Sunday, March 30, 2008

re-published May28,2020

I still smile when I see a mother trying to coax a toddler away from some fascinating object or play .. to no avail … until she walks away calling “Bye-bye! I’m going !” and suddenly the fascination evaporates and the toddler hurries after his mother.

I had a angora goat for a pet who was every bit as stubborn as goats are reputed to be. She had a propensity to eat exactly the things she wasn’t supposed to. If I scolded her or tried to distract her I would either be simply ignored or bucked out of her way. But if I hid myself suddenly I would hear her bleating cry and her feet hurrying to find me.

What is it about the fear of being abandoned that has such strong motivating power in God’s creatures?

The shearwater are a very fascinating bird.
The chick hatches from an egg laid deep in an underground tunnel. After two months of brooding by its parents it hatches with a ferrous appetite. It takes both parents regularly bringing food back to the tunnel where the chick simply sits and lives for the return of its parents and the food they bring!
Then when the chick is almost ready to leave its cozy home the parents abandon the chick. It waits but no parents or food appear. The chick loses weight – excess weight that it had gained to sustain it during this time of abandonment leaving it just the right weight to be able to fly!
Finally after a few days the chick is desperate enough to move to the entrance of its tunnel and then on a dark night it finally leaves its nest and somehow follows in the footsteps of its parents across the ground to the ‘taking off’ place.
Finally its struggle is rewarded reaches that place and stops.
The smell of the ocean is a strong lure…triggering the instinct to let go and spread its wings. The chick is chick no longer but soars above the ocean joining the adult flock of shearwater flying effortlessly above the waves.

I was thinking …….
I found ten places in scripture that talk about God hiding His face. Several of them are voiced by King David who cried out for God not to hide His face from him as in Psa 143:7 “Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.”
There are also scriptures that speak of God ‘setting His face’ against someone that clearly indicate judgement as in Lev. 20:6,”I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.”
Could it be that God turning His face away is not a judgement but rather a last yearning effort to turn man’s heart to Himself again? That in hiding His face He is purposely creating a fear, a sudden recognition that something is wrong - just as we saw in each of my real life examples?

Do we not all , as self-centered children want to do our own thing but at the same time want God to sit and watch .. blessing what we are doing?
God speaks to us but we are not listening ….. until as he says as in Micah 3:4 “Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings. “
The people had disobeyed … had behaved badly … but did not feel remorse so He said He would turn His face away…. Making them cry out to Him!
A child is quite content as long as his mother is in view….but when he is aware that she is gone then he cries out !!
Why then does God say that He will not respond but will keep His face hidden from them?
A child’s first reaction to realizing his mother is gone is to simply cry out because he is suddenly afraid. In the same way the first reaction of man is to cry out simply because maybe things are going so good anymore!! “Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled” (Psalm 104:29)
God does not immediately answer man’s cry allowing him time to contemplate what he has done… to recognize his sin and cry out in repentance ready to listen to what God has to say, as David did in Psalm 88:14 “LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?”
What makes God hide His face from us ? Is it what we would think of as gross sin ?
Maybe not ! Look again at my life examples. In every one of them the purpose of the ‘face being turned away’ was to stir up the child, the goat , the bird… to MOVE !! They needed to leave their ‘comfort zone’ .
Is that not often where we get stuck ? We like where we are and we don’t want to move? We love our comfort zone and prefer to stay there.
God’s still small voice is often not enough to move us - away from a habit, out of a situation, out of a relationship, into a ministry , from one level of maturity to the next.

The shearwater bird spoke another message to my heart. The parents overfed their chick so that when the day came that they abandoned it, the chick had ‘reserves’ that kept it strong to pass the test of finding its true purpose .. soaring high above the ocean waves.
How often have you hear someone say … “And just when I thought everything was going sooo good !! everything fell apart!” Did they stop to consider that perhaps the blessings had been sent by God to prepare them for what was to come? To 'fatten' them up so that they would have the strength and resources to pass the coming test?

And too I found it fascinating how the shearwater ‘followed in the steps of its parents” even though the chick was in the dark in totally unfamiliar territory.
How often do we feel we are in the dark and we are groping to find our way?
Do we not also have the example of spiritual fathers and mothers who have gone before and left their footprints for us to follow ?

