Friday, October 9, 2015
It all began with a box of books.
The tracking info showed that they were to be delivered to my door last Friday before the end of the day. No books arrived, and the tracking information changed to 'delivery status not available'. I thought they would get it sorted out by Monday ... but no, Monday came, still no tracking info available and no books. I finally called and was told the books were waiting customs clearance. Okay... I guessed they'd get it sorted out!
Then later in the afternoon I got a call from the head office of the courier company my box of books had been shipped with. I was told that to get my books I needed an import number. Really? I had never needed one before - but apparently I had got a 'letter-of-the-law' picky customs officer who looked at the box and thought, "Hmm... 60 books? no way is this lady buying them to put on her shelf ,.. smacks of retail to me!" and he refused to clear them for delivery.
The courier agent was very nice and told me he would send me the forms I needed to fill out, would even highlight in yellow the parts I needed to address and the phone number to call for an import licence number from Revenue Canada. He would send them out in five minutes - which, true to his word, he did.
I got the forms .. looked them over ... and decided that since I didn't really have a choice, I might as well call Revenue Canada and see what I needed to do. So I dialed the number. Wow... I listened to the automated messages, then got linked into the options list that went on and on, none of them addressing an import number ... finally! I was told to press a number to speak to a live agent. I pressed the number quickly, before the next option was presented, but instead of 'exiting' to a live agent I was sent round the option loop again.
Somewhat frustrated by this time, I interrupted the loop and just pressed the number I had been given to speak to a live agent...
This time a gentle voice responded, "Hello, how may I help you today?"
I briefly explained that I was an author, was expecting a box of books that had been held up at customs and could not be released unless I had an import number.
He questioned, "How many books?"
I told him, sixty. He laughed and said, "They held up a box of only 60 books? I'm an author too, I've never had a problem!"
I asked.. "I got a picky officer?"
"Boy, did you ever!" he chuckled .. then said .. "But that's ok, I can give you an import number."
I had at one time had a GST number so he said he could activate that and add the import number to it.
Then he asked, a little hesitantly, "What's your book about?"
Thinking he wouldn't really care, I answered somewhat non-committal, "Oh, its a children's chapter book."
"Oh," he replied.
I could hear him talking to himself as he was filling out the necessary paperwork .. and I decide to ask in turn ... "What is YOUR book about?"
He replied as non-committal as I had .. "Oh, its a religious book!"
I wasn't sure what 'religious' meant but I decide to jump ! "oh, so is mine! I have two , the first is an allegory on the fruit of the Spirit and the sequel is an allegory on the treasure of the kingdom."
Well, we soon found we were very much on the same page - fellow believers, fellow authors and we had a great conversation.
I had also caught him at the end of his shift, so our conversation was on his own time ... Then he said it had been nice talking to me and I could tell he was going to end the call ... I quickly said .. "OHHH WAIT WAIT!!"
He said, "yes?" and I said, "You never gave me a number!"
So we shared a chuckle and finished the 'unimportant' part of the call.
He told me that there were 250 agents that could have taken my call - and I suddenly understood why I took that extra loop around the options list - God orchestrated the timing so that I got not only a Christian but a fellow author. The encounter was God-planned! Of course we exchanged the names of our books.
His book is called Grow Up! by Robert Perreault. I ordered it and read it - it is a very good book, addressing the steps to maturity and a deeper relationship with the Lord. The book came out of a vision that Lord gave him on the church parking lot ... and then God told him to go teach what He had given him. The book is written in an easy to read style and its message is life changing for a new believer and also for those of us who have been Christians for many years. The book is insightful and heart-hitting with the message of how important it is for believers to 'grow up' and not stay stuck playing church and doing the right 'religious' things ... God wants so much more ! I recommend it for anyone who wants an inspirational good read that has 'food' to grow on.
Monday, October 5, 2015
Water - there is nothing more important to life than water.
I love how God has put into His creations the physical 'pictures' by which we can understand the spiritual and eternal truths. As important as physical water is to our body, so is spiritual water for our soul.
Today is Shimini Atzerat, or the Eighth Day of the Sukkot festival. In this Jewish feast described in Leviticus 23:33-35, 39-43, the Jews had three ceremonies that were carefully followed on each day of the first seven days of the feast.
The third, of these daily ceremonies, was called 'the rite of the water libation'. At the beginning of Sukkot a procession of priests went down to the pool of Siloam to bring to the temple a golden container of water, enough for all the feast days. The water was brought up with great ceremony - the shofar was blown and the people waved their palm branches and the great Hallel - Psalms 113-118 was recited!
Each morning, the priest on duty filled a silver bowl with water from the pool of Silam, circled the altar and then poured it out as an act of prayer - asking that God would pour out His blessing of rain upon the earth.
Then on the 8th day, this water ceremony reached its climax. The priests circled the altar seven times, instead of once, and then poured out the water with great pomp and ceremony. This was known as the great Hosanna, translated "save now" !!
Why is this significant to us today?
It gives a depth of meaning to the passage in John 7:37-39. The words "on the last day, that great day of the feast" refer to the eighth day of Sukkot that I just discribed.
So here we have Jesus standing up on this very holy day that had great meaning to every Jew there ... and Jesus 'cries out' -- in a loud voice so everyone can hear. He shouts, "If anyone thirsts let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."
These words were 'blasphemous' enough that there were those who wanted to kill him -verse 44. Why? Because Jesus was proclaiming that this feast - that climaxed with a prayer for water - had been answered ! Jesus, Himself, was the water of life - the water of blessing that God had poured out upon all who would believe on Him, whom God had sent.
Have you drunk deeply of this water of life?
"..Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.. but the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." ~John 4:14