonate so profoundly in the depths of our being?
Did you ever stop to consider that we were created for perfection? That perfection is what 'fits' us best ?
No wonder we are so uncomfortable with sickness, grief, sorrow, pain, confusion, injustice and yes... death itself. We were never 'fitted' for those kind of things. We yearn for the perfect. When there is no longer a need to hold on to fleeting glimpses.
We were created in the image of our Creator God who is a God of Perfection. Would we not also be designed to enjoy perfection as well?
The garden of Eden was perfect. Sin destroyed that perfection and the resulting consequences were ill-fitted to man, leaving him ever dissatisfied deep in his soul.
But God's plan was still perfect....He would use man's failing to raise him up to be a 'perfect' man , fitted in every way to enjoy an eternity of perfection! He sent Jesus to prepare the way... and to send the His Spirit into our hearts . That is our work in this life - to yield to the indwelling Spirit guiding us, preparing and perfecting us for our true eternal home!
There is an interesting verse in Ecc. 3:11 that says "He has made everything beautiful (perfect) in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end."
Some bible translators translate the original Greek work into the English 'eternity' and some as 'the world' .
I think both together give the best sense of what God is saying. God has indeed put a sense of eternity and perfection in our hearts so we never lose the yearning to be perfect as we were created to be.
But as long as we are in our earthly bodies we are limited by this earth time. We do not have the ability to see what God did before our time or what He will do after this earth time is over. We cannot imagine what true perfection in all things is like !
"Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." I Cor. 2:9
One day this earth will end and there will be a new beginning ... A new heaven and a new earth where perfection will rule.
Can you imagine?
Never more a disappointing moment, a moment of sadness, a twinge of pain or regret. The moments of perfection we yearn to hold onto here will stretch timelessly there with nothing to cause even a ripple of discord. Every moment, every experience, every thought, every vision is unending perfection!
What unspeakable joys await us !!
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Let me tell you ... YES YES !!!!
Several months ago I was diagnosed with a large substernal thyroid mass with suspicion of cancer . There followed seemingly endless blood tests, scans, biopsies, ultra sounds, x-rays and referrals to thyroid and thoracic surgeons. I was told to expect something beyond a simple surgery.
Friends, acquaintances and even an atheist rallied around me assuring me of their love and prayers! I was overwhelmed with the love and concern poured out toward me. (the photo above depicts my own 'private nurse' knit for me by a neighbour)
Finally my surgery was booked and on Tues. of this week we left our house at 4:00 am for my 7:25 am surgery appointment at Vancouver General Hospital.
Right to the last minute, complications were expected .... but people were praying!
God answered every single prayer !!!
Medical Concerns Wiped out by Prayers
1. Breathing Tube -- because of the substernal mass , my trachea tube was somewhat compressed and curved. In my pre-surgery appointment with the anaesthetist he advised that because there was doubt whether the tube could be safely inserted after I was put out, it would have to be inserted while I was still awake. He called in a second opinion and his diagnosis was confirmed.
I was nervous about being awake for it.... but as I lay in the pre-op ward the two anaesthetists came to see me. Two very sweet young women. They stood at the end of my bed reviewing my charts and then said... "It would be soooo much more comfortable for you if we put the tube in after you are asleep. We think we can do it... If not, we'll just wake you up again. We will have to put in a larger tube though, which will make your throat more painful in recovery." The thoracic surgeon stopped by and briefly discussed with them the procedure and agreed, adding however that the larger tube would hinder the surgeon's space since she needed all the room she could get. So, he advised the smaller tube! The girls agreed.
2. Neck Opening not Enough
My surgeon advised me that because of how far the mass had grown down into my chest there was a real concern that she would not be able to get it out the usual way through a neck opening. A thoracic surgeon would attend and he would make three openings in my ribs through which two cameras and an instrument would be inserted to push the mass up toward the throat opening for the surgeon to pull the mass out. Failing that, there was a slight chance that my breastbone would need to be broken. I was prepped for the more complicated procedures -- which were not necessary!! The surgeon told me the morning following the surgery that the mass was not down as far as she had believed it to be.
Either all the scans/x-rays were deceptive or God in answer to prayers, shrunk the mass up to where the surgeon could reach down to pull it up through the throat opening. I am convinced it was the later. I had the best surgeons who certainly know how to read test results and examine pictures.
