and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Modern Quotes Debunked

       Follow your heart: I’m sure you heard that one before- many times.  When talking about our heart in this context, we usually mean our emotions, but scripturally speaking it also includes our intellect and will.  The world tells us to follow our hearts, but what does the Bible say?

(NKJV unless otherwise stated.  I used bold text for emphasis.)
Gen. 6:5- Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Jer. 17:9- The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
Matt. 15:19- For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. (Jesus said this)

       So, are we to follow after a part of us that is only evil continually, deceitful, wicked, and full of sin?  I don’t think that was God’s intention.  Perhaps that is why David cried in Ps. 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  Well, what do we follow if it is not our heart? 
Let’s see what the scripture says:

Matt. 16:24- Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Ps. 119:112- I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes Forever, to the very end.
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.
Num. 15:39- …remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes,…  NASB

       In other words, we are to follow the Lord Jesus and His Word in making decisions.  That means our decisions will not be based on fleshly pleasures, but that which is right and true in the eyes of God.  Pr. 28:26 says that a person who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered and since the Lord gives wisdom (Pr. 2:6) than that should be our source of direction.  Do you want to be wise?  I do.

       Allow these scriptures to remind us why we should follow the Lord and His word:
Ecclesiastes 11:9, “…Walk in the ways of your heart, And in the sight of your eyes; But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment.” 
2 Cor. 5:10- For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (Rom. )
1 Cor 4:5- …the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts.

Will you follow your heart, or follow God?

I choose God.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Does it Bother You?

       One of the characters in the Bible that I never really appreciated was Lot.  Here was a man who traveled with his uncle Abram into Canaan, and since the land couldn’t support both their wealth, Lot chose to move to the best watered and fertile land near the Jordan.  I always considered it a bit of a selfish choice, and a foolish one as he chose to pitch his home near a city of wicked sinners*.  Why did he want to live so close to such a wicked place anyway?

       Later when the Lord decided to judge Sodom and Gomorrah, He sent angels to go check out the city and Lot, who was sitting at the gate, asked them to be his guests for the evening.  They wanted to stay in the streets, but Lot pressured them to stay with him.  Read this:

And he pressed upon them greatly;…  But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:  And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,  (Gen 19:3 to 6  KJV)

       Basically a mass riot was going on outside Lot’s house, and he was brave enough to go outside on his own to try to stop the men’s intentions.  Even though that is a bit impressive, I find another scripture much more interesting.  2 Pet. 2:7,8 says, “But at the same time the Lord rescued Lot out of Sodom because he was a good man, sick of the terrible wickedness he saw everywhere around him day after day.” (TLB)  The word ‘good’ means holy, righteous.  Perhaps I have misjudged the man!

       What stands out to me is that Lot was literally in pain and tortured because of the wicked/ sinful behaviour of the people.  What he saw and heard bothered him greatly.  I have to ask myself: does it bother me?  There is wickedness all around us: sex before marriage, lying, stealing, cheating, hatred, oppression, selfishness, law breaking.  We become so accustom to it, that it usually doesn’t cause us pain or torture us.  We are okay watching all kinds of sinful behaviour on TV and don’t think twice about it.  Some Christians are even okay with illegally downloading music and movies, burning disks, and speeding.  Hmmm… isn’t that breaking the law?

       So, I guess what I’m really wondering is why… why doesn’t it bother us more… or at all?  Shouldn’t wickedness and sin upset us?  Shouldn’t we find it a little bit painful to watch, or to hear about it?  Let me ask… Does it bother you?

        As David said, Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts.  Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Ps. 139:23,24)

*Gen. 13:10,12,13- And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, … even as the garden of the LORD,…   Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Behind the Mask

       It happened again today.  I was talking to a Christian lady I’ve known for years and I asked how she was only to hear the standard, “Oh, I’ve been fine.”  When she asked me the same question, I responded the way it’s really been, “It’s been a cr@#%y two weeks.”  “Well then,” she said, “it’s been pretty bad for me too.”

       What is it that keeps us from being honest?  I mean, if we think they don’t really want to know, we could try saying, “If you really want to know that will take some time.”  That way we give them the opportunity to decide if they have the time.  If it’s just in passing, a quick “I’m surviving; one day at a time; life’s been hard; pray for me; not too good; health’s a problem; etc.”  There are many answers we could give that would be more accurate.  Perhaps we are afraid of being judged for not doing well- after all, we’re Christians so aren’t we always supposed to be doing well?

       Now, while I realize the entire world seems to respond the same way, we Christians are not to be like the world.  We are supposed to share burdens with each other.  We are supposed to be honest.*  Instead, it’s like we hide the real us behind a fake identity.  I believe many Christians put on an “I’m okay because I have Jesus” face even though they don’t really feel/ think it at the time.  That is totally unnecessary.  God will love us and use our lives whether we are up or down, if we are sailing smoothly or struggling terribly, if we are feeling strong or miserably weak.

       So I say, let us start being honest in showing ourselves for who we really are and trust God to take care of us.  Let us take off the fake identity and reveal our true selves.  Someone has to make the first move to get out from behind the mask.