I love how God put His words in us and around us in so many ways to ensure that we will not miss His voice in our lives !!
I love what David said… “I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved” (Acts2:25)

Should that not be the heart’s desire of every child of God ? That we live in such a way that we are continually looking into the face of God….. so that our feet stay planted firmly on the Rock of Ages ?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Who and What Controls You ?

I dreamed that we were living in a time when Christians were being threatened and we knew it was only a matter of time before we would be killed for our faith !

I was trying to explain to my sister-in-law and her husband, who had come to visit, the dark time we were living in and how we needed to be strong. Suddenly a vehicle with two uniformed men drove up and I thought .. " they come to kill us..” But they only dropped off a huge chain link cage full of chickens.

The phone rang and I turned away from the window to answer it. It was a man asking that we agree to contribute a roaster full of food to feed some down and outers off the street … about twenty of them. I argued that I didn’t think it was a good idea because I was a Christian and I was expecting to be killed shortly and if I agreed to feed these men and was killed before I could serve them then they would go hungry.
The man wasn’t taking no for an answer even though I further explained that with expecting to be killed I had not gone grocery shopping and didn’t have any food in the house. He still wasn’t accepting anything short of me agreeing to contribute to this meal… so finally I agreed after he told me that perhaps I was a little ‘squirrelly’.

I needed a larger roasting pan than I had so I sent Vic out to go buy one. He came back with a huge one. He had to bring it home on a wheel barrow. It had large legs and a ceramic animal head on it. It would never have fit into a normal oven but in my dream I was quite pleased with it and decided it would be great to roast potatoes in it -- that would be my contribution to this meal.
The day came for us to bring the food to these men and they were already gathered in a large room. The men were shabbily dressed and unshaven. Before the meal was started a man obviously in charge addressed these men asking them to stand if they had had a change of religious faiths since their last meeting. One of the men stood…. And I thought.. “They are taking note for when the killing starts.” I knew it was now only a matter of time.

OK.. so you have the idea by now that I am a crazy dreamer …. Always have been !!

Every one of the details in my dream I can connect back to conversations or comments made to me the previous day, although taken individually they made a whole lot more sense than the crazy quilt my untended mind wove them into.
I think not one of us would argue with the fact that we have a subconscious mind that keeps on working when we are asleep – even though it sometimes seems to lack intelligent discretion as to how to use the information stored in our brains that it obviously has access to.

However, I think few of us have spent much time considering that perhaps, to a greater extend than we realize, our conscious mind is influenced or controlled by our subconscious. We may think that we are consciously in control of our thoughts, our deeds, our actions, our decisions… when in reality the very converse might be true!

I watched a documentary on TV the other night that really made me think.

The documentary detailed a study done on this very subject. What they found is that not only do we have a subconscious mind but we also have two ways of seeing.
One is the obvious - our physical eyes relaying sight information to our conscious mind --- but then they learned that we have another sight path we are not even aware of.

They did an experiment that consisted of flashing a word very quickly across a blank screen. Most people could catch it. But then they used what they called a mask … a jumble of lines clumped together. When the mask appeared on the screen very quickly following the flashed word – no one saw the word... only the mask and yet when they were asked if the word that they did not see look more like ‘this’ or like ‘this’ they were all able to pick out the word that looked most like the word that had been flashed onto the screen. So even though consciously they had not ‘seen’ the word, their choice of which word they chose when given the multiple option was ruled by something they were not aware of in their conscious mind.

My mind was racing toward the spiritual implications of this study!
I love when God’s Word is confirmed by scientific studies – often done by men who do not profess any belief in a Creator God!!

Does scripture not teach us that we are not to be ruled by our ‘outer’ man but rather by our ‘inner’ man... our spiritual man within us?
“Rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. (I Peter 3:4)

The outer man is to die... so the inner man can live in righteousness in the image of Christ.

“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth……. put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Col. 3:5,10)

Consider …. If my subconscious mind takes what my conscious mind feeds it and works with it ‘behinds the scenes’ where I am not aware… then what if my spirit takes what I give it and works with it ‘behind the scenes’ where I am not aware. Then, if this is true I will be influenced in a powerful way to act and react and think... not according to my conscious physical brain but rather my ‘inner man’ or my spirit!!

Look what God’s Word says in Psalm 51:6 “Behold You desire truth in the inward parts and in the HIDDEN part You will make me to know wisdom.”

That is an incredible concept, don’t you think?

While there seems to be little wisdom in how my subconscious mind uses or abuses the information it is fed….we have a decided advantage in our spirits.
“By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” (I John 4:13)

If we belong to the Lord we have His Spirit in us watching over and working with our spirit… using what we give Him to work with and applying the wisdom of God to make it truly life changing.

But there is a catch, isn’t there. The Holy Spirit can only work with what we give Him. If we do not feed our spirits with the Word of God then perhaps the Holy Spirit must sit idle.
Interesting isn’t it ? that both our subconscious mind and our spirit are fed with words?

And maybe we need to think more seriously about what we do allow through our 'gates' -- our eyes , our ears -- because maybe the words , the sights are NOT gone when we turn off the TV set or close that book, or walk out of the place where we really shouldn't have been. Maybe they continue working in a hidden place to conform us to the image of what we have seen or heard.

And maybe when we spend time in God's word, or fill our spirit with worship through prayer or music .... that is NOT gone either when we turn to go do other things. How encouraging to think that God's Word in us is working in hidden places to make us wise in the things of the Lord.

As we become mature and strong in the Lord, perhaps maturity is not so much that we have controlled our conscious mind as it is that we have fed our spirit and grown strong from the inside out !!

“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man” (Eph.3:16)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Skunk Cabbage

As followers of Jesus Christ we are called to be His disciples. What is a disciple? A student…. One who observers and obeys.
God’s Word is portrayed in His creation and if we will but stop to take the time to observe we will see ‘sermons’ all around us picturing for us the way that we should go.

Each year I look forward to one of the very first evidences of spring – the skunk cabbage that I see from my kitchen window.
I have been enjoying it’s bright yellow color this spring every time I stand at my sink.
The other day I was wondering about skunk cabbage. It is not perceived as a popular plant but surely it must have a purpose. I decided to do a little research on the skunk cabbage and this post is the result of what I learned … and what the skunk cabbage calls me to obey!

1. Skunk cabbage loves wet soil.

Skunk cabbage will have nothing to do with dry parched land… no, it insists on growing where the ground sits in water all year. Look for wetlands where little else will grow and you will find skunk cabbage thriving!

Are we like the skunk cabbage – thriving in the Living Water ? Thriving where we may at times find ourselves alone?

Water … life giving . Jesus, the Giver of living water !

"If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." (John 4:10)

2. Skunk cabbage is named for its distinctive smell.
Skunk cabbage is known for its skunky carrion smell.
Its strong odour attracts the insects, beetles and spiders who seem to enjoy it while they pollinate the plants flowers.

Christians give off an ‘aroma’ that is perceived both as a fragrance and a smell of carrion.
To God we are the fragrance of Christ but to those who are perishing… the sinful men of this world…. we are the smell of death !!

“To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.” (II Cor. 2:16)

3. Skunk cabbage creates its own environment.

The skunk cabbage has an interesting ability to adapt to harsh conditions around it . It simply warms itself up ! Enough to melt snow around it …keeping itself from freezing.

We as Christians are called to create an environment of love and peace and gratitude even when circumstances would indicate an opposite attitude.
How successful are we in obeying the example of the skunk cabbage? Do we bring peace into a stressful situation ? Do we have a calming effect when emotions around us are heated ? Does our love cover a multitude of sins?

"And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.” (I Peter 4:8)

4. Skunk cabbage is (almost) immortal

In my study on skunk cabbage I came across this quote …”IMMORTAL?: Eastern skunk cabbage has such an amazing survival strategy that botanists theorize that the plant's central rhizome could live for at least thousand of years, if not indefinitely. Specimens several hundred years old have been found.”

Do we as Christians not have an amazing survival strategy ? When we are born again we are in Jesus and Jesus is in us … and in Him we have the promise of eternal life !!!

"For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." (Col. 3:3)

5. Skunk cabbage puts down deep roots.

Every year the skunk cabbage plant extends its roots deeper into the ground. The roots of a mature plant are said to be so massive that trying to dig them out is a complete waste of time.

How about you and me ? Are we growing ever deeper into Christ ? Are our roots so established in Him that no man, no enemy can pull us away from our stand in Jesus? Are we so grounded in our faith that nothing can make us waver ?

"Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving." (Col. 2:7)

6. Skunk cabbage has medicinal properties

When the bear come out of hibernating they will look for skunk cabbage plants to eat as a laxative to get their systems going again.
The peppery sap of the plant has been used to treat ringworm.
The fleshy underground stem is eaten by animals or was baked to supplement the winter diet of Indians.

Christians are called to bring healing to those around them.
Do our ‘leaves’ , our ‘roots’ freely supply what those around us have need of ??

"Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give." (Matt.10:8)

The next time you come across the brilliant yellow of the skunk cabbage .. stop for a moment and listen to the wise advice hidden in its design.

Wishing you a very Blessed Resurrection Son-day !

"And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!"
(I Cor. 15:17)

BUT .........

"He is risen!"
"He is risen, indeed!"

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Good Friday

Why is crucifixion Friday called Good Friday?
I did some research into the origin of referring to crucifixion Friday as Good Friday. Since it is never refered to that in the bible I was curious . The most plausible answer I found is that it was first called God’s Friday and then became Good Friday in the same way that ‘God be with ye ‘ became ‘Good b-ye’.

I have heard people protest that the day of Christ’s suffering should not be called Good Friday – since it was only good for us , not for God.

When God created the earth and all that is in it … including man …. He proclaimed it good even though He knew that man would rebel against the God that loved them. And He knew the price that He would have to pay to redeem sinful man .

Even though He knew….. it is recorded that God saw that it was good !! ALL of it !

I read Isaiah 53 today and verse 10 stood out to me. “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief.”

It PLEASED the Lord? Do you see the implication these words carry ??
It PLEASED the Lord to sacrifice His Son ….. for what purpose ? To save us who did not deserve God's favor. To reconcile you and me in relationship to Himself, it pleased Him to pay the price required.

Today on Good Friday let us reflect with fresh amazement on the wonder of a God who would be pleased to pay such a price to make our salvation possible. Can we do less than out of a willing grateful heart throw ourselves before the cross and worship Him?

"Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows:
Yet we esteemed Him stricken.
Smitten by God and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions.
He was bruised for our iniquities.
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him. and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray ;
We have turned, every one to his own way .
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (Isiah 53:4-6)

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Mouse Speaks

In 1973 we bought our six acres virgin-forested dream property and because we couldn’t afford to build a house we moved a modular home onto the property .

Shortly after we moved there, I befriended a girl at Eaton’s where I worked and one day she asked if I would be willing to keep her five month old baby for the week-end. I was happy to keep her sweet contented baby but I found he had a funny little habit. He was teething and his way of dealing with the pain or discomfort was to pinch a little piece of your skin between two of his sharp baby nails and twist. It could be quite painful !!

I put him down the first night and he went right off to sleep .
That night I dreamed that I was holding him and he was doing his pinching thing on my little finger. Because I had found a reason for the pain I did not immediately awaken from it , but when the pain persisted I came out of my dream and opened my eyes……
I found myself looking into the eyes of a little field mouse that had a piece of my little finger between his teeth! I had my hand beside my face and the little mouse was sitting on my pillow just a few inches from my nose !

Well… you don’t have to ask !!
I let out an appropriate screech .. frightening the little mouse and jarring Vic out of his sleep !!
He refused to believe that a mouse had been biting my little finger until I showed him the teeth marks and then screeched again when I saw the mouse sitting on top of our closet door.

We thought our modular home was well built… and so it was – for a modular home- but there were little cracks that we could not even see that must have looked like open doors to the cute little field mice that were in abundance in the forest we had claimed as ‘home’.
It took us many months to find and close off every tiny crack, until finally they could no longer find a way in !!

I tell this story …because I think my little mouse preaches a good object lesson!!

We live our lives in what we think are beautifully comfortable ‘modular homes’ but we have an enemy seeking entrance … He can find cracks in our life that we are not even aware off. The enemy is lurking hoping to find some way to exercise his evil intentions in our hearts. Some things may seem sooo small .. hardly significant but the crack left open will allow the enemy’s influence in.
My story gives a very literal meaning to “Give him your little finger and he will take your whole hand!”
And so he will.
If we are honest with ourselves, we know that Satan is not the real enemy , is he ! The real enemy is our own fleshly inclinations and desires, our character flaws and weaknesses. Satan just takes advantage of our 'cracks' that he can use for his own evil desires against us !
We allow a little selfish reaction here…. an unloving act here… an indulgence there… a fleshly desire … an angry word… doubt, fear, sin… Oh… so many cracks we have never closed off !!

The Holy Spirit will point out the little cracks in our life that need to be dwelt with … but are we sensitive to His gentle nudging? Do we hear His convicting voice in our hearts?

“How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.” (Ps. 119:9)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Grace - An Invitation

I was six years old in my first year of school attending a small one-room school in the country.

The year was 1953, long before the days of school playgrounds with sophisticated toys and sports equipment. We devised our own games and imaginary play .

I remember coming back to school one day, after being home sick, to find that some of the girls had constructed a play house in the back of the schoolroom. Where they got the cardboard and other material from, I do not know. I do know that it looked much grander to my six-year-old eyes than what it could possibly have been in reality.

How I longed to see the inside of this castle and to be included in the group of girls playing there.

Although I had not been invited, I hesitantly approached the playhouse hoping to be allowed in.

The leader of the group of girls stood watching me as I slowly came closer, and I was hopeful that she would invite me to come join their play. The playhouse was up on a platform which allowed her to look down on me. She waited until I stood at the foot of the stairs and then she haughtily spoke these words.... "I'm the queen of the castle and you're the dirty old rascal."

The words stung - tears filled my eyes and I turned away, feeling the pain of rejection.

The "queen's" name, ironically, was Grace !

Was this my first example of God's grace?

I remember clearly the first time I heard a radio sermon on the predestination of God. The pastor explain clearly how God ordained some people to hell and some to heaven. The teaching made a deep impact on my mind. Dad after day , on the lonely mile-long walk home from school I pondered the questions assaulting my heart and mind. If God had predestined who should be saved and who should not -- then I had no reason to hope that I should be included in the 'elect'.

Who was I but one of the insignificant ones.

I had accepted Jesus when I was eight and knew the joy of being forgiven and had experienced the reality of a changed heart ... but now I doubted. Had I taken something that was never intended to be mine? Had it simply been the desire of my heart that led my imagination to believe that I could be saved ?

The more I dwelt on my questions of doubt, the more convinced I became that my 'joy' had been based on nothing more than a futile hope and I had never really been saved at all and worse... never would be.

Fear took hold of my heart, fear that I was one of those predestined for hell and there was nothing I could do to change it .

The lies of the enemy embedded in doubt and fear accomplished their finished work over the next years until finally I turned my back completely on God - finding a kind of peace in simply denying His very existence.

Then in 1979 I had an experience with the Lord that forever changed me. I came face to face with the reality of His love in a way that would forever fill me to overflowing leaving no room at all for doubt that I was accepted by Him.

I was overwhelmed by His mercy and grace. I was not arbitrarily chosen to be one of His elect but I was accepted in the Beloved by His foreknowledge that I would come.

Whosoever !! One of my favourite words. Not for a select few did Jesus die, but for the whole world.

Whosoever may come! It is not His will that "any should perish, but that all come to repentance." (II Peter 3:9)

His will, that all come to His outstretched arms. "Him that cometh to Me , I will in no wise cast out." (John 6:27) No one will ever walk up to Jesus and be turned away. His grace is freely extended to everyone who comes!!

Whosoever will ! But is not even the 'willing' of God? Yes, for to every man has been given a measure of faith. Faith to EVERY man, and a free choice.

When I seek God, when I 'will' to believe Him, then He has already by His foreknowledge chosen me, predestined me to His elect by the sanctifying work of His Spirit.

"Many are called , but few are chosen." (Matt.22:14)
By God's will ? NO ! by the will of man -- a hardened heart or a seeking heart -- the choice is personal for every person.

God's grace is open to every 'whosoever' that was ever born !

How great is God's grace ! How wonderful His Father love.

How can we limit His invitation when His command is to go into all the world calling every man to come to the One who will reject no-one.

Is the way narrow? Yes.

But the door to salvation is open to 'whosoever' knocks!!

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Lesson of the Hawk

"Does the hawk fly by your wisdom, and spread it wings toward the south?"

(Job 39:26)

This morning I saw this hawk sitting in a tree behind our house and of course a bunch of crows squawking and harassing him.

I called Vic and asked him to come quick with his zoom zens and snap some photos. He did and the above photo is the result.
I thought I remembered reading about hawks in the bible and looked up the reference to find God Himself speaking about the hawk -- Job 39:26
How beautifully the hawk flies ! And so she should... her wings were designed by the Greatest Designer of Wings by His infinite wisdom !
But it was the second part of the verse that caught my attention. "it spreads its wings toward the south". What was the meaning here ?
I did a little research and came up with the following.
When it is time for the hawk to molt its old feathers or grow new ones it needs to warm its body so the pores open to allow the process to take place.
It accomplishes this in one of two ways. If the south wind is blowing it spreads its wings into its warmth, or if there is no south wind then it beats its wings to create a breeze while facing the warm rays of the sun.
There is an object lesson here , is there not?
We too need to 'molt'.
"..You have heard Him and have been taught by Him ... that you put off, concerning your former conduct , the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lust, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God in true righteousness and holiness." (Eph. 4:21-24)

We are to 'molt' -- putting off the old man and putting on the new man. The old man is , of course, our old sinful character and the new man is the new godly character we are to grow into.

How do we do this ? How do we let go of our old 'feathers' ? Is it not as we yield to the 'wind' of the Holy Spirit ? As we spread our hearts out before Him, we invite Him to reveal our sin and selfish desires.

And what do our 'old feathers' look like?

"Now the works (feathers) of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissentions , heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like..." (Gal. 5:20,21)

How do we grow new 'feathers' ? Is it not as we look into the face of the Son ?

"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." (II Cor. 3:18)

We are told what our new 'feathers' will look like.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness , self-control...." (Gal. 5:23)

The hawk cannot grow new feathers until it molts its old ones.... so also we cannot put on the character of Christ until we 'molt' our old sinful self!

If the hawk refuses to molt, its damaged old feathers would cause the hawk to lose its ability to soar effortlessly in the sky and eventually it would become earthbound.

So we also. If we hang on to our old sinful habits and characteristics we too will lose our ability to soar in God's kingdom and will be in danger of Paul's warning... "..those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." (Gal. 5:21)

Next time you look up into the sky and see a hawk soaring above you ... remember the lesson of the hawk, and look for the 'South Wind' blowing in your life and look to the Son to warm your heart.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Common Language

One of the amazing wonders of this world is that the Creator of it all desired to communicate with His creatures.
God could have finished His creation , and gone on to other things leaving His creation to fend for itself. He could have stepped back and simply watched man struggle to survive.
But no....God wanted to communicate with man, God desired to teach man to know Him !
"But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me." (Jer.9:24)

John Milton Gregory, first president of the University of Illinois , in his 1864 book “The Seven Laws of Teaching” said, “The language used as a medium between teacher and learner must be common to both.”

What a simplistic statement – of course if I am to learn anything from a teacher I need to be able to speak the same language!

Did you ever stop to consider that God and man do not naturally share a common language?

"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (I Cor.2:14)

Natural man cannot understand God.
So the only way God could communticate with man was to create a common language between them so that man would be able to grasp the lofty things concerning God and His spiritual realm.
In His wisdom and love He ‘wrote’ a language specifically designed for this purpose.

What was this language that transcends time and the limitation of man’s intellectual ability to understand things that are unknown ?
It is the language of parables --- a language built on “it is like”. This language allows God to speak of the invisible , unknown things of God’s kingdom by comparing them to the things all men know and understand.

The biggest ‘parable’ God wrote is His creation. It is His picture book that peoples of all nations can ‘read’.
"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse." (Rom.1:20)

Even after men have 'read' what God has written in creation...and they open His Book to read His written word... God still speaks in parables... through stories... saying "it is like..."
"Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
I will open my mouth in a parable."

And when Jesus came He spoke as He heard His Father speak….
"And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying..." (Matt.13:3)
"All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world." (Matt. 13:34,35)

How often Jesus began His teaching with the words..…””It is like this…” explaining the unknown by comparing it to what is known and familiar to man.

A common language between us… did you ever stop to consider how precious that is ? If God ever spoke to us on His level of intelligence ….we would not understand a word He said.

I once wanted to demonstrate to a woman’s group I was speaking to how important it is that God ‘dumbed down’ His divine level of intelligence to be able to communicate with us.

To illustrate my point, I put together an English sentence…
“Scintillate, scintillate, diminutive superlative body, with speculative impetus I vacillate contemplating your definite composition.”

The sentence contains only English words yet the meaning does not easily transfer from speaker to listener, does it. Not one woman could tell me what I had said.

When I told them I had merely said “Twinkle, twinkle little star , how I wonder what you are”, they laughed in disbelief.

I think that it is a wonderful evidence of how much God loves us – that He would make sure that He could communicate His truths to our minds and hearts in such a way that we would understand.

How carefully should we observe His parables… and study them diligently to understand the spiritual Truths they are meant to teach us !!