3. Nerves for the vocal cords - My surgeon warned me because of the close proximity to the nerves for the vocal cords there was a good possibility my voice would be affected, hopefully only temporarily. The nerves are often difficult to see. The resident surgeon who was in the operating room came to see me that evening and said with delight in his voice... "Your nerve was just lying there in the open !!" So my voice was not affected at all.
4. Pericardius Attacks
Because I have re-occuring pericardius attacks triggered by my rheumatoid arthritis and because surgery can trigger the attacks in healthy people, there was concern that I would suffer an attack after the surgery. Precautionary drugs were injected into my IV before surgery.
I had no attacks !
5. Cancer - while the mass was sent to the pathology lab for analysis, my surgeon feels that judging by sight she does not expect it to be cancer.
1. Vic --One of my biggest concerns going into surgery was was my husband. He was very concerned and I worried about him sitting waiting for me to come out of surgery. A couple of days before my surgery, he had a break-through... He found that place where He could trust the Lord for my well-being. And then my daughter was able to come with us on surgery day to keep him company .. Again, God taking care of the details. It was such a comfort to me to have them both with me!
2. Going, going, .. The last thing I remember in the operating room is looking at the speckled ceiling and watching the plaster specks quiver. Immediately after, I heard a voice drawing me awake. "Julianna, you are in recovery!"
I murmured ... "I was dreaming." I don't remember my dream except for the last scene which was vivid in my mind. A pastoral scene of a meadow... grass, trees , a grazing black and white cow, and sunshine. I opened my eyes to look out the window to see the weather had changed. The picture window revealed a large blue patch of sky bordered by bright fluffy white clouds. When I told my husband, he smiled a big smile remembering a vision he had had before I went into surgery of a blue sky and white clouds and the Lord impressing him with joy!
"So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture will give You thanks forever, We will show forth Your praise to all generations!" Ps. 79:13
3. Pain - Though I was in a fair amount of pain when I awoke, pain meds were quickly administered and those in the recovery room were the only pain meds I have needed.
4. Hospital room -- I had at first requested a private room, but I became uncomfortable with that decision, thinking that spending the extra money was maybe not necessary and we decided that we would just trust God to chose the room for me.
My room was beautiful!! Very quiet... just me and a little old lady.
My room was on the 9th floor and my bed was positioned so that without moving my head, two large windows allowed me to have a view of Vancouver city back dropped by the mountains and eastern sky.
I lay for hours in the Lord's Presence, relaxed and peaceful, enjoying the changing scene before me.
God and I have a code word - 'wings' - that God tucks into a verse or a song or a written/spoken word... to bring me His message of comfort or assurance of His Presence with me. Here ... the 'wings' were real -- the seagulls swooped and soared eye-level , beautiful in their feathered colours of striking shades of black and white. I was mesmerized as I floated with them in the sky and smiled when one and another would soar , wings extended, making a deliberate pass-by almost grazing the window panes.
The clouds formed and reformed, the late afternoon sun edged the clouds in brilliant white, then brushed them with pastel pink as slowly the day faded . Lazily, one by one the lights of the city came on until they sparkled like countless jewels against the night sky.
5. Care - I could not have asked for more gentle, hospital caregivers ... from surgeons, to nurses, to support staff.
6. Friends/family - Sometimes we take our friends/loved ones for granted or don't really realize how many friends we have. I have been overwhelmed with the love of those who share my 'space' in life.
I want to thank EACH ONE OF YOU !! for your expressions of love and for your heartfelt prayers ! Know that God heard and answered !!
May we all be encouraged to pray more , full of assurance that our loving God is listening , ready and willing to answer above and beyond what we can think to ask !
Truly ... "We have not because we ask not!" (James 4:2,3)
"To God be all glory and thanksgiving!"
Monday, April 25, 2011
I was in the middle of Easter baking, my yeast proofing, ingredients ready to mix when the phone rang.
It was my granddaughter - but her voice had an unmistakable undercurrent of urgency or fear.
"Nanna, we were in the house when sudenly there was a rumbling and the house shook and then there sounds like ... 'ooooooohhhhhhwwww' We were sooo scared we ran outside but we could still hear the sounds.. Now we are too scared to go back inside and we are kinda hiding outside. Can you come?"
They knew Nanna would come. Short of death, they knew nothing would keep me from answering their call.
Being without a car, I threw on a jacket, grabbed my house keys and hurried the ten minute walking distance between our houses.
