and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, February 04, 2012


       There it sat on the counter, the one item I want the most but must wait for as it will take a couple years to save up the money to buy it.  It's not like I'll get it for my birthday or as another gift because we don't have that kind of money, but I was willing to wait- sometimes you just have to.  Then my daughter's friend came over with her new Nikon Coolpix 500 and I thought, geesh, she's only 16 and she already owns the one thing I want.  Thus began a bout of sulking.

       Now I'm just disappointed in myself.  Think about it.  It's just a camera, and considering everything good in my life, it's really not that important and yet I allowed it to throw off my attitude.  All I can think of at this moment is how worldly I still am.  Will it ever change?  Just when I think I am mostly dead to worldly desires, they 'smack me upside the head' to prove me wrong.

       Earlier today I was thinking about how I sometimes feel all muddy in the arms of my Father- filthy of sin and worldliness. (Is. 64:6) Still, He holds me in His arms, and provides a way for me to be clean.  That way is through Jesus Christ whose blood washed me 'whiter than snow'. (Ps. 51:7)  Yet every time He puts me down again it seems I find a way to wallow in the mud of worldliness. 

       I hate knowing that I hurt Him this way.  I hate thinking how shallow and unfaithful I can be.  I hate that I have not completely died to worldly desires.  But... one thing I do know is that He has never given up on me and He loves me tenderly.  With that in mind I will continue to persevere until this mortal flesh is crucified with Christ on the cross.  For me, there is no longer any other option.

Lord, please help me to die to all the temporal pleasures in this world leaving only the important things that will survive after my earthly journey is over.

Friday, February 03, 2012

One Way

       In the city where I took the driving portion of the test for my driver’s license, the building was situated near a lot of one way roads.  Every kid I know who took the test there said they were told by the test administrator to turn down a one way road from the wrong direction at least once if not more times.  The few who did were automatically failed and had to retake the test.  There was no complaining accepted, no excuse and no second chance on that test.

       We live in the age of expected chances.  “Aw, gimmy another chance please?” your daughter cries as she looks up at you with those big, brown eyes and quivering lips.  “Okay,” we say.  Magic 1-2-3 Parenting says to give your child three times to do something wrong (few exceptions) and then they receive discipline.  Baseball has a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ rule.  Police sometimes let you off with warnings instead of tickets.  Retakes on school tests happen when an individual or class does poorly.  We are brought up from our youth accustomed to second chances.

       Is it any surprise then that we expect God will give us more than one way or one chance to get to Heaven?  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.(John 14:6)  No ‘man’ human, not even one, can come to the Father but through Jesus.  “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:(Heb. ) 

       There is no purgatory or holding place where you ‘pay for your sins’ and then receive your pass to Heaven.  No one can pray you into Heaven after you are dead.  After death, the body turns to dust in the ground, but the soul receives immediate judgment.  The souls of those who are saved will be with the Lord (2Cor. 5:8) and those that are not go to the un-politically correct Hell.  I can hear the voices already.  "Oh, don’t say that, it’s not nice and it’s very intolerant to suggest that only people who believe like you go to Heaven.  Surely a loving God would not do that."
       The God who created the entire universe made the rule.  No man.  Not one.  He gave man plenty of opportunities to repent, all the way from Adam until now.  Even if we never hear the gospel preached, the very heavens proclaim our God. (Ps. 19:1-4) Rom. 1:18-20 is about God’s wrath on the unbelievers because they knew of Him for He is clearly seen in creation.

       There is no excuse accepted.  There is no second chance.  You and I decide our ‘fate’, ‘destiny’ or future.  One life to live, one life in which to make the choice: Jesus and Heaven, or not.  One way to Heaven- eternal life with the Lord.  Only one way- through Jesus Christ alone.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Who Doesn’t Like Dessert?

        I guess my top two desserts would be chocolate and ice cream.  In my opinion they should be the largest requirements in our daily food guide pyramid!  Desserts of all kinds appeal to me on so many levels, and when I imagine them it’s like I can actually taste them too!  Some desserts bring back warm, comforting memories like rice pudding, apple placinta, pizzellