Sunday, December 20, 2015

Are you Prepared?

Wishing you and your loved ones a very blessed Christmas season – 
filled with the love, joy and peace that Jesus came to bring ! 

At this time of year, we are repeatedly  asked the same  question....
 "Are you prepared? Are you ready ?"   
We began weeks ago - planning, making lists, shopping, baking, cleaning - 
all in preparation for the holiday season. 

I think back to the first 'preparation' for Christmas ... 
when John the Baptist cried out that the time Isaiah had spoken about had come -
 the time to prepare was NOW. 
 "For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: "THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS: 'PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD; MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT.' " 
Matthew 3:3 
Is this command, "Prepare the way of the Lord", still for us today? 

How do we 'prepare' for the Lord? 
 In our preparations to celebrate His coming, do we make straight paths for Him, 
or does He have to meander around our plans and step over our 'stuff' ?
 Are we only concerned with nostalgically remembering an event that happened a long time ago?
Or do we consider how we might focus on preparing our hearts for Him today?

Do we use this time of 'preparation' to remind ourselves that He is coming back? 
He is coming again!  
We are called to prepare so that we will be ready! 
 "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."
Are we prepared for Him to return?  Are we abiding in Him and He is us. 
Are we obedient to His every word...  our hearts full of love for Him and for others? 
Are we eagerly watching for Him to appear?

We all look forward to Christmas dinner .. a feast with all the trimmings! 
but Jesus Himself is preparing a feast for us when He comes back ...  
a banquet of heavenly proportions! 
The invitations have gone out - 
 "Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready."
 Rev. 19:7
will you be ready? All preparations completed?   

Friday, December 11, 2015

A Sermon - the Hive and the Death's-Head Hawk-Moth

BULGARIA - CIRCA 1975 Hawkmoth — Stock Photo

I have always been fascinated by honey bees - they have such an intricately designed order of life, - their brain soft-ware so complex only God could have created it.
I learned something interesting from a recently watched documentary about honey bees.
An interesting aspect of the bee's life immediately pictured for me a spiritual object lesson.

A bee hive is the center of the bees' life and their life-time workplace - every bee has their own specific job and they know how to do it well. There is the queen who simply lays around laying eggs (pun intended) , the worker bees, who, of course, do all the work ...  building the hive, creating the honeycombs, feeding the larvae, keeping the hive temperature just right, finding the nector sources, bringing endless loads back to the hive and communicating to the other bees where to find the best flowers...etc. etc. They work long 12 hour days - "no rest for the weary" is certainly true for the worker bees who wear themselves out in about a month. Some of the worker bees stand guard at the entrance of the hive, their weapons drawn. They are quick to sting to death anyone approaching the hive who does not have the right 'pass', the distinctive scent of their hive.

While the bees have several predators, there is one I wish to focus on here - the Death's-Head Hawk-Moth, aptly named because of the skull mask on its back. This moth has a weakness for honey and the  sweet hive-scent wafting through the air entices him to follow it to the source. Finding the hive is the easy part - the hard part is to gain entrance to the honey store without forfeiting his life in the process.  Not only does he have to get past those armed guards, but the thousands of workers bees inside the hive would also not think twice to quickly spear to death an unwelcome intruder. But this moth has a fool-proof  bag of tricks.

 First  - there is a distinctive sound made only by a queen bee - and no worker bee will ever argue with a queen bee, she truly is Queen - so this moth learns how to mimic the voice of the queen and the guard bees ignore him as he slips past them into the hive.
Second -  he secretes a scent that mimics the scent of the bee colony he wishes to rob, and this 'fake' scent effectively covers his own smell that would alert the bees to danger. He deceives the worker bees into thinking he is one of their own as he enters the hive, ready to gorge himself, sucking the delicious honey out of the honey comb cells.
Third -  there is one more thing he must do. Even having squeezed past the guards, even having the right 'scent' to fool the worker bees inside the hive, one more thing could draw unwelcome attention to him - his body is far too large to pass as a worker bee. But, no problem, he dresses in perfect camouflage that blends him into the colours of the hive, making him virtually invisible.
And so he slips in without encountering any resistance and enjoys his gourmet meal in peace. The worker bees notice the honey is disappearing, and it stresses them, but they do not identify the thief in their midst.  However, safe as he may be - it is only for a time; he cannot afford to linger over his stolen nectar. His 'fake' scent will quickly wear off  and he must escape before his scent-clock 'strikes midnight'.  If he does not time his escape correctly, his cover will be blown, and he will be executed without a trial.

