and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Slushy Drive


        It's a bit slushy out here today, but we are on the way to London to have my family Christmas. It will be a great time although I just realized I forgot a gift for the newest addition to our family- my nephew's baby. Oops! Well, I've been forgetful on those types of issues for many years, so people expect it anyway. Of course, I haven't finished my ornaments either, so I'm packed up here in the back of the van with my laptop for blogging and my bags of craft supplies to work on when I'm done.

        Anyway... Back on topic. Snow may look pretty and makes for some romantic moments occasionally, but snow isn't so pretty when it's on the roads causing potential accidents and I particularly don't like slush. Earlier this year we bought a 'new to us' used van and thought the tires have good tread, they obviously are not good in the snow/ slush as I discovered Boxing Day. Yikes! But we'll be okay today because the roads are only wet and not so bad.

        Splat, that nasty truck just sprayed us with slush heavy enough it made a loud noise, and oh boy, there's a car in the ditch- but the cops are there to deal with it. I hope the people are okay. Really, I have always loved snow, but I would love it better if it would only snow on the ground and stay off the sidewalks and roads. I mean, God can do miracles, so He could do that for me, couldn't He? Well, He hasn't yet, so I'm not holding my breath!
 
        How can something so pretty, and uniquely special like snow, become so dangerous? Snow is so delicate that it quickly changes form depending on it's environment. I guess this also reflects in our own lives. Sometimes the environment around us can be difficult to endure and instead of pressing in to God and His strength, we allow our environment to transform us into mush, and that is dangerous to our spirits and our relationships.
And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may overshadow me. 2Cor. 12:9 MKJV
        Paul is writing about the source of His strength, that in His trials and difficulties, in his pain and suffering He found that when he was weak, then Christ in Him was strong (v. 10). Paul didn't let his environment transform him to slush because he knew he could rely on the inestimable strength of Almighty God to get him through the tough times. "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might" (Eph. 6:10) Paul knew his strength, and so should we. We don't have to let life turn us into mush because greater is He in us, than he that is in the world (1Jh. 4:4).

Friday, December 28, 2012

Resolution

       Just a few days away from the New Year, I am thinking about making a resolution- something I don’t do very often.  Though I have been eating better, I think I want to eat healthier yet.  Wheat and milk (in liquid form) no longer seem to agree with my digestive system so I’m going to further cut them out.  This is good for everyone around me too as the repercussions of these two things in my diet become quite stinky- if you know what I mean!  But food and drink are not what I actually want to make a resolution about.

       It is the other food that my spirit ‘digests’ that I want to resolve to change: the things I hear, see, feel, smell, taste.  Our senses are constantly being used everyday.  They fill our minds with experiences- both good and bad.  It is of these that most of our memories are made and on which most of our thoughts dwell.  Although I don’t have Scriptures for them all, these are two that speak of three of the senses.  O taste and see that the LORD is good...” (Ps. 34:8) “…and they shall hear my voice...” (Jh. 10:16)

       Though I have been more careful about the things that pass through my lips, I have not been as careful with the things that pass through my mind.  Most movies and tv shows have questionable material that can feed my lustful side.  Books and reading material can lead me into a realm of fantasy that is unhealthy and anti-holiness.  Feelings provoked by these things cause further delving into sin.  Then I wonder why my relationship with God is a struggle, why my flesh wins more than loses and I can’t seem to shake certain sins.  Duh!

       Just like what we feed our bodies is reflected in our physical health, so what we feed our souls and spirits is reflected in our spiritual health.  As we’ve heard many times, “garbage in, garbage out” or in other words, if all we see, hear etc is garbage, then how we act, think and speak will be garbage-like.  The repercussions of an unhealthy diet of worldly values, attitudes, ideas, feelings, beliefs, goals, and views will cause us to become ‘stinky’ in sin like David when he says, “My wounds stink…” (Ps. 38:5).

 
       So I will try to be more careful about what I am watching and listening to.  If I can’t leave the situation for whatever reason, I can always close my eyes and distort my hearing, or pull out my Bible and read.  And I can choose to NOT: not watch, not be where I have to listen, not pick up that book or look at those magazines, etc.  Instead I will choose more often to read the Word, get in God’s presence, pray, praise, and meditate on Him and His Word.  These things will be healthier eating for my spirit, and that can only result in better spiritual health for this New Year.

