Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Perfect House

Chocolate in the dishwasher?

My daughter and son-in-law are wanting to move and are looking for the perfect house! They found it . The real estate photos supported the verbal description.

The house was on a quiet street... it had been redone according to executive home standards... lots of wood trim, moldings, new kitchen cupboards, heated tile and wood floors... a indoor pool (with wave pool option) surrounded by glass .... a spa... an exercise room, a hot tub, ensuite jacuzzi tub, a mini Butchart's garden back yard, fenced lot backing onto a two acre park ... on and on the list of extras went.

And the price ? amazingly affordable.

Hopeful but with a hint of suspicion clouding their expectations, my kids drove out to see the place.

Ohh yes... it was all that the ad had proclaimed it to be !

But... the problem ? Location.... It was in a rundown neighbourhood with uncared for homes ... broken furniture and junk littered the adjoining yards. The two acre 'park' had two public accesses making it a perfect hang out for teens wanting to party.

My kids said .. "If only we could pick the whole place up and move it to a more desirable location!" The house was perfect but no one wanted it because its value was ruined by what touched it on either side. The fact that the house and property was beautiful with great value in itself did not improve or change the fact that the neighbourhood was undesirable.

I was reminded of a passage in Haggai 2:12-14.

In this passage Haggai is instructing the priests regarding the holy and the unholy.

He poses the question ... "If someone is carrying something holy and it inadvertently brushes against something unholy ... will the holy make what it touches holy?"

The answer is no, something unclean cannot be made holy by touching something holy.

Haggai then asks the question the other way ... "If someone is unclean and he touches something that is holy will the holy thing be then unclean?" and the answer is yes... it will be unclean.

I thought about how the buzz word today in real estate is "location, location, location!"

This can also be applied in a spiritual sense. A Christian in the wrong 'location' can ruin his reputation and testimony. Caught in a compromising or sinful situation will draw attention to the Christian but those watching will not be made 'holy'.

I Peter 4:14,15 speaks of the 'location' of suffering believers. If we suffer the consequences of our sin, because we were caught as a "murderer, a thief, evildoer, or busybody" , we are not in a 'location' where we will bring glory to God.

But.. if we suffer because of our faith and Christ-like words and actions ...then we will shine in our 'location' and bring glory to God.

Have you thought of your 'Kingdom market value' ... in terms of your location ?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Have You Misplaced Your Awe?

Let all the earth fear the LORD;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.
Psa 33:8,9

We stand and watch the power of the ocean waves.... the glories of a sunset sky.... the wonders of mountain grandeur..... the intricate details of a flower, the tiny perfection of a hummingbird and our hearts are lifted up in awe to the Creator who designed and fashioned it all !
We think of His omnipresence, His omnipotence, His omniscience.... and are moved with the powerful emotion of awe.

If we were to define what triggers our feelings of awe would we not list....

Something much bigger than we can comprehend....
Something overwhelming to our senses ....
Something that makes us feel very small and insignificant .....
Something that is far outside the realm of our control....

God is all of the above and more , is He not ... so to feel awe toward God is a natural and proper response, one that is easily stirred within us.
When our awe is rightly placed in God and we see Him for Who He is ... the resulting emotions are peace, comfort, quietness of mind, trust, and love.

But ......

What if our 'awe' gets misplaced ? What happens then ?
What if circumstances overwhelm us? Financial circumstances, sudden loss of health, death of a loved one.

I am facing surgery and am aware how easily the surgeon's knife could slip, damaging a vital vessel or cord and change my life in important ways. I am in awe of how many details keep my body intact for it to continue to function in perfect working order.

We see the stability of our world crumble around us in frightening events - war, earthquake , destruction, financial recessions, stock market crashes, famine, drought, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.

How easily we are moved with awe at how little control we have over the events that shape our lives - both personally and globally. How easily our awe is moved or misplaced.

When our awe is misplaced - when we fixate on some overwhelming circumstance, event or experience, or to man/nation/people holding earthly power or position , the resulting emotions are ones of fear, worry, anxiety, anger, insecurity, vulnerability.

I have heard it said... "The one who fears God , fears nothing else" Perhaps this is a paraphrase of Psalm 118:6 "The Lord is on my side, What can man do to me?"

Could we not also say, "The one whose awe is firmly fixed on God, will never misplace it" ? Then we will not be overcome by awe of man or circumstance. Our hearts will not fail for what we see around us in a crumbling, frightening world. We will walk in faith and hope and trust knowing that we are forever safe in the hand of our Almighty God.

Where is your awe? Is it in God ? or is it misplaced ......

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Natural and Supernatural

I have a story to tell about my granddaughter and would have loved to post a photo of her but she was shy about it .... so I'll just tell the story.
She recently came home from a week long school field trip in Quebec with her French Immersion classmates.
I, of course prayed for her safety but I also prayed that she would in some way have an encounter with God.

She did.

In Quebec City there is a tubing hill that, according to my granddaughter makes Whistler or Manning hills look tame. The one in Quebec City is almost vertical steep, sheer ice and very fast! But apparently, very fun with many runs.

Coming down one run, my granddaughter came to a stop and stood up in her tube talking to some friends who had also just come down. She wasn't concerned about getting out of the way because she was sure there was no one behind her.

She had her back to the hill, her friends facing the hill.
Suddenly their expressions changed and they cried out her name in alarm.

My granddaughter had just enough time to turn her head to see two tire tubes careening at full speed toward her before they both hit her tube. The impact sent their tubes in opposite directions and tossed my granddaughter into the air with no where to come down but on the ice.

She landed ... not on the ice .... but cushioned in an empty tire tube.. Not hurt at all !

Her friends immediately all came running to her - not to exclaim about the chances of her landing in an empty tire tube -- that would have been miracle enough.

No .. they all exclaimed, "WHERE did that tire tube come from ??? There WAS NO TIRE TUBE THERE!"
They are still talking about it, baffled about how a tire tube could appear out of no where.

Of course... I know where it came from ... and so does my granddaughter.

A miracle ! We love them don't we ? When God's supernatural breaks into our 'natural' ?
And yet, recently I have been thinking how wrong we have it .
We have defined 'natural' as something science can explain ... and supernatural something they can't.
Yet in the truest sense, EVERYTHING is supernatural .. everything we see was created by God who spoke it into existence with His word. The very laws we call 'natural' were supernaturally designed/decreed by Him.

So how difficult it it for Him to do what we call a 'miracle' ?

He invites His children to ask in His name ... and He will do it ... Why do we not ask more ? And why are we surprised when our prayers are answered ?
Delight... awe... praise ....honor.... are all appropriate responses to our great God ...
but 'doubt' is not.
May the words in Ephesians 3:20 lift our hearts in joy, and turn our faces to the Lord who is not only a great and awesome God .. but also our loving Father who desires to give good things to His children.

Eph 3:20 "Now to him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,,, to Him be glory !!!!!"