I'm sure you already see the spiritual parallel of this Death's-Head Hawk Moth.  He is just like Satan, our spiritual enemy who wishes to 'rob' us of the sweet blessings we enjoy in our relationship with the Lord.   Sometimes we just get so busy with the things we have to do that we are distracted enough to be deceived by Satan and  are 'ignorant of his devices'. -- II Co_2:11
 Satan comes in camouflage - transforming himself to appear as 'an angel of light'. He does not come announcing that his intent is to confuse and rob us of blessings.  - II Cor. 11:14 
He speaks with an enticing voice that soothes us into believing he intends no harm.against us. - John 8:4
Though we see the damage happening - our joy is 'sucked' away, our love is being 'eaten' by fear,  our peace 'consumed' by anxiety -  yet, we do not recognize the enemy in our midst.
How foolish we are to let down our guard ...  but we have help in guarding our 'heart-hive'. If we stay abiding in the Lord, He will protect us from all that would come to harm us.
Remember the limited-time the Death's-Head Hawk Moth has to do his damage? So also Satan - even if we stumble and give him a foothold in our life, we can open our eyes of discernment and blow his cover with the word and power of the Spirit within us. He must then flee for his life! - James 4:7
Just as the Death's-Head Hawk-Moth bears the mark of death on his back, so also Satan bears the mark of death on him, of God's condemnation and the eternal lake of fire. - Romans 16:20,
 Rev. 20:10

 "But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one." 
2Thessalonians 3:3

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Megillah of Esther -- my latest book

     Esther is one of the most loved Bible characters in one of the most interesting historical settings. It is a book that has stirred controversy on several levels; why is it in the bible, is it based on actual history, is it to be taken simply as a story where God works behind the scenes  .... or ....   were the Jewish scholars right in believing that the story of Esther contains a mystery they have for  thousands of years tried to solve without success.
     I love a mystery and I wondered what could be hidden in the book of Esther, below the story line. One day, several years ago, I was praying and asking for insight that I might understand the book of Esther.  I began to see that if Esther's story was interpreted as a parable it revealed a picture of our spiritual inner life.
     I have taught the lessons of this study in small groups but my husband insisted I needed to put it together in a book.  I hesitated and put it off, until this summer it just seemed to be the right time and the words flowed from my fingers onto the keyboard of my computer.
     The book has been published and is available online (Amazon, Christian Books, Barnes and Noble) or from your Christian book store or you can order it from me.

     From the back of the book --  "The biblical tale of Esther is an oft-told and beloved story, but hidden in the story is a mystery! Esther is more than a historical account - it is a beautiful parable.
    The characters and events in the story act out for us a revelation of who we are in our inner selves - the part of us that the mirror on the wall does not reflect. The mystery is solved as the character, on the parable stage, present a unique revelation of how we work and rule over our 'kingdom' - our soul and spirit residing within a physical body. We also see the intimate reflection of the heart of God as He loves, woos, and works in us to draw us to Himself."


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Without the Glory

Recently we drove the Hope-Princeton highway on our way to visit my brother and his wife. 
The aspen trees are all in their spectacular golden glory at this time of year. 

 It was a beautiful blue-sky day and the sun delighted in kissing each leaf until it shone like polished gold.
I love color with all its shades of glory.  How deprived our world would be without the glory, leaving us only shades of grey.

We too rarely stop to think that color is not in the object ... it is in the light.  We need little proof to be convinced.  Turn off the light in a  room full of color and all that is left is grey shadow. Go for a walk at night and try to find evidence of color.  To turn a color photo into a black and white photo all that is needed is to remove the effect of light.
When you go to the paint store to buy paint, there is no color in your can of paint - the mixture merely contains the pigment formulated to absorb a specific color ray of light IF light is shone upon it.
Without going into the complete science of it ...
pure blue pigments absorb yellow light, pure yellow pigments absorb blue light,
pure green pigments absorb magenta light, pure magenta pigments absorb green light,
pure red pigments absorb cyan light and pure cyan pigments absorb red light.
Bottom line -- without light there is no color for any physical object to absorb or project.

 I  find the spiritual implications of this so profound.
God says He is light !  Without Him there is no color, there is no glory.
Isn't it amazing the many intricate ways God has revealed Himself in nature?  
God states clearly that all glory is His - Isaiah 48:11 records His words that He "will not give His glory to another!"  And so nature itself recognizes the Source of all Glory  - Light.
 In John 8:12, Jesus says ..."I am the Light of the world." and I John 1:5 leaves no doubt in repeating, "God is Light and in  Him is no darkness at all !"