Your Words were found, and I ate them; and Your Word was to me the joy and gladness of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O Jehovah, the God of Hosts.  Jer. 15:16 (both MKJV)
(Jesus said) It is the Spirit that makes alive, the flesh profits nothing. The words that I  speak to you are spirit and are life.  Jh. 6:63

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Weeds in the Garden

       The new year is quickly approaching, in fact, is only five days away, and this morning I am wondering where our hearts lie; the hearts of God’s children.  What does the ground of our hearts look like?  A couple years ago, we planted a garden on a small area that used to have marshland reeds.  It seemed like no matter how many we pulled new reeds kept growing in the garden; we could not get rid of them.  It became impossible to keep the weeding up, and in the end, we gave up.

       There is a parable that Jesus told of a farmer sowing some seed.  As he is scattering the seed, some fall on a hard path, some over rocky soil, some fall among the thorns, and some on good soil.  So I’m wondering where (in general) the hearts of God’s children stand in these choices.  Are we hard hearted, shallow, squeezed by the world, or are we the good soil the Lord desires us to be.

The thorny ground represents the hearts of people who listen to the Good News and receive it, but all too quickly the attractions of this world and the delights of wealth, and the search for success and lure of nice things come in and crowd out God’s message from their hearts, so that no crop is produced.  Mark 4:18,19 TLB

       Christmas has become so commercial the last few decades that it’s hard to remember what the season is really all about.  (It's great we are putting up signs to keep Christ in Christmas, but are we keeping Christ in our hearts this Christmas?)  But the scripture above makes me wonder if our hearts are caught up in the world too much.  We are attracted to the things of the world, the trips, the toys, the excesses, and all the things the world says are important.  The delights of wealth lead us to wanting more- of everything; a life of ease, status brought by the money, a beautiful home and car, freedom to buy whatever we want and working to pay for it all.

       We all want to ‘be somebody’ and so we struggle and strive for success just like the rest of the world, because success means lots of money and lots of things we want and a full life- doesn’t it?  Ah, all the nice things of the world come in and crowd out the abundant life that God longs for us to have.  Once our hearts are distracted by all the worldly things, there is no room left in our hearts for our God and our love for Him.  Are we transforming the world or being conformed to it which we are warned not to do (Rom. 12:2).

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.  1Jh. 2:15-17

       Let’s all consider changing the ground of our hearts this new year to soft, plowed ground that the seeds of God’s Word can fall in, grow and produce yields of crops that can feed the world.  The weeds don’t need to crowd us out anymore.  If all of us determine to prepare the ground of our hearts we will change the world by the brightness of our light.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Unto Us

 
       After writing the post yesterday and meditating on the verse from Is. 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…”, two words seemed to jump out at me.  ‘Unto us’ a child was born, ‘unto us’ a son was given.  This is the season of Immanuel (God with us), and today is the day we celebrate His birth even if we all know this wasn’t His literal birthday.  God came into flesh and was given to us.

       We didn’t deserve Him.  We didn’t even believe He was the Messiah despite His holy life and proof of miracles.  We mistreated Him in every way possible and ended by killing Him, and yet, God knew this would all happen in advance, and still chose to give Jesus ‘unto us’- into our care and for our benefit.  That is the selfless act of a good God, one whose value of us is immeasurable. 

Thou art good, and doest good  Ps. 119:68
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.  1Chr. 16:34
 
       Jesus was born so that we can be reconciled to God through His blood shed for our salvation.  God has always been the giver of the best gifts.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.  (Jms. 1:17)  Let us remember today the greatest gift God gave ‘unto us’ in the form of a babe, and lets give all the honour and praise to Him for providing our salvation.


Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

and

Happy Birthday Jesus!!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Thirty Years Ago Today

       At fifteen years of age I thought it was the perfect Christmas gift for my whole family.  A great peace enveloped my being unlike anything I had ever felt.  Mom and Dad were off somewhere, my sisters had their boyfriends, and I had no one.  It was the perfect gift that would relieve the whole family of a big problem.

       Solemnly I walked into the vacant living room to the place where the crèche (manger) was displayed and I quietly knelt down in front of it.  Bowing my head, I prayed that God would forgive me as deep down I knew my decision was sinful; yet I was still peaceful as I got up, went into my bedroom and downed a variety of prescription pills I found around the house.  My Christmas present to my family would be my death.  Warped?  Yes.  But when you are feeling so unloved and unimportant, there are a lot of bizarre thoughts that go through your head, and at that moment- that night- I truly believed my family would be glad.

