Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Living on the Edge

blackberry bush: A bicycle leaning against blackberry bush in a field by the sea Stock Photo

I did not take the above photo, nor is my story about a bicycle but it does involve blackberry bushes. Those of you who live where blackberries grow need no description, but just in case you are a city dweller let me explain that blackberry bushes are very prolific and it is impossible to 'bush wack' through them.  Their vines grow fast and tangled and while one of them is supple - though VERY prickly - they are difficult to cut back and quickly grow back again if any root is left.

We used to own acreage in the country and blackberry bushes were quite happy there.  We had a driveway, coming off a cul-de-sac,  that sloped downward to the edge of a very steep ravine - almost completely vertical 300 feet down to a creek. Because of a major land slide we had a few years prior, nothing had yet grown back on this slope except blackberry bushes.

One day my husband decided that he would chain up our older car, that had a dead battery, to our newer car and pull it up the driveway hoping that he could get it to start. I took one look and played out the 'obvious to me' outcome.  "If that chain breaks, that car is going to roll right off the driveway, down the ravine!"
It was one of those husband "I know what I'm doing" times, so I just shook my head, bit my tongue and went into the house.   It was only moments later when my husband came in with a sheepish look on his face.  I knew immediately what had happened.
Yes, indeed, the chain had broken and the car went down the ravine.  I followed him outside and could not even see the car until I walked close to the ravine edge.  Looking down, I could see that the full weight of the car was supported by nothing but blackberry bushes  and the front bumper was just below the ravine edge.

My husband called a wrecker and asked how much he would charge to pull a car out of a ravine. "Oh.. I'll do it for twenty dollars," he replied ..   It wasn't long before he was on our yard and hooked his pulley to the car but he couldn't pull it out ... the angle was too steep.  So he had to call a friend of his who had a hoist on his truck and could lift the car up into the air and then swing it back onto the driveway.
Because he had quoted  $20.00, he stuck by his price, for which we were very grateful... and hoped it was an experience to add to his list of ..."You'll never believe this job that I had .... "  stories.

How often in life we  'live on the edge' of danger, thinking nothing will happen to us. We ignore God's warnings and choose to live according to our own desires, declaring "I know what I'm doing!" God allows us to do things 'our way', even though He knows it will get us in trouble.
Even as we are setting ourselves up for a 'fall', He puts blackberry bushes in place that will not allow us to fall farther than from where He can rescue us.
While my attitude was less than supportive, but rather , 'I told you so... now fix it yourself!", I am so humbled - and grateful -  that God never takes that attitude with us.
When we realize we have messed up, gotten ourselves into trouble and we come 'sheepishly' to Him to ask for help, He is always more than gracious and forgiving and willing to help us get back on track.
And always, His price  is something we can afford - far less than we deserve to pay.

"But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
 My glory and the One who LIFTS UP my head..
 I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me 
from His holy hill."
Psalm 3:3,4

Saturday, April 9, 2016

"I Don't Read You - Its all Greek to Me!"

Για το Θεό τόσο αγαπούσε ο κόσμος
που έδωσε τον μονογενή Υιό Του,
όποιος πιστεύει σ 'Αυτόν δεν πρέπει να χαθεί
αλλά έχουν ποτέ διαρκείας ζωής.

Some time ago our pastor typed out his sermon on his Ipad selecting  a lovely font.  He sent the finished document to the church office requesting the secretary  print  it out ready for his Sunday morning delivery.
Some time later the secretary called him in a panic --  his sermon document printed out - NOT in English, but in GREEK --  no one could read it !
They quickly figured out the problem.   The lovely font so readily offered on the pastor's Ipad did not have a corresponding receptor for that font on the church's computer software.  Unable to read the  incoming document's font,  the church computer made the best of its disability,  chose a 'closest match font' and sent it to the printer.  The font used was - Greek!

In response to the pastor's story, the congregation chuckled, appreciating the fact that they had perhaps narrowly escaped a sermon that, quite literally, was all Greek to them !

I thought of how our knowledge of computers has given us so many insights into clarifying our understanding of God and our relationship with Him.

God's heart desire when He created man was that He would have a relationship with him. Relationship is built on communication, so God had to design man with a built-in ability to 'connect' with his Divine Creator God.
Just like the pastor's Ipad and the church computer had to be 'compatible' with each other to communicate in a meaningful way...  so we also needed to be compatible with God in order to communicate with Him.  God is Spirit and so God also created man to be spirit -  enabling him to receive 'communication' from God - Spirit to spirit.

The incredible 'font' of God's word has to find a corresponding 'font' receptor in us , in order for us to 'read' Him. When we choose Him as our Saviour and are born again, our spiritual eyes are opened to understand Him and in understanding Him learn to trust Him.

In I Corinthians 2:14 we read ... "but the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

note- in case you are curious, the Greek words above are John 3:16