Darkness - Why is there an inherent fear of the dark born into every soul?  Because we are created in the image of God, do we desire the Light knowing it is where we belong?
Have you ever wondered why sinful and wicked deeds seek the 'dark' ? Is it because they believe that there they can hide from God?
Shudder at the judgment coming to those who reject God and choose wickedness .."for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever."  It is one thing to think about a world without color, but it is another to imagine the 'blackness of darkness forever'.  Fear lurks and rules and terrifies where there is no light.   Why? because God is not in the darkness - the one in the dark is alone.
Fear is the absence of love,
darkness is the absence of God ...
'shades of grey' is the absence of Glory...

How amazing that God reveals His glory in holding the spectacular paint brush of light so that we can understand what God means when He says He will share His glory with no other.  There is no glory but the Glory of the One True God made visible on the 'things' He shines upon.
And we, humble man, were created for His glory, to absorb and reflect His glory in us and through us.
Do we have the right 'pigment' to absorb His glory, revealing it to those who pass our way?

Friday, October 9, 2015

Want a God-Encounter? Call Revenue Canada!

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 and Shimini Atzerat

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

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Story of Heart Longing

Adventures of Heart Longing

In the early eighties, I led a girl's club in my home church, and not being able to find the material I needed, I wrote my own. If you want to read more of the background story you can find it in one of my early posts.

Heart Longing and the Treasure Keys

My first book, Adventures of Heart Longing, was in print for a decade and then the publishers changed their venue and dropped all children's books, so my book went out of print.  It was continued to be used in several Christian schools as a resource and therefore was not forgotten.

Over the years, I received several e-mails asking if I could not republish the book, but one e-mail from a teacher last year spurned me to do some research and three days later, I signed a contract with WestBow publishers.   The book, Adventures of Heart Longing, came out early this year. It is written in story form, allegorically picturing the fruit of the Spirit as we find it listed in Galatians 5:22,23.

The second year of my girl's club, I wrote material in the same vein as the first book but this time on the treasure of the kingdom, as Jesus speaks about it in Matthew 6:19-21.  This book was never published, but I pulled out my notes earlier this year and rewrote it.  Heart Longing and the Treasure Keys,  has just been released and is available on-line, or you can order it from me, although, I do not yet have any books - online is much faster than snail mail! If you live in the Fraser Valley, I could deliver, or you could order it from a local bookstore.

The books, written as a story, have study guides included. I like to think that, while the books are targeted for children, that there is something there for all ages, making them the kind of books that are good in a family or class setting, generating interest and discussion.

One teacher sent me a folder of the pictures her kids had drawn after reading the book and my favorite one was from a young boy who said, "This book makes me want to know God."   His words touched my heart because, that above all else was my motivation in writing the books and is still my heart prayer -  that my readers would be drawn to the Lord - to know Him!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Down Memory Lane on our 50th Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday was our 50th Wedding Anniversary - a milestone that was difficult, if not impossible,
 to imagine 50 years ago . 
The photo in the wood frame was taken earlier this year in February when we went to Hawaii  to attend the wedding of my late close friend's granddaughter. 
The wedding photographer took the photo.

Below is our wedding photo,  
My wedding dress was the first of many, many wedding dresses I have sewn.  

We felt we had already celebrated our wedding , not only in Hawaii, but also last week-end when my brother and sister-in-law invited us to come to visit them up country where they are building a new home.  We took our parents with us so we could all celebrate together - our three anniversaries are all within the same week in August - Mom and Dad  celebrated their 70th anniversary, we our 50th and my brother and his wife their 44th.  
So yesterday was a special day just for the two of us, very low-key.  We took our youngest granddaughter out for lunch and then Vic and I went for a drive down memory lane.  So much has changed in the last 50 years, but we still found some things that stirred our emotions and turned our conversation to reminiscing sweet memories.

The photo above is still very much as it was 50 years ago because the road was closed many years ago and was just opened recently because they are working on clearing property. The road was not open to through traffic but we thought we would risk it !  
The road is not far from where I grew up and was a favorite destination to go for a walk  with my girl friend who lived just down an adjacent street. 
It was on this country lane, that Vic, in our early dating time, would come driving down to look for me, hoping I would be there. Often, I would be there on Sunday afternoons, and we have sweet memories here. 

This bridge, not far from our dating road, is the bridge where Vic stopped on a spring day when we were out on a date, and we went to stand on the bridge looking down at the creek below and then he pulled a ring box out of his pocket and proposed. 
 I am still wearing my original rings, and still love them. 

Shortly after our engagement, we began to plan our wedding and we knew we wanted an accomplished pianist, George Unger, to play for our wedding.  I chose "My Sheep May Safely Graze" by Bach, for our wedding march, and Vic agreed, so we went to ask Mr. Unger,  if he would play for our wedding. We drove on the yard and he came out, leaned on the car to talk to us.  When I mentioned the wedding march I wanted, he said, 'oh yes, he knew it.'  
He and his wife still live in that same house, that my dad built, 

The shop where we bought our wedding flowers is still there... same shop, same place.  Vic wanted my bridal bouquet to be extra special and they quoted him $25.00 and he asked if they could do one for more and they said they didn't know how to make one worth more than that. I thought it was an awful lot to spend for a bouquet.  (smile)  I think all the wedding flowers total was around $80.00. 

Above, an old photo of the church we got married in, (also my dad helped build)  which has been replaced with a new building.  We met because we both attended here.  We grew up with that building being a very big part of our life, everyone knew everyone and so many services, youth meetings, Sunday School, weddings, funerals, celebrations, etc... made this building a busy place where we built memories. 

The above sad looking building was our first home as a married couple.  It looked much better 50 years ago but it IS still there.  It had a full basement and had three bedrooms. 
Because we were looking for memories ...  I took some other photos that are still recognizable from more than 60 years ago.  

The above house was not that far from where I grew up ...  it was known as "Evan's House"  because it was the biggest, grandest mansion I knew of. I used to dream of what it looked like inside.  And the large yard around it was always meticulously manicured.  But what was especially memorable was that every Christmas they decorated the house and the yard with lights, making it spectacular enough to attract crowds from far away.  Finally, they stopped doing it because there was just no way to control the traffic , and keep cars from driving onto their lawns. 

Until earlier this year my childhood home, that my dad built when I was eight, was still standing - but now there is a huge estate home standing in its place.  But the red barn, that dad built, is still there! How many memories I have in that barn. Feeding the animals, playing in the loft, jumping from the loft to the haystack below with visiting cousins and friends -- and hours and hours of taming and playing with kittens. 

The above house is another memory high for me.  When I was six a little friend at school was having a birthday party, and she invited me to come.  It was my first birthday party experience and I felt like it was the most special thing!  I thought the house was huge, and very beautiful with an upstairs and indoor bathroom. 
Ironically, almost 40 years later my aunt and uncle bought the property and asked Vic to do some work in the house to upgrade it for their kids. The house was original - nothing had been done to it since I had been there so many years ago.  And to my shock the house was very tiny. Its all about  perspective.  But what an experience to be able to go back to something I remembered with childish eyes , and then was able to look at it with adult eyes. 

The above building is where I started school - my first year.   I remember so much of that one roomed school room that had a wood stove to heat it - my teacher Mrs.Wakefield had to come early to start the fire so it would be warm for us.  I remember one day she was late for some reason and the classroom was soooo cold we had to keep our coats on for a couple of hours. I remember where everything was - the coat nails along the far side wall , the wood stove in front of them, the blackboard at the front, to the right of the front door, the desks , the reading area and the play area in the back.  And the very scary water closets in the creepy dark basement. 

I had to take a photo of this area ..... it is just behind me from where I'm standing when I took the photo of the school.  The road is just barely visible there but it was the clump of bushes that are there that hold a deep memory for me.  Our teacher told us we were not allowed to play there because it was too close to the road.  But the bush that grew right there 62 years ago grew in such a way that it made the neatest 'cave' space that lent itself perfectly for the best imaginary games.  I was always very obedient to what I was told... and so I did not go play there.  The other kids did and kept telling me to come play there too, but I wouldn't.  Until, they wore me down, and I rationalized that the teacher never said anything to them playing there after she said not too.  Then the very day I decided that maybe she hadn't meant it after all, and  went to play there .. she came out and we all got into trouble and had to stay after school.. My little heart broke., it was a defining moment in my life that I never forgot. 

I love what God told the Israelites - that they were to build memory stones or put up markers so that they could go down memory lane with their children and grandchildren -  so they would not forget what God had done for them. 
 May we never get so busy that we don't have time to pass on to our children and grandchildren the things that have built their history and ancestry, the family foundations on which they themselves are built and tell them  how God has led and guided. Hindsight gives a much wider lens view of how life is and it holds the wisdom we can share to help our children be the best that they can be! 

"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; 
I muse on the work of Your hands."
Psalm 143:5

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Who Has Believed Our Report?

     One day when we were visiting my husband's brother and his family. My sister-in-law  and I were in the kitchen, when their young son came came home from riding his bike with his friends. He  burst into the kitchen, all excited to tell us about the wonderful falls he had found,  With childish animation , he described the awesome, unbelievable height of the falls and their beauty.  My sister-in-law and I exchanged amused glances, reading each other's mind  about the tendency of children to exaggerate.

     She asked her son where he had found these falls.  "Oh," he answered, " we were just exploring in the bush and suddenly there they were !  They are huge.. you really have to come see them!"

     Yes, right... go bush whacking through some forest, to find a puddle ? We didn't think so.

     "How high are these falls," asked my sister-in-law. "About so high?" she held her hand a foot or two from the floor. 
     "Oh, no... "protested her son. "they are high, way higher than the ceiling, even higher than the house!"  We smiled, indulging him his fantasy.

      That was not the only time our nephew tried to convince us to come see these magnificent falls...and over the years, he never changed his story, but we never believed his report.
No matter how much he begged us to come see, we never did - it seemed too incredulous to be true.  

     Then, years later, we heard about these magnificent falls.  A rough gravel excuse for a road had been opened to give people access to the falls.  So one day we braved the road and then followed a  narrow trail into the forest.  Soon we could hear the sound of water which grew louder and louder until we came upon the most awesome view... the Cascade Falls.  
      Our nephew had been telling the truth after all.

      Today, the access road is paved, there is a parking area at the trail head, a picnic area, a new hanging bridge over the deep gorge,  and a well-kept trail with safety fences and stairs up the steeper parts of the trail.  The wild natural beauty of the area has been preserved, the visual  impact of suddenly coming into view of the falls has not been diminished.  Yet, even today many people  have never seen them, even though they live within a distance of a few miles. 

     We were there recently with our family and I told the story of our nephew to my granddaughters.  As I told the story, the words..."Who has believed our report?"  came to me from Isaiah 53:1.
     We did not believe our nephew's report, because it just seemed too unbelievable.  But how many people do not believe God's report for the same reason?  
     God has told us of many incredulous things in His Word, yet, do we believe them, every one?
If God says it is true, what reason do we have not to believe His report?  

     Today, just as Cascade Falls is now a park and is talked about by more and more people who have been there and seen them, so also scientific evidence  is more and more compelling in proving God's report to be true. 
     People who have experienced the supernatural are talking about the amazing things that are happening in their lives. Their testimonies, supporting the truth of God's report - are told in books, and through the many ways we have today to communicate, thanks to modern technology. 
     And .. still... even today, God asks... "Who has believed My report?" 
Do you ?  Do you believe God's report ?  If you do, are you telling others? 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Junk Drawers and Front Yards

Not long ago my husband and I went for a Sunday afternoon drive and I enjoyed gazing at the passing homes and envisioning the people who lived there.
There was a great contrast in homes ... from the ghastly to the sublime - and yes, believe it or not, someone was living in the 'home' on the right.

I suspect that most of you, like me, have a junk drawer or closet that is on your 'to-re-organize' list. Conveniently, these closets and cupboards have doors and drawer faces that present an impressive facade to our guests and hide the chaos within.

How we keep the outside of our home and our front yard is not so easy to hide - it is there in plain view for all who pass by to see and pass judgement.

I was wondering .....

Do we also have 'junk drawers' and 'closets' in our heart that we intend to one day re-organize and clean but we put it off for a more convenient day ?  
To those we invite into our life -  our guests, as it were,  it is easy to hide what we don't wish them to see and present to them only what we choose for them to know about us.

But .....
Did you ever consider that when God walks past the hearts of men, there is no hiding what is in our hearts?  Our hearts are laid bare and displayed in every detail in our 'front yard'. He sees right through the facades we have created to hide our 'stuff' from view.    

 David understood that nothing could be hidden from God  and he cries out ...  
 "O God, You know my foolishness; And my sins are not hidden from You". Ps. 69:5

 Haggar, Sarah's Egyptian slave, fled into the wilderness away from Sarah who had punished her.  When God spoke to her, she responded with surprise that God knew about her and saw her and saw her heart thoughts  ..."Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are- the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, "Have I also here seen Him who sees me?"  Gen. 16;13
To Haggar God became ..... "The-God-Who-Sees". 

If every thought, every deed, every action, every re-action,  every word was laid out in full view for all to see in the front yard of your heart .. what would it  look like ?   Would it be like the house on the left, everything in order and carefully tended? -  - OR - would it look embarrassingly like the house  on the right ?
Would you be ashamed to see God come walking down Heart Street toward your heart home?  Would you wish you had worked harder at getting your front yard cleaned up and beautified?

We have been given a sharp  gardening tool to 'landscape' our heart garden and remove from it the weeds and allow the 'good and pure' to grow and flourish. That tool is the word of God!
  Heb_4:12  For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 

We also have a Gardener waiting and willing to help us ...
Do you need to give Him a call?
Dial ... HEAVEN 911, He is always available.

