Wednesday, August 26, 2009

When Your Children Shall Ask

How precious are our children and our grandchildren !!!
And how we treasure the memories we build over the years.

Do you know that it is pleasing to God when we do ?

When the Israelites crossed the Jordon they were commanded to pile up twelve stones for one reason! A memory trigger !
In Joshua 4:21 God's people were told that when in the future their children would pass by these stones and ask "What are these stones?", they were to tell them the stories of how God had brought them through the Jordon.

Piling up rocks wherever we go is rather impractical in our modern times... but we still build memories with our cameras!
Here in this post I am sharing some of my 'memory stones' that I gathered on our trip to the Pacific Rim National Park in Tofino, Vancouver Island. (I'm sorry the following photos are not in sequential order.... but Blogger does not allow me to move them around without you losing the ability to click on them to enlarge them)

Taken shortly after we left Horseshow Bay heading for Nanaimo.

This house was perched on the rocky cliff overlooking the ocean a short beach walk from where we stayed. I stood looking at the house thinking I would like to live there. Today I heard the house is for sale, for a paltry sum of over 8 million dollars.

We so enjoyed exploring the caves and natural rock tunnels on the rocky shore of the beach that lay a few meters from our villa windows.

On the drive to Long Beach we passed beautiful water pools carved out of solid rock. Daring young people were jumping off the rocks into these pools.

Rocky cliffs that could be explored when the tide was out, caves that are filled with water when the tide is in.

Relaxing in our luxurious villa at Pacific Sands Resort. If you ever go to Tofino I highly recommend this family owned resort right on a private beach.

I love the waves coming in and crashing up against the rocks.

How interesting was the chevron pattern the receding waves made in the sand.

A sea gull proudly looking out to sea!

My daughter and son-in-love on an evening stroll, taken from our window.

My granddaughters and I skipping with a sea onion 'rope' ... Well, Ok.. I wasn't skipping, just holding the sea onion end. smile.

Apparently there was some kind of surfing meets or something going on while we were there. There were so many surfers, as the one in the above photo, surfing from early morning until after dark.

We never tired of sounds and movement of the ocean waves. Those are my grandgirls feet.

Lots of colorful starfish , aneomes , barnacles and clams in their shells revealed when the tide was out.

Beautiful in the evening dusk. View from our living room window.

Also from our Villa window but with the sun shining on the waves.

Shadows/reflections in the wet sand .

This is a tree in the Cathedral Grove park. The standing tree is 76 meters tall, 9 meters in circumference and was 300 years old when Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492.

After waiting over 4 hours at Departure Bay in Nanaimo, we finally boarded the new Coastal Renaissance ferry on our way home. The sunset was beautiful.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Thundering Waves

We just came back from spending a few days in Tofino , enjoying Pacific Rim National Park. We had a wonderful time absorbing the beauty of God's creative power.

Our master bedroom , on the second floor, had tall huge windows and a pato that overlooked the ocean view. We slept with the door open and the roaring sound of the waves filled my ears. I love to fall sleep lulled by the rythmic ocean sounds.

The first night I lay awake much of the night ... and I listened and followed my thoughts.

I thought about the waves crashing onto shore for thousands of years. From the time of Adam they have never stopped, wave after wave with endless repetative consistency. Day after countless day the waves have brought the tide in and then taken it back out again.

I thought about the scripture verses that talk about God's Voice being like 'many waters' . In His creation God designed each part to reveal His character. He choose the ocean's waves to picture His voice.

Eze 43:2 "And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory."

Rev 1:15 "His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters"

I thought about what the ocean's waves teach us about God's Voice.

**1. The waves come from afar.... They come from beyond where our eye can see, as does God's Voice. He speaks from heaven , far beyond the realm of our physical reality.

"Him who speaks from heaven " Heb. 12:25

**2. The waves thunder and roar....God's Voice is powerful... no one can 'overtalk' God. But the waves can also be gentle on the shore lapping up over the sand.

Psa 29:4 "The voice of the LORD is powerful; The voice of the LORD is full of majesty."

1Ki 19:12 "and aftera the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice."

**3. The sound of the waters never stops. God says He is the "God who speaks" (Is. 52:6) God's voice can always be heard....His Words continually go out over the earth.

Rom. 10:18 "their sound has gone out to all the earth"

**4. The waves are predictable and consistant... we had a chart book in our cabin that listed the times of the tides .... God has also given us a 'chart book' that tells us His ways. They never change.

"Forever , O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.." Ps. 119:89

Next time, you stand at the ocean shore ... stop and listen, not just to the roar of the waves, but to the Voice of God who spoke them into being.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sin's Sting

My daughter was recently clearing away some blackberry vines bordering their yard. Her rake accidental disturbed a hidden hornets' nest and angered, they swarmed to attack.
She screamed and ran , managing to escape with only six stings.

While she kept saying how thankful she was that she was not stung more times, those bites did cause her a great deal of pain and discomfort. The sting areas became hot and inflamed, the poison going deep and spreading.

A hornet's initial sting is not the problem .... that is quickly over - it is the injected poison that continues working its destructive damage deep into the flesh and can even in extreme cases cause death.

I thought about what a good picture this is of sin.
We don't expect to get 'stung' by it , but if we play close to where sin lurks there is a good chance we will suffer the consequences.

And maybe the initial 'sting' of it doesn't even seem that important. It may be a small 'sin' , something we plan on doing only once. Or something we do in secret that we think no one else will see or know. Maybe we entertain hidden sinful thoughts, or unforgiveness. Maybe its something 'everyone is doing'.