*Rom. 12:2- And be not conformed to this world:…
Gal. 6:2- Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Prov. 8:7- For my mouth shall speak truth;

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


       Is it three or four weeks of near continual rain?  I’m not sure anymore.  All I know is there have only been two reasonably warm and dry days of late.  I miss the sun.  I miss having light in the sky and seeing any colour besides gray.  I want to feel the warmth of the sun on my face and try to figure out what the fluffy clouds look like floating by in the blue sky.

       The other day when the sun broke through for a while, I went out and took a picture because it has been so rare that I forgot what a sunny sky looked like.  It was wonderful while it lasted even if it wasn’t very long.  Still, I appreciated it.  It’s weird how we forget to be thankful for the simple things (like sunshine) in life until they are gone.

       I can’t quite remember who I was talking to a couple days ago, but we were commiserating about life’s struggles:  gas prices, taxes, food price increases while wages stay the same, the weather being miserable, and more.  Immediately it dawned on me that we aren’t so bad off.  In Japan with earthquakes, tsunami, and radiation, or the southern U.S. where tornadoes have devastated homes, lives have been lost; here there is no flooding like Australia or drought as in China.  I don’t really worry about my kids being shot, starving, homeless or without medical treatment.  It certainly could be worse!

       Right now, my perception just needs to change.  I need to see the Son shining down in my life.  With His light on my face I can tolerate the gray skies, and be thankful that miserable weather is all we are experiencing.  These scriptures are a reminder that whatever struggles we are in, whether small or great, whether short lived or continual, that God should be thanked- for He gives us peace, comfort and He is with us always*:

-Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;  (Eph. )
-In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1Th. )

*John 14:27- Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
2Cor. 1:3- Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
Matt. 28:20- Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.   KJV

Monday, May 02, 2011

Running Nowhere

        This year started for me with a new expensive treadmill assembled in the front room of my house.  After a couple days of tweaking to ensure it was set up right, I got on board for my first real workout.  At this point of my life the treadmill is necessary to keep my heart strong since it suffered damage due to chemo.  So, now I can walk, jog, or run (if I am able) during any kind of weather and season.

        Have you ever thought of how absurd the whole thing is though?  I mean, it is great exercise and that is the point.  But think about this…  You walk, jog or run whatever distance you want at whatever speed you want, but you don’t get anywhere.  You are still in the same spot you started in.  It kind of got me thinking about life.

       Many of us feel like life is a journey.  Sometimes it’s moving slowly like a park stroll where we can enjoy the scenery as we pass by and we can stop to smell the roses.  It’s great to be able to be at peace and relaxed, not in a hurry to get anywhere or do anything; to enjoy each moment fully and immerse ourselves in it.  That isn’t always the case on our journey though. 

       At times we need to ‘jog’ here or there, getting kids to appointments and programs, volunteering at school or in the community, helping friends, family and always having to complete whatever job we have in life.  This pace seems the most prevalent today in all our lives.  We catch glimpses of roses and great scenery, but we don’t have time to enjoy the full beauty of our surroundings or to allow them to envelop our senses.

       Of course, in the mix of it all are times we are at a full out run, dashing here or there, trying to get done all the things we need to for us, our family, our work, our friends, in short, our lives.  In my opinion, when we do this we are running so fast that there isn’t time to enjoy anything as it is all just a blur in our periphery.  So all this movement on our journey begs a couple questions…

Just where do we want to go?

What is it we hope to accomplish in the brevity of our journey?

       I think these are important questions we need to answer for ourselves.  For in our last breath, very few of us will wish we spent more time at work or effort running from appointment to program.  My personal answers to these questions lead me to see that I’m still on the treadmill going fast but getting nowhere.  I’ve got to make a change.

I’ve got to get off the treadmill.

Sunday, May 01, 2011


       Rom - So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  NLT

       After reading this particular scripture, six simple words stand out- and bring me a great deal of hope in my life.  Sin brings death, grace brings life.  Death entered into the world through Adam who sinned.  Death from that sin will remain until Christ comes again.*  How would you live if the few years you were alive were all you had?  Would you party hardy like there’s no tomorrow, or would you work harder to change the world?  Either way, does it matter because in the end that would be all there was to your life…  What a depressing thought!

        But…   that is not the end, for Jesus Christ made a way for death to be defeated. So, by the grace of God we have the opportunity for eternal life with Him.  That is our hope for the future.  This part of our journey isn’t all we get.  We do not end when our flesh is buried.  If we know Christ Jesus, and He knows us, then we will spend eternity with Him in a place where death no longer rules, grief, vehement cries of distress, and labour with pain and fatigue or that oppresses the body or mind shall all pass away.*  Woohoo!!!  What an exciting thought!  (Sometimes even hard to imagine…)

       Hope keeps me going.  The hope of being with my beloved Father, my beloved Savior, and my beloved Spirit keeps my feet advancing on my journey daily.  Yes, my first response to a storm may still be to quickly retreat, but I remember that hope set before me, come out of hiding and move forward again.

Sin brings death, but God brings me life. 

Lord, I look forward to that life, for I have no hope except in You. 
(Ps. 25:5b TLB)

*Rev. 21:4- And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.