Monday, April 13, 2015

God's Supernatural Care

We recently spent a week in Maui and saw things that were so new to our 'untraveled' eyes.
 I was reminded again and again how creative our God is and varied and how incredibly beautiful His earth is.
We gazed at this lovely rainbow from our lanai (balcony) for about an hour. To me a rainbow is always an emotional reminder to me of God reaching into our physical realm  to show the reality of His invisible realm - how true His promises to us are.

This morning, I had an insight that answered a niggling question I have had in the back of my mind for years.
I wrote a post about an experience I had in July of 1998. You can find it here  

While I have always believed in my heart that Dr. Koo was an angel, I have always entertained the question I had about why she was there for ME.   The experience of course was enough ...  but I still felt that there must have been a reason other than just giving me a 'special' experience.

This morning as we were having breakfast, I suddenly felt I had just been given the insight I had sought.

Over the years, I have continued to have those painful pericarditus attacks.  I no longer rush to the hospital emergency...  I just take my Toridol medication and ride out the attack.
Recently, I had a very severe attack that lasted hours longer than the attack normally lasts .  I had already taken my daily dose of my regular anti-inflammatory meds and my rheumatologist has warned me not to take two different anti-inflammatories in one day.
So when I recognized the attack coming, I took my regular anti-inflammatory, but it did nothing to lesson the pain.

I know that my rheumatologist is somewhat hesitant to continue prescribing the Toridol for my attacks, but she trusts me not to abuse it and has always graciously continued to prescribe it.
Actually, there have been times I myself wondered if it was psychological on my part that I just believed that only the Toridol was able to control the pericarditus attacks.
I have no scientific reason for why only the Toridol anti-inflammatory med. is able to offer me relief... and it seems that medical science does not know the reason either, and therefore would never have thought to prescribe it for me/  Except for God supernaturally sending me that 'doctor angel'  I may never have known about Toridol and I shudder to think of the suffering I would have had to endure over the years ... Many emergency trips to the hospital and administered morphine.

But after that  recent last experience when I was not able to take the Toridol, I know for a fact that other anti-inflammaties do not offer any relief for my pericarditus attacks.

Does God provide all that we need ??  YES, indeed .. and if He needs to reach down supernaturally into our physical realm then He will do so !  
How great is our God ??

I read something last week  that resonated with me ...
"First God sends the solution, then He sends the problem."    
Need we ever fear ??  no ...  as Jesus said to Peter .. "Fear not, is it I!"  If Jesus is with us, we are 'covered'!

God knows every detail of our lives and all that we could ever need ... and He will provide it "out of His great riches in glory!"  How supernatural is that ??

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Knitting a Lesson

My mother taught me to knit when I was 5 years old.  At first I just moved the stitches from one needle to the other, the only 'growth' happening when my mother 'borrowed' my work for a time. I remember well how I enjoyed the hours I sat in my little chair 'knitting' and proudly showed my Dad what I could do when he came home from work. 

It has been a life long hobby for me. 

Last summer , I picked up some yarn in a specialty wool shop on a vacation day with girl friends. 
Because I was not willing  to hold the group up, I took only a few minutes to peruse this shop wishing I could stay for hours.   There was one yarn, however, that I simply could not pass by - a variegated yarn in my favourite colours,  a blend of wool and silk from Italy, hand painted in Chile - how special is that?
I grabbed a couple of skeins and quickly paid for them, thinking that would at least be enough for a scarf.  
But now, what pattern?  What width?  I soon realized I had only enough for a narrow scarf and I searched for a stitch pattern that would compliment  rather than compete with the variegated yarn.  

As I tried one pattern after another, after unraveling my work several times because it wasn't quite right, I finally settled on one that pleased me. As I worked my scarf, .my thoughts were inspired to recognize the many analogies my project pictured.

Let me share them with you.

1. I loved the yarn too much to 'pass it by'
Isn't that how God is pictured in scripture?   Each one of us is too special in His eyes to 'pass us by' and He picks us up where He finds us.

2. I willingly paid the price. The yarn I bought was a little on the pricey side but I happily paid the price - it was worth it!
Hasn't God also, because we were so special to Him, paid the highest price possible - the death of His Son? He declares that we too were worth it to Him ...

3. I needed a special stitch to suit the yarn.   Aren't each of us 'wonderfully knit together in our mother's womb' - each with our own DNA?

4. Finding a suitable  pattern - For each of us, God looks for the perfect 'pattern' - or life circumstances -  that will complement our talents, natural abilities, interests, circumstances, personality ... so that that when we are completed we will be satisfied and He will be pleased and glorified.