There is a verse that says it so well...
Co 15:56 "The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law."

Death is our enemy - spiritual death - it lurks in hidden places waiting to lure us close to its 'nest'. One little 'sin' or six - is death's sting.... and the poison begins to inflame and work deep into our soul.

And what is its strength? The root of the Greek word translated 'law' is 'to parcel out food'. Is that not how our human nature reacts to a 'law' - letting it feed the temptation to sin ? We do not want to be told what to do --- rather than accept a law or commandment of God as a good thing , we rebel against it, preferring to find our own way... and 'sin' has much to feed on ... giving it strength in our life.

There is a descriptive verse in Gen 4:7 , "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."

If we rebel against the commandments that God has lovingly given us to keep us safe, "sin lies at the door" . Just like the hornets intent on stinging my daughter, sin's desire is also for you. But we can 'rule over it'.

A 'spray can' ruled over the hornets, and soon they lay dead. We too, by the Power of the Holy Spirit can rule over the temptations that come to each of us. We can 'spray' them with God's Word...and choose to live in the safety of scriptures' boundaries.

May we be strong and live in the light of love where the sting of sin cannot reach us..

I John 2:10 "He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. "

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hidden in Full View - A Photo

Don't you love when in a very familiar story, told countless times from countless perspectives until it is familiar to everyone, there suddenly is found a revealing piece of the puzzle that was left unturned by the many who passed by?

That is the story of "It Happened in Italy".

While it is the stuff fiction is made of, it is a true story that changes our understanding of historical events.
It was the author herself, Elizabeth Bettina, who turned up that ignored puzzle piece that lay hidden in full view waiting for someone to give it more than a passing glance.

Elizabeth, an American, with strong family roots in Champagna, Italy, travelled many times, with her grandmother back and forth to visit her grandmother's childhood home where family members still live.

On the visit that changed her life, she was given a book by a distant relative. In it was a photo taken on the steps of a church in Champagna, the very church where her grandparents were married. What made Elizabeth look twice was the fact that in the photo were three men... a police officer, a priest, and a rabbi. Elizabeth's keen mind immediately recognized that she had never seen nor was aware that there there had ever been any rabbis in Champagna during the 40's.

Elizabeth's sharp reporter's mind and her keen curiosity would not let her rest until she had solved the mystery. Her book chronicles her quest and reveals a piece of the holocaust story that restores one's faith in the goodness of man in the face of evil.

Here in Italy, the internment camps were built, not to destroy the Jews but to protect them. Elizabeth's journey is one that leaves you wondering ... how in the world did this story remain hidden until it was almost buried forever with the last survivors of these camps?

This book tells the hitherto untold story of Italy's reaction to Hitler's resolve to exterminate the Jews. One particular poignant account tells of an 'Italian Schindler' who saved many Jews from being exterminated but he paid with his own life at Dachau. He himself died the death he saved others from. It so spoke to me of the sacrifice Jesus made for us.

While I was disappointed in the literary level of the book, I know if you have any interest at all in WWII and the plot against the Jews, this book will surely interest you in showing you a side of the story you have never heard.


Friday, August 7, 2009

My Cherished Scar

I have a scar on the little finger of my left hand.

Last winter I, with my neighbour friend, was walking home from the clubhouse. The weather had turned and it was blustery cold. We parted at our driveways to hurry inside our respective homes across the street from each other.

I have RA and my ankles don't always work right. In my hurry I stumbled and fell flat out on my driveway. My first thought was concern for my immediately bruised ego and I lay still hoping my friend would not notice. Our parked car was shielding me from her view. But a few seconds later I heard her concerned voice above me asking, "Are you OK?"

I was , except for scrapes and bruises - and my little finger. Somehow a fairly big chunk was taken out of it! I wondered for quite some time how I had managed that, but then one day when my ring was turned toward my little finger I realized that the chunk taken out followed the line of my diamond. I realized that when I fell my ring had cut into my little finger.

I expected it to heal just fine and was a little disappointed when I saw that I would be left with a permanent scar.

I did not ever guess that I would come to cherish that scar!

A few months later, I discovered one morning that the main Marquis diamond had fallen out of my engagement ring.

I immediately panicked.

The last thing I had done was the dishes, rinsing before loading them into the dishwasher and I had also used the garburator. I immediately enlisted the help of my husband and we searched EVERYWHERE, even taking apart the kitchen plumbing. To our disappointment it was all to no avail.

I had worn my ring since the day Vic gave it to me 44 years before. My rings, of even greater sentimental value than monetary , have always to me represented our love and marriage.

Now my diamond was gone.

Thankfully, our house insurance people were wonderful and covered a good portion of the cost of replacing the diamond. As pleased and grateful I am to have my rings restored, the beautiful diamond I now look at is not the original.

Except........ for the scar it left! That scar has become precious to me. It is like a photo that preserves a memory.

I was looking at my scar the other day and as I felt the warm rush of emotion for what the scar represented, I wondered... Jesus' scars must be precious to Him too.

The scars in His hand represent the price He paid to win the salvation of the ones He loved.

That the scars are cherished and important to Him is proved by the fact that the scars remained even on His resurrected body. Those scars are the proof that the price is paid, the bride is forever His!!

Not only are the scars precious to Him but also serve as an undeniable sign to those who question who He is !!

Thomas doubted ..... until Jesus showed him His scars.

Do you ever doubt Jesus' love ?? Do you ever wonder if it is Jesus who speaks to you ? Look at the scars in His side and His hands and rejoice that it is indeed Him !

Joh 20:19,20" Jesus came and stood in the midst of them and said to them,'Peace be with you' . When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord."