Friday, November 3, 2023

 I was reading Psalm 27 the other day, and was caught by the first line in which David declares .. "The Lord is my light" 
 We take light for granted, don't we? If the sun goes down we simply flick a switch and carry on.

 I think for most of us 'fear of the dark' is one of our first experienced fears. I remember as a child, one of my chores was to carry the day's left-over food scraps to the barn for the cats or pigs to enjoy. The barn was far enough away from the house that the yard-light attached to the house did not reach all the way to the barn, leaving a stretch of inky darkness. I was fine in the light but my heart always pounded in fear when I stopped to gather my courage to dash through that black corridor of 'no light'. 

Why are we so afraid of the dark? This week  Tuesday was Halloween, when 'black' is the colour of choice. -- witches, black magic, dungeons, evil. Why is the colour black chosen to symbolize evil? Because in I John 1:5 it says, "God is light and in Him is NO DARKNESS AT ALL!" Black shuts out all light and therefore aptly symbolizes everything outside of God - everything outside of His goodness. (and I love the word 'good' - it is God (Goooood) stretched out and is that not what God does ... stretch out His hand to bestow goodness upon His people?) 

So when David says "The Lord is my Light!" what is he saying? 
The first thing he says is he is not afraid. Just as I was not afraid where the yard light shone, so also David was not afraid when he was in God's LIGHT. He mentions the enemy stumbling. By inference we can deduce that his enemies were NOT walking in God's light and therefore stumbled. It is so easy to stumble in the dark, is it not? 

 David makes another comment in verse 4 when he speaks of "beholding the beauty of the Lord". Do you know that 'colour' is ONLY in LIGHT itself and not in any object we see? The beauty of colour is in the light rays and when they touch an object some rays are absorbed and others are reflected. We see only the colour of the reflected rays. You know how after a notable dimming of lights .. all colour disappears. The ocean bottom, as we have all observed watching underwater films, is incredibly beautiful, but without the light of the camera, it lies in darkness devoid of any perceivable colour. The creatures who dwell there never see any colour, unless they happen to be in the range of a diver's light.

 I love the symbolism of this fact. Without God, there is no beauty to behold. Only by Him and through Him , when He shines on our life are we able to see and appreciate His beauty all around us. We say ... "I have to see it to believe it !!" It is hard to see in the dark, and very hard to know what to believe. How often as children did you tell scary stories -- and remember how much more effective they were to inspire racing hearts if the stories were told in the dark! If you are in the dark, you are easily led to believe anything you are told is lurking in the corners. But If God is our 'light', we are 'enlightened', we can 'see' clearly the things of God. We can see His face, and we believe because we see and understand!
 David's 27th Psalm is a beautiful declaration of faith, but he adds one clearly identifiable characteristic of faith in the last verse - 14. The quiet confidence of 'waiting' on God! Waiting -  Have you ever grown tired of waiting on God? Waiting for an answer? Waiting for His direction? Waiting for Him to smooth the wrinkles in your life? Of course... we all have. BUT .. as we continue to live and walk in the 'light' of who God is, we will notice how much easier it becomes 'to wait' because our confidence is sure -- God does hear, God does have an answer, and God will deliver in His good time! While I am waiting I am hidden in His secret place, in His tabernacle - high on a solid rock!

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

"Nothing new under the sun"
 We are having a sermon series from Ecclesiastes on Sunday morning and in Ecclesiastes there is the recurring phrase ... "under the sun" ...Solomon uses this phrase 27 times in the book. In observing the things 'under the sun', he concludes that there is nothing new under the sun. What once was, is and what is, will be again.

 I listened to a very insightful conversation between Jonathan Cahn and Gary Hamrick. (link below) 
We all look around us in horror at what is happening in our world on so many levels we are moving away from a godly society. Morally our world is falling apart and we shake our heads in confusion wondering what went wrong. How did things change so quickly from what was the 'norm' not that long ago!! 

Jonathan Cohn is very insightful and gifted to lift the scripture off the ancient Bible page and paste it into our modern world. Because we are visually oriented, we judge by what we see and too often do not give enough attention to the unseen spiritual world which is very very real. Not only is it real but has a greater impact in our society than we might think. 

 Ephesians 6:12 tells us that our earthly battles are not against 'flesh and blood' , literally other people, but our battle is against "principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, .. against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." 

 How literally do we recognize the truth of that, knowing that it is not ungodly people we need to protest against, and argue with, but we need to stand against the very 'rulers of darkness' , real beings - entities - that are the ruling influence here ! 
 Note that these demonic entities are rulers over the DARKNESS .. they cannot overpower us who live in the LIGHT ... Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (I John 3:5) and gave us the authority, in His name, to stand against what the enemy is orchestrating in our society today ! 

 Jonathan explains it so well, I will give you the link and encourage you to listen to it ...
 I know you will find it most insightful ! 

 On another note, I know we are all watching the war in the Middle East ... and there are many who have much to say about it ... but the best sermon I heard about it was by Gary Hamrick - so concise and to the point ... Here is the link if you wish to listen to it .. I encourage you to do so! You won't be sorry !

Psalm 81:13-16 
"Oh, that My people would listen to Me, 
That Israel would walk in My ways! 
I would soon subdue their enemies 
And turn My hand against their adversaries. 
The haters of the Lord would pretend submission to Him, 
But their fate would endure forever. 
He would have fed them also with the finest of wheat, 
And with honey from the rock 
I would have satisfied you !" 

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

The Chicory Plant


On our way to church on Sunday, I admired  the lovely blue Chicory flowers blooming beside the road.  I have noticed that they seem to really like the sides of the roads -  i have not seen them growing elsewhere !  

And I thought ....   hmmmm.... there has to be a lesson here !  

I googled the Chicory plant to see if it was true that they preferred to bloom beside the road.  Apparently, they do !  For two reasons.  
One - not many plants/flowers grow beside the road, so they have chosen to bloom there because there is little competition for space!  
 Two -  they rather like rocky, dry, clay soil conditions, as provided roadside.
I did not make that up... you can google it for yourself. 

I realized the Chicory paralleled our life as believer's. 

Separated and set apart .  
When we chose the Lord, and are born-again, we are separated and set apart for His glory! 
We  chose to withdraw from the crowded places of the world,  so we can 'grow' beside the roads less traveled where we do not have to compete for space or position..   
The chicory could have chosen to bloom in lush fields or shaded forests, but it chose to sacrifice the world's best for its higher calling and purpose. 
So we, as believers, have rejected the lure of what the world offers - the glitz, the glory, the fame or fortune, the comfort.   Instead, we have chosen the higher calling and purpose we have in Jesus, even though it is a life of sacrifice and separation. ( John 17:15,16)

Set on a hill 
If the chicory had chosen to bloom in fields or forest glades, it would have only been noticed by those who sought out those places.  But growing beside the roadway, it is seen by every passerby.   
We too, like the chicory, are positioned so that we are seen by those who pass us by and notice we have something to offer .  We are the light to the world, we are the city set on a hill, we are  God's love extended to the world,  
(Matt. 5:14) 

Called to serve 
The Chicory is an edible and medicinal plant and the leaves, flowers and roots are all useful!   
Isn't that the purpose of every believer?   That we are 'food' for those who are hungry - physically and spiritually.  That we bring 'healing' to those who are sick or suffering, comfort and hope to those who are mourning or in despair.  And just like the Chicory offers its very life so that its roots can be ground into coffee -  so we too are called to lay down our lives for the brethren.  (I John 3:16)

Difficult or dry places
When all goes well,  when looks life we have it all together,  the passers-by look and think , well, sure .. why wouldn't they be happy?  everything goes their way!  
But when things go sideways, when difficulty and hardship and persecution comes our way, and we 'keep blooming' THEN  the world takes notice and wonders what we have that can make us keep our joy in the midst of a difficult situation or life.   
Just as the Chicory is noticed and admired because it can grow and thrive where other plants quickly die, so we too have a visible witness to those who pass us by.  (Acts 1:8, I Peter 4:19))

Look up! 
I love the colour  of the chicory, is it looking up to reflect the blue sky above?
Are we not called to 'look up' into the face of Jesus and reflect His image in our life?
(II Cor. 3:18)  

Called into His rest! 
There is one more thing the Chicory pictures for us.   Have you noticed it only blooms in the morning and 'rests' for most of the day?  
Isn't that what we are called to do as well?   Enjoy the 'rest' Jesus promised us?  He does not burden us with tasks that weary us, He does not ask more of us than what we can give.  He asks of us only what He has already enabled us to do. 

 "Come to Me, all you who are heavy labor and are heavy laden 
and I will give you REST .. 
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me for I am
 gentle and lowly in heart 
and you will find REST for your souls.
 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."...
Matt. 11:28-30

"Thank you, Chicory, for your faithfulness in reminding us every time we look at you of who we are in Christ and how we should live in the world ! "  

Friday, July 7, 2023



Monday morning I took my Bible to spend some quiet time with  the Lord. It was a beautiful morning and the patio was so inviting! 
My first question to Him was .. "What can I share in this week's devotional?"  Immediately the answer came ... "Go to the book of James."  I did and started reading the first chapter. My eyes and attention stopped at the word 'fall' and I knew here lay my lesson.  
In context this verse (James 1:2) is talking about trials of life.  Interesting that it uses the word 'fall' to describe how we meet the trials of our life.  I looked up the Greek word translated 'fall' and the meaning is ... " to fall into something that is all around, i.e. light among or upon, be surrounded with:--fall among (into)."
Have you fallen lately? 
In this short lesson,  I want to point out the parallels between a physical fall and how applicable the use of this word  'fall' is  in relation to our trials. 

We never fall 'on purpose', do we?   If we were told one morning we were going to fall,that day, I think we would seriously consider just staying in bed and avoiding the experience, wouldn't we?  
We don't want it, we don't plan it, we don't anticipate it,  it happens unexpectedly - suddenly we find ourselves on the ground.  
Could we not describe the trials of our life the same way?  A trial is not a welcome event in our life, it is not something we plan for.  It happens , often suddenly, and there is nothing we can do to stop it.  Whether our trials involve failing health, financial trouble, broken or troubled relationships, loss of loved ones, a missed appointment, stuck in traffic, a broken dish or burnt toast, we all have days that just go wrong!  We could each write our own list of things that  upset our life or cause us stress or worry. 

The James verse begins with the words .. "count it all joy!"  I have never seen someone fall, or tell of a fall  where joy was the expressed emotion!  When we physically fall, the closest to feeling  'joy'  is the feeling of relief if we are not seriously hurt !  Could it be that that is where the 'joy' lies in our trials, knowing we won't be seriously hurt when the trial is over?  

When we fall, being 'surrounded' with the fall is an apt description, isn't it?  Suddenly, in the blink of an eye you are totally 'encompassed' by the experience.  All else leaves your mind,   Nothing else is important. You are focused on one thing - you have fallen!!  
So also with the trials of life. When we 'fall' into them, we are encompassed by the trial.  Everything else in our life  slips down the list of our priorities. The trial captures  our thoughts, our emotions, our focus. We desperately look for an escape. .

When we fall, after we have determined that we are not dead, or seriously injured, our focus immediately shifts to how we are going to get up !  No one just stays down if  they are able to get up or have help in getting up !  
So also in a life-trial,   our mind races to find a solution or escape. But we can make the mistake of wallowing in our misery and giving in to the debilitating emotion. .  We are so overcome or discouraged we don't think of 'getting up' - it seems impossible, we are weighed down and blinded by our distress. 

"Count it all joy, my friend!"   No?  not there yet?  

My favorite Bible character is Joseph.  We all love his story.  We love him being given authority, the position of a ruler,  second only to Pharaoh himself.  We love how he provided food for so many, including his own family.  We love how he treated his brothers, tested them and forgave them.  It is such a great story !!  
BUT ...  do we read the 'before' and see how in  Joseph we see our James scripture played out as an example to follow? 
Didn't Joseph 'fall' into trials?   First, he 'fell' into his brothers' evil intentions.  He 'fell' into being sold.  He 'fell' into becoming a slave' ... He 'fell' into being falsely accused and 'fell'  into prison. He even 'fell' into being forgotten by someone who promised to help him.  
None of the trials he 'fell' into were anticipated nor could he have done anything to avoid them.  Did Joseph count them all joy?  I don't think so.  It must have been terrifying for a teen-ager to be 'sold' and dragged away from his father and his home.
We know he suffered - which is a given,  otherwise it wouldn't be a trial, right? 
 We read in Psalm 105:17,18 "He sent a man before them - Joseph - who was sold as a slave, they hurt his feet with fetters, He was laid in irons.."   The passage goes on to say "the Lord tested him" until the right time for the Lord's word to be fulfilled.  
Is that where Joseph found his 'joy' ? In remembering, knowing, believing  the dreams in which God had spoken to him about what was to come - what God's plan for his life was.    God's word to Joseph was never in jeopardy - it was never threatened. 
Joseph could have 'fallen'  into his trials and given up, staying down, giving up.  Who would have blamed him?  Yet he didn't. While his 'trials' surely encompassed him, and there was little joy in the midst of them, he didn't stay down.  In every trial, he got up and walked through it, knowing God was with him. In the end his declaration was that while his trials were 'meant for evil',  God used them for good !!  

That is joy, isn't it?  To never lose hope?  To never forget that our trials are for a good purpose leading to God's goodness poured out into our life and into eternity?  That our trials can work out for good in His kingdom?

We see the perfect example in Jesus Himself.  When He faced the trial of His life - a trial more horrific than any of can imagine - we are told where the 'joy' was.  
Hebrews 12:2 tells us that because of the 'joy set before Him",  He endured the cross. It was not the trial itself that was 'joy' , it was what it would produce.
Having the hope and assurance of what a trial will produce gives us the strength and perseverance to endure the trial.  We think of a woman facing the pain of childbirth which she endures for the 'joy set before her', the hope of the child soon to fill her arms and heart. 
So also our James passage 'sets the joy before us'.  If we endure the trials that come our way - be they big or small - then we will enjoy the 'fruit' of the trials. Patience, and Romans 5:3-4 adds character and hope.  And we read in verse 5,  hope never disappoints because God's love has been poured out in our hearts. 

If you find yourself 'encompassed' by a trial you would dearly have avoided, take comfort and be encouraged, there is a secure 'hope' anchored in the promises of God.  When the right time comes, God's word to you WILL come to pass. And then you will echo Joseph's words, "It was meant for evil but God meant it for good !!  
"Count it all joy...." my friend.