5. Errors and mistakes are so easily 'unraveled' ...  I am also a seamstress and when I make a mistake in my garment I have to be pretty creative to cover it up, but I always know where it is and I can point out where it is, even if no one else would notice it. When I am knitting, and I make a mistake I can unravel my work to below the mistake and pick up the stitches again and continue knitting - no one, not even I could ever point to where the mistake is - it is as if it never was.  That is how God forgives - it is as if it never was.

6. Stitch by stitch, row by row -- only the knitter knows what the end result will look like. Watching someone knit the question is invariably asked "what are you knitting?"    Do we not often wonder the same about God's plan for our life ? "What are you making, God? I don't see what I will be."

7. Often in a knitted garment the wrong side does not show the beauty of the design the knitter is creating.  It doesn't look pretty at all sometimes, especially if the design is worked with multiply yarns.   So often the 'wrong' side of our life- this earthly side - does not show the glory of what God worked in and through us until it is revealed in eternity.

8. To a knitter its all about the knitting  Someone so truly said..."My husband and kids think the purpose of knitting is the garment, but they don't know the purpose of knitting is the knitting."  I often think of God looking at us with a 'knitter's heart'.   Its all about what He wants to do for us, delighting in daily 'loading us with benefits', blessing us ... just enjoying being with us and in us... communing and fellowshipping with us.

9.  When I bought the yarn to make a scarf, it was summer !  Not the season I could wear a wool/silk scarf over a sweater, but I worked on it anyway so I would have it put away ready to wear when the winter came.  So often God also works in our lives 'out of season' and we think everything is going wrong.  On the contrary,  often it is God working into our life today what we will need tomorrow, preparing us to be ready for some purpose or task that He will ask us to do in the future.

10. I did not have enough yarn to make my scarf as long nor as wide as I would need the scarf to be to be able to wear it in any style of current fashion, so I needed to be creative.   I had a little yarn left and out of it I fashioned a cabbage rose that I fastened to a band wrapped around the two ends of the scarf and I found some complementary yarn to lengthen the scarf with a fringe.   Isn't God like that with us too?   He has to work with very limited resources, I don't have much in me that is 'enough' and so God gets creative -  He takes the 'little' I give Him to work with and He creatively makes it more beautiful than I could imagine possible !

God has worked so many ways into our daily lives by which we can 'see Him' if we are looking for Him.
 Is He not ever so worthy of our love and devotion?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Lesson from the Oak Tree

Flanking our clubhouse entry sidewalk stand two oak trees. Oak trees have a unique characteristic that sets them apart from the other deciduous trees in our area.
In fall, we enjoy the changing colour of  leaves, but we know they will shortly turn brown and fall off.   All the trees follow that set pattern every year,  except the oak tree.  Their leaves turn a brilliant colour, then turn brown but the leaves do not fall off. They cling to the branches all through the long winter months inspite of storms and strong winds.
But then in spring a wonderful thing happens.  As the new leaves begin to push their way out in fresh growth responding to awakened life in the tree,  the old dead leaves are forced to give way to the new and one by one they fall off.

What a wonderful spiritual lesson for us to see and learn.
Believers, in scripture, are compared to a tree "planted by the rivers of water" - Jer. 17:8 - our leaves are not to be withered but they are to stay green even in times of drought.
But wait ...  most of us turn to the Lord at a time in our lives when we have come to the end of ourselves - when we are in trouble,  finally aware of our failings and sinfulness and our need of a Saviour.  We come already a 'tree' with brown, dead leaves.

We eagerly embrace the life giving promise of hope in 2Co_5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  Promised new life has sprung up with us and we look forward to walking in that life.

Then, oft to our disappointment, the 'old dead leaves' don't just fall off, but they cling to us , old habits, sinful thoughts and ways. Our actions and reactions don't always look any different, and others looking at us do not see the new life we know we have tasted of. The more we try to rid ourselves of the 'leaves' of our old life, the more they seem to cling to us.

So what do we need to do ?

What is the secret of the oak tree ?  Can it get rid of its old dead leaves?  No, they cling, they remain ..... until when ??    When the new growth pushes them off the branches !

Too often our focus is on overcoming our 'sinful habits'... we focus on the things we want to change in our character or life and though we struggle valiantly, nothing changes.

But if we, like the oak tree, focused on what we wish to be -  focus on the character traits we desire, the 'fruit' of the Spirit we wish to grow on our branches ....  then,  the old  just falls off because there is no longer any room for it.

The 'old' has to fall off, when we 'put on the new' .... as we are taught in Eph. 4:21-24
 ......This truth is in Jesus:  
 that you 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.
 thereby putting off , concerning your former conduct, 
the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts. 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Wishing everyone of you, my dear readers,
 a very
We are starting a new year -- again!!  It seems we hardly have time to get comfortable with writing one year and the next is upon us.
New Year's resolutions are still being made but I have noticed that for most people they are not made with the same zealous intent to keep them.  Seems we have all been there and failed too many times.