       After a couple hours I realized something was wrong: I felt very sick but my suicide attempt had failed.  “Perhaps if I waited some more…”  Another half an hour went by and I decided nothing mortal was going to happen but I felt so sick I went and told my sister who wisely brought me to the hospital.  From then on, I don’t remember much except being made to vomit my stomach empty and doctors asking me a whole lot of questions.  There is only one picture in my head after that: of all my family sitting in the living room not understanding.

       As usual at home, we didn’t talk about the attempt afterwards.  Everything seemed to go on as (dysfunctional-ly) normal, but I would never be the same again.  You see, sitting on the hospital bed early Christmas morning I had determined that I would find love- somewhere- somehow.  There had to be a reason I was alive, and I resolved to find it.  Not long after I found a group of godly women who met to worship God, pray, and who were passionate about the Word.  None of that mattered because it was what I saw in their eyes that simultaneously ‘blew me away’ and drew me in. 

Art by- Lorenzo Lotto (portion of)


       Their eyes were filled with such love as I had never seen.  The power of the Holy Spirit filled their lives and healings were taking place.  They loved and accepted me with open arms and it was there, in the basement of my Catholic church, that I learned the truth of God’s love.  That summer I heard about needing to be born again, and I gave my life to the Lord.  The most incredible journey began at that point, certainly not ever easy, but always a fascinating learning experience.

       There was still a LOT of work the Lord needed to do in me, my feelings of worth/ value, and what real love was, that it took a LOT of years.  Looking back I know He was there with me that Christmas Eve.  He made sure I didn’t take the right amount of the right pills, and He protected my life from the enemy’s wiles.  You see, God had His own plans for me- and here I am: loving God and loving life.  Knowing deep down that I am truly loved by a God who loves me more than His own life.  Finally living the abundant life He always wanted for me while looking forward to being with Him face to face for eternity.

And ever so grateful for every breath that He has given me for the past thirty years.

What a Great and Awesome God we have.


Jesus You are truly the best Christmas present ever!!!


For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be on His shoulder;
and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father,
The Prince of Peace. There is no end of the increase of His government and peace
on the throne of David, and on His kingdom, to order it and to establish it
with judgment and with justice from now on, even forever
Is. 9:6,7 MKJV

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Where is Shedden ON?

       Yes, Shedden is a real place not all that far from where I live: it lies about 23 km south of London.  As I was looking for a picture one day, I came upon their ‘town’ sign although they are considered a hamlet.  The reason the sign stuck out to me is because it said, “Rhubarb capital of Ontario, Slow down! and listen to the rhubarb grow”.  Of course my first thought was that I love rhubarb- it is my favorite vegetable- yes, it is considered a veggie.  That made me wonder if they have a rhubarb festival and brought me to my second thought.

       Just where is Shedden anyway?  Research indicates it is a small hamlet, although I can’t find an actual population.  It is reported to have: a public library, a medical clinic, a volunteer-based fire hall, and a jujutsu dojo.  (No grocery store?)  And this year is the 21st anniversary of the annual Rosy Rhubarb Festival.  Ooo, just imagining rhubarb pie with or without strawberries, rhubarb bread, jam, sauce, cake, and all the other treats they might have.  Yum!

       It sounds like a great ‘quiet little town’ to go visit someday especially on festival weekend.  Of course, it is also known for something far more sinister.  In April of 2006, the bodies of eight men were found in a farmer’s field outside of town.  I can’t imagine how difficult it was for the town to put such a thing behind them and move beyond all the chaos caused by it, but then to realize that when people look up your little town, that information is right there for the whole wide world to see.

       That’s how it seems sometimes in our own lives.  We all have pasts: some are full of all kinds of outward misbehaviour or sinfulness, while others led quiet, inwardly sinful lives (that was me), and a rare few were mostly good inside and out.  Still- we all have pasts.  The thing is, when we give our hearts and lives to the Lord, He doesn’t hold our pasts against us, and He doesn’t remind us of them to make us feel bad.

As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.  Ps. 103:12 (all MKJV)
If You will keep in mind iniquities, O Jehovah, who shall stand, O Lord?  Ps. 130:3
Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not keep His anger forever, because He delights in mercy.  Mic. 7:18
For His merciful kindness is great toward us  Ps. 117:2

       The Lord removes our transgressions from us an inestimable amount, like we have a clean slate with Him.  We could not stand before a holy God if He did not do that for us, for we are all sinful creatures who struggle daily with the flesh.  Why does He pass by our sins?  The Lord loves us and is mercifully kind toward us.  His longsuffering toward His people over the millennia and the sacrificial death of His Son proves His love for us.  God doesn’t see our wicked pasts when He looks at us- He sees the blood of His Son- the blood that makes us clean*.

Blessed be the name of Jehovah!


*Ps. 51:7; Rom. 3:25; 5:9; Eph. 1:8; Heb. 10:12; 1Jh. 1:7; Rev. 1:7

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Painting People


       When I was first married, I started buying inexpensive ‘Christmas village’ buildings to put on display.  It began with a house and a business, and has grown to a several buildings and other structures.  By far, my favorite part is the people I have bought over the years to accessorize (You can never have enough people!!!).  Since it is an inexpensive set, I just buy figurines at the dollar store: every year adding a few more.

       This year I was excited to find a set of black people, one of them dressed as Santa!  But of course due to my perfectionist ways and the supplier’s rushed paint job, I have to touch up each of the figures to my standards with a little acrylic paint.  This usually takes a several hours and a brush with about five small hairs in order to do the fine details in such small figures.  I don’t mind.  It is relaxing, and I like to see the figures transformed more into my liking. 

       I started last night and discovered some of my paints need replacing, so I can’t quite finish the new ones.  I also need to replace some specialty paints I won’t be able to buy at the dollar store, but those can wait until next year.  Back on topic though, painting people is fun.  They have different hair and face colour, varying colour of clothing, and some of them are doing diverse jobs: baker, clergyman, musician, painter, etc.  Most of the time, I blend basic colours together to match the colours already on the figure in order to cover inaccurately painted areas.

       In very similar ways, the Lord has been ‘touching me up’ for years.  I am not the person I used to be.
         (Thank You Lord!!!- very much! J)
       For the most part, He has helped me change for the better.  Little by little the Master Painter used His fine detailed brush to fix the ‘mistakes’ in my character.  He relaxed and took His time making sure it was done to His liking, not my own perceptions of how I should be.  The Lord continues to work in me (Php. 2:13) so that I can be “…conformed to the image of His Son…”
(Rom. 8:29)

for Jehovah seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but Jehovah looketh on the heart.  1Sm. 16:7
But we all, with our face having been unveiled, having beheld the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are being changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord Spirit.  2Cor. 3:18 MKJV
Do not be conformed to this world, but continually be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may be able to determine what God's will is-what is proper, pleasing, and perfect.  Rom. 12:2ISV

       You know, I was just thinking of something.  I would be very unhappy if I had spent lots of money on the figurines and they still required so much work to make them right.  Hmmm.  God paid the ultimate price for our salvation in the death of Jesus, yet we still require ‘tons’ of work because we are so flawed.  What an amazing God that He still considered us worth the cost!  We were worth the price of His Son.  I was worth the price of His Son.  Lord, thanks for never giving up on us and for continuing to ‘paint’ in our lives- daily transforming us into ‘works of art’ for Your kingdom.  You are an Awesome God!


Now to the one who can do infinitely more than all we can ask or imagine
according to the power that is working among us-
to him be glory
in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations,
forever and ever! Amen.
Eph. 3:20,21 ISV

Friday, December 21, 2012

Remember

       Sitting at the table this morning I remembered that I forgot to get my allergy shot earlier this week.  That means I have to go out across town in the first snowfall of the year- typically the worst for driving in as people are unprepared and end up in ditches and accidents.  Yuck!  Not looking forward to it, but I can’t wait because their hours for the next week and a half are spotty.

       There are just too many things to remember this time of year with all the family gatherings, gift buying and giving, finding deals, cooking, baking, wrapping, returning items, and so on.  Even though I write a list I find myself checking off too little of the items and not putting all the items on the list in the first place- like my shot.  I guess there are far worse things I could be dealing with and I am grateful that forgetting is the worst of it.  Still, both yesterday and today I thought I would get a particular task done and now I won’t because I have to go out once again.  (Can you tell I haven’t started what I said I would on Tues. 18th! Oops, I forgot! L)

       You know, things are gonna be all right, really!  So I couldn’t pay that bill because their system is down, the teacher did not call me back yet, my daughter missed the bus not due to her own fault, the new laptop has a manufacturing defect and needs to be returned, we still haven’t been able to get the star up on the tree because of shift work and not all being home, and the kids are a little whiny over some issues.  (They couldn’t be learning that from me, could they???)  It will be all right.  I mean, I woke up breathing with a beating heart, I could still see, all my limbs are working, my kids and hubby are all fine, and we have income, food and shelter.  Wow.  We are blessed!

                                   Blessed! 


Things to remember this season

Breathe.

God is with me, so it will all be okay.

Relax.

God-who is with me- loves me. 
          Oh yeah, He loves me. 
                    Yeah, yeah, He loves me!



For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Rom. 8:38,39 MKJV
(Thanks Lord J)


Thursday, December 20, 2012

That’s Love

       He was feeling unwell from the bronchial infection his body was fighting and his back had been stiff and painful for a few days.  Now in his early 50’s, it has to be tough knowing his family is relying on him for the business and no matter how he feels, the work has to get done.  I’m sure on days like yesterday, he just wants to forget all about it- but he can’t.  Not only is the business relying on him, but also his wife who just had a hip replacement and is not allowed to bend at the hip for weeks.

       There I was visiting when his wife needed to have her socks and shoes put on.  Obviously she can’t do it since she is not allowed to bend that far, but there was no complaint, rolling eyes, or even a grimace from her hubby when he bent down on his knee in front of her (while I watched!), put on her socks and then her shoes as gently as possible.  To me, that ‘picture’ is how I see love.  Though he was sick and in pain, he still knelt down to help the wife of his youth, the one who usually works just as hard- side by side with him, but who is now healing.  I can’t get that picture out of my head.

That’s love.

       I think that’s how we’re supposed to love one another in the body of Christ.  We, the church (not the building but the people) are to be one in the Lord (1Cor. 12:12).  No matter what is happening in our own lives, we are called to love one another.  Does that mean we may have to humbly get on our knees to help someone- without grumbling, eye rolling, or making it obvious we don’t like it?  Yes! 

(from TLB)
(Jesus said) I demand that you love each other as much as I love you.  Jh. 15:12
Dear friends, let us practice loving each other, for love comes from God and those who are loving and kind show that they are the children of God, and that they are getting to know him better.  But if a person isn’t loving and kind, it shows that he doesn’t know God- for God is love. 1Jh. 5:7,8
Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions.  Then we will know for sure, by our actions, that we are on God’s side  1Jh 3:18,19
This is one way to prove that your love is real, that it goes beyond mere words.  2Cor. 8:8

      Jesus was very clear that we need to love one another as He loves us.  Notice that it was a demand or commandment.  Does that ‘get your back up’?  We don’t like to be told what to do, but if we just think about who said it- the man who suffered and died for our sins- the man who laid down his own life for love of us- the man who got down to wash his disciples feet- then I don’t think the connotation is the same.  Jesus led by example.

       Practicing is an action repeated until it becomes habit.  Showing love by our actions means we can’t just say ‘I love you’ or think it in our hearts and leave it at that.  We are to prove our love by our caring actions towards one another.  This could mean doing work someone is unable to do, helping them get through a tough time, or scrubbing their filthy, callused feet.  It is our actions of love that prove our words to be true.  Without the backing of our caring and kind actions, the words are just that- empty words, without substance.  In that case, our love is not real and the love of God is not in us.  Ouch! Those are strong words.  Love in action: love is action!

Do you want to really love people the way Jesus wants you to?  Peter writes how:

(*A good life full of God’s kindness and peace full of rich blessings, etc)  But to obtain these* gifts, you need more than faith; you must work hard to be good… For then you must learn to know God better and discover what he wants you to do.  Next, learn to put aside your own desires so that you will become patient and godly, gladly letting God have his way with you.
This will make possible the next step, which is for you to enjoy other people and to like them, and finally you will grow to love them deeply.  The more you go on in this way, the more you will grow strong spiritually and become fruitful and useful to our Lord Jesus Christ.  2Pt. 1:5-8 (TLB)

Aha!  The way to a fruitful, spiritually strong life...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Best Laid Plans, and all that!

       It all should have worked like clockwork.  7:45am, leave for bus stop, 8:00am drive to church, work on problem in library, 8:30ish start on project there and get home by 9:30 so I could get my blog post done at a reasonable time.  Instead, Nate got up late and we had to go to his alternate bus stop.  Then the traffic was annoying though I still managed to get to the church at a reasonable time.  The computer files didn’t align with the problem I was working on.  Three other problems needed to be resolved in the meantime.  Something went wonky with the telephone which required a check from tech support.

       As I went through stacks of books trying to input specific information, some of the books lacked barcodes, and a few weren’t even in the system- more things to fix.  By the time I got done everything I needed to do and left, it was almost noon, and since I didn’t get breakfast due to late timing, I ate just before I sat down here at the computer.  Now I’m wondering how often our plans ever go through flawlessly.  My best guess is- never.

There are many purposes* in a man's heart, but the counsel of Jehovah shall stand.  Pr. 19:21 MKJV
A man's heart plans his way, but Jehovah directs his steps.  Pr. 16:9 MKJV
Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts* shall be established.  Pr. 16:3
The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices* of the people of none effect.  Ps. 33:10

       Sure we can plan, but that doesn’t mean our plans will work out the way we want.  Man, whose days are like vapor (Jm. 4:14) can’t really determine if his plans will work out- or not.  The truth is we don’t even know if we will be here tomorrow or not.  God is not like us in this way though: He was in the beginning (Rev. 1:8), there is nothing hidden from Him (Heb. 4:13) and He knows all, even our minds and hearts (Rev. 2:23).  Though we cannot guarantee anything, the Lord can, for His counsel WILL stand.  That is why we should bring our plans to Him, because He knows!  And the Lord can make plans fall apart if He wants to.

 
       We make our plans believing them to be right, often without even consulting the Lord.  All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; But Jehovah weigheth the spirits.(Pr. 16:2)  Some of us even try to hide our plans of sin from Jehovah (Is. 29:15) like He won’t see them (just a little gossip after all).  Not only will He see them, but He will see our motives behind them and they will ultimately be exposed (1Cor. 4:5).

       Anyway, after this morning, I think I’ll try a new tactic.  Perhaps I’ll sit down with the Lord every evening and talk to Him about tomorrow, see if He wants any input before I make plans.  Then I’ll ask Him to check the plans over for any adjustments He may want.  Maybe if I do that first, I won’t find my plans falling apart by so many unexpected things. 

Ah, the best laid plans



*H4284- contrivance: plans, plots, devices, intentions

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sitting Here…

       It’s one of those days where I sit here looking at a blank screen thinking of many different things I could write about, but none of them appeal.  So, this morning I just want to remind all of us of a few things.


God is thinking of us.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You.  Ps. 139:17,18 MKJV  

He loves us even though we are sinners.
But God commendeth (introduced, exhibited) his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Rom. 5:8
But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us (even when we were dead in sins)  Eph. 2:4,5

Our salvation is His joy.
(Jesus)who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God.  Heb. 12:2 MKJV

He gave His life for our salvation and to live with us.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.  Gal. 2:20

He did it all because He loves us.
In this the love of God was revealed in us, because God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (reparation) concerning our sins.  1Jh. 4:9,10 MKJV

Emmanuel means God with us (Mt. 1:23).

He’s here, with each of us right now.

What would you like to say to Him?

Come on... say it!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Unwed Pregnancy


        Maria was fourteen and pregnant. Not a good place to be even if she was engaged to a wonderful man. Her parents would never understand, but she'd have to tell them, after all, she would be showing soon enough. They would probably be angry since she wasn't even supposed to be having sexual relations, and, well, that's how babies were made. Maria walked solemnly into the room where her parents were and sat down quietly beside them watching while mother worked on her needlepoint.

        Father was discussing a friend and his construction business in town while mother asked appropriate questions to learn more. Maria pondered what her neighbours would think of her condition, what they would say to her parents, how they would treat the family once they knew. Would they understand or would they consider her to be a tainted woman of poor morals? Maria hoped the fall out would be on her and not her parents who did nothing wrong. What did it matter. No one would believe her. Would her parents?
  *     *     *     *     *

Reading Luke 1:26-56 made me think about the beginning of Emmanuel (Mt. 1:23)- God with us, which all started with an angel speaking to a common girl, and the power of God overshadowing her to become pregnant with Jesus. Is it possible some of the speculation above really happened?