I found them waiting for me. When they saw me, they ran to meet me.
The door had been left wide open and I went inside, the girls tentatively following at a safe distance. I first checked the kitchen for appliances left on or making noises. Nothing. The girls were sure the noises had come from downstairs.
I immediately turned to descend the stairs encouraged by admiring voices.. "Nanna, you are sooo brave!"
Yes, of course!
I looked all around downstairs... checked closets and storage rooms... nothing - all was still.
Seeing that I seemed to be in no immediate danger, the girls followed me into the back room.
Suddenly they gasped as they looked at their father's computer screen . The realization dawned on what had happened. The computer had been left on some kind of standby and had suddenly without warning -- with the volume on high -- blasted out a youtube of scary sound effects.
Visible relief washed over the girls, they giggled with released nervous tension and I was hugged and profusely thanked for coming to rescue them even though it had turned out to be nothing to be afraid of.
As I walked back home, I thought about their confidence and faith in me. They KNEW I would come, they only had to ask.
We just celebrated Easter, remembering that Jesus came in answer to man's cry for help.
Even death could not stop Him. He conquered it and saved us !
Now with what confidence can we call upon Him and know our every need will be met.
His words "Fear not!" allow us to tread upon the enemy and go where others tremble.
He has gone before us... we can follow Him, secure in knowing He is our trustworthy guide.
"So we may boldly say, ' The Lord is my helper, I will not fear. What can man do to me?" Heb. 13:8
Thursday, April 7, 2011
I have spent hours watching the activity in this nest and so thankful for this Virgina cam that allows us to see what would otherwise be impossible.
It has so moved me as I have watched and seen displayed before me a 'picture' of the nature of God.
The eagle is a bird of prey with no predator of its own. It rules the high places and the small creatures below are at its mercy.
It is equipped with sharp, powerful talons that kill with ease and a strong beak to tear flesh apart !
The eagle has extraordinary visual abilities to see detail at great distances. Little escapes its attention.
It has no equal in the sky!
What terror must flash into the hearts of creatures who see the dreaded shadow of the eagle over them in the last seconds of their life.
I watch this same eagle guard her young with such tenderness.
I see the nest meticulously created. I've watched the eagle keep it in good repair, picking up a loose twig and weaving it back into the nest wall.
I see how the food is brought to the nest and the mother tears off pieces and offers them with gentleness to the young who expectantly lift their open beaks.
I watch how the eagle hovers over the young to shelter them without crushing them.
What melts my heart most is watching the little eaglets.
I note how they are so content with the parent's presence on the nest. Without fear of provoking wrath they pecked at her feathers and curl up to sleep at her feet - never questioning the fact that they are perfectly safe.
I also wonder at how freely the little ones move and tumble in the nest that is still to them very spacious. They have no sense of the danger their lofty 'home' presents - how carelessly leaning over the edge could send them free falling to certain death. They simply trust.
But one day soon they will experience the most terrifying day of their lives. The nest - the only home they know - will become cramped and small and an unfamiliar restlessness will overwhelm them. Then one day the mother will do the unthinkable... she will push them out of the nest and they begin their deathly descent with nothing to cling to.
All security is gone! What is wrong ?? Why has their own mother turned on them?
But she hasn't .... she watches ... and then before the eaglet falls far enough to be in danger she swoops underneath and catches the young one on her wings. She takes it back up to the nest only to push it out again. Terrified, the young one finally realizes that it has wings and spreads them out and soars in the sky ... suddenly experiencing the freedom for which it was born!
I'm sure you know where I am heading ... God is like the eagle.. unequaled in the heavens... powerful and a God to be feared .... "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Heb 10:31
and yet ...
He is as gentle as a mother to His own. He provides , He cares for our needs, He hovers over us to protect.
We grow in our trust .... we experience His love and faithfulness toward us.. but then one day tragedy strikes in our life and we free fall, terrified! Where is God ???
Just like the eagle, He is watching .... waiting ....
God wants us to be free to be all He created us to be ... but to do that we need to learn to fly... and we can't do that unless He pushes us out of our comfort zone....where the security we have trusted in is stripped away .... where there is nothing left but God Himself.
Just when we feel there is no hope left, He catches us on His wings and carries us to Himself. as He says.... "I bare you on eagles wings and took you to Myself" Ex.19:4
How great and loving is our God.... and how worthy is He of our trust and love. Always - 24/7.