Today, I came across some notes I made last summer that made me think about how important it is to know who we are.
We have all heard the phrase "Know Thyself".  It is an ancient Greek aphorism that is  inscribed in the court of the Temple of Apollo. So from ancient times we know there has been a recognition of the need and importance of knowing oneself.
How many religious thoughts or paths start or focus on self,  understanding the world from a self-perspective, finding the god within?   How many ad campaigns are successful because they convince us of some self-need?  How many self-help books feed that inner pride that we can do it ourselves, be self-sufficient, self-reliant, self-driven, self-aware. Do you know there are 113 English words prefixed by self ? see a list here.

Yet for all our self-focus, can we really ever know ourselves by looking within ourselves?
It is so easy to delude ourselves into seeing ourselves as we wish to be seen rather than as we are.  Scripture refers to what happens when a man looks at himself in a mirror.   "....for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was." (James 1:24)
Until we are willing to see ourselves through God's eyes, see ourselves as He declares we are,  we cannot truly 'know ourselves'. As Jeremiah astutely notes ...  "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9)

Even when we give mental ascent to the 'wicked' tendencies of our heart we are far quicker to see those tendencies in others than ourselves. And while we would not define self-awareness as wicked, does all sin not start with a 'self-focus' ?

I recognized an example of that in myself this summer when I made the notes I came across this morning.
I was following the US Open Tennis tournament where I knew most of the major players.  One afternoon I was in the kitchen multi-tasking - baking and watching a match where one of the players was Roanic -a fellow Canadian. The match was a tight one with winning points going back and forth. All three sets were won by tie-breakers.  While I was watching the match, I realized I was not enjoying the match as much as I had the others and emotionally wanted to turn it off.  I had enjoyed all the previous matches - but this one was different.

Reflecting on the question, I realized that there were two reasons.
One -  in all the other matches I was simply enjoying the games, noting the great shots and cheering for the best man to win. But in this match I had a 'personal' interest.  I wanted one man to win, not because he was playing better than his opponent but because of what his win meant to ME. I wanted a Canadian to win.
Two - Some of the other matches I had watched were taped and I knew the outcome of the game, so the stress level in watching the game was much relaxed.  The game with Roanic was live, the outcome to me was unknown and it was stressful to watch, especially because I knew who I wanted to win the match. I wanted to control the outcome and couldn't.

Isn't that how we walk through life ?   We are quite objective and reasonable in how we judge the things that we encounter UNTIL we have some personal issue or involvement or interest.
I'm not saying that is wrong -- I don't think it can be avoided.  But recognizing that that is what we do can help us to not fall into the traps a self-focus lays to ensnare us.

How often are our prayers formed/worded from our own perspective or desires?   Do we really want God to choose the best solution/answer or do we want Him to answer according to our own desire?  Do we already know how He should answer ? Do we want to be in control? Do we want the answer to fit in with our own desired end?

What does "Thy will be done" really mean?   Can we really bring a burden or a need or a worry or a request to God and with a calm heart say,"Thy will be done" ?"   Can we from our heart pray .. " I leave my request entirely in your hands knowing that my own intense desire in how I want my prayer to be answered is based on my limited vision and knowledge.  I thank you for understanding my human weakness and I willingly give you the right to overrule my own self-wisdom."

Can we 'watch' what God will do simply from a trust-perspective that He will of course do the best thing, the right thing?  Do we recognize that holding tight to our own self-focus interest in our requests may actually 'hinder' God's best for us and for others rather than make room for God's best?

It is not an easy thing to do, is it.... to lay down the way we KNOW a prayer answer should come, but we can grow more and more into that kind of trusting place where our prayers simply bring to God's throne the things that are on our heart.

As the world around us reflects less and less of God's wisdom, God's children have the opportunity to show a world of lost souls  that we have Someone we can trust... the Unchanging One who is all wise - our Eternal Father, who has only our good in mind even when at first it seems to be contrary to what we think is clearly best for us !

Would it make a difference in how 2015 ends if all God's children lifted their eyes off of 'self' and looked more and more  to Him in childlike trust - knowing that in everything we ask we can trust God to do what is best?  He is the God who hears and acts - always - in answer to every prayer.
One of my favourite shows of this season is It's a Wonderful Life.  Wouldn't it be fun if we could see a movie that would show the differences that would happen  in 2015 if more and more of God's people forgot about 'self-interest/focus and turned their hearts and eyes to a God-focus?