        I can't imagine what it would have been like for Mary to face her parents with the fact she was pregnant, and oh, not by a man, but by God Himself. Though the Jews long believed that the Savior would come to a virgin, so many years had gone by that it must have become only a distant, rare consideration. Did Mary's parents believe it was God, or did they think it was a lapse in judgment? Did they worry about what the neighbours would think or perhaps they would rather have the inaccurate belief Joseph and Mary were at fault as opposed to any claims that their daughter was bearing the Messiah?

        Joseph, Mary, and both their families were thrust into the spotlight of the community and though the Scriptures do not indicate much about the reaction of the townspeople, we know that they would have had typical human responses- just like we would have. But God in His wisdom chose correctly based on their love for Him, their character- values, and their strength to endure through parenting Emmanuel. That would be some task; I imagine there may have been a lot of second guessing?

        Mary submitted to God's plan (Lk. 1:38), extolled her Savior (v.47) and Joseph obeyed the Lord (Mt. 1:24). Together, they helped raise Jesus who would “...save his people from their sins.” (Mt. 1:21) And two thousand years later we are still reaping the benefits of the Savior, miraculously born to common parents, who was no ordinary boy, but God in the flesh...
 
dwelling among us.
 
Halleluiah!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Remember When…

       Our last computer at home (as a teen) was the latest and greatest Commodore 128- no little C64 for us (this was early 80’s).  Oh, the games it could play- kept us amused for minutes at a time. J  And it used the really big floppy disks that held much more information than tapes!  Actually, one of my favorite games was called ‘Rags to Riches’ about a bum who needed to earn money to get a shave to get a job to afford a place to stay in order to go to school and earn bigger money- all while avoiding jail for vagrancy, robbers, and IRS agents.

       Years later, as a young married couple, hubby and I bought our first new computer- at horrendous prices of course.  It ran Dos operating system with Windows 3.1 if you wanted.  It had the new ‘hard’ floppy drive which held even more information than the other, and it used a bigger hard drive at 510kb of information storage.  ‘Who would ever need that much?’ we pondered?  No laughing, but that computer only died about five years ago as we kept it for the older games we liked.  Later, when we needed to upgrade the Ram to play the more complex games it cost us hundreds of dollars.

       Flash forward to December of 2012.  Our newest laptop has 6GB Ram, 750 GB hard drive, quad core blah, blah, blah.  Seriously, who would have imagined an inexpensive computer being so impressive technologically wise.  Computer technology has come so far from where it used to be, and is still advancing at exceptional rates.  Of course, it’s great knowing that in a few months our newest machine will be like the Commodore of old!

       Sometimes I feel a little bit like computer tech myself.  Since I was first saved, I’ve come a long, loooong way.  Not that I would have seen it back then, but I was judgmental, selfish with God, untrusting, Christian whose faith and obedience was conditional upon God doing what I wanted Him to do.  I’ve repented of a lot of my old ways, and I certainly trust the Lord more than ever- no matter what happens in my life, but I now completely understand that there is always a lot more development to go.  I can’t stay stagnant in my growth because stagnation causes rot and death.  Instead, I’ve got to keep advancing- like technology- in order to be better utilized in the earth today.

       I can’t keep looking back at achievements or regrets or it will hinder my forward motion.  “…forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,(Php. 3:13)  We shouldn’t dwell on the past, constantly remembering the good and bad (Is. 43:18) or it will keep our focus off of the growth ahead of us that we need to reach for.  We need to press toward (pursue) the maturity God wants for us (Php. 3:14) in Christ Jesus.  It’s all about continued growth.

and increasing in the knowledge of God;  Col. 1:10
The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.  Ps. 92:12
I did the planting, Apollos did the watering, but God kept everything growing.  1Cor. 3:6 ISV
that your faith may continue to grow  2Cor. 10:15 ISV
Be ye therefore perfect (complete in labour, growth, mental and moral character), even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.  Mt. 5:48

       There are some great parts of yesterday that are sometimes fun to remember, just like the old computers.  But there are so many more interesting things ahead of us to look forward to.  Just imagine…  we get to keep changing (upgrading!) for the better, and if we do that, we will never become obsolete.  With God, every day is new “…His mercies never fail. They are new every morning…” (Lam. 3:23,24 MKJV)  We are all just little plants in God’s garden, growing in the Lord at different stages.  Much better than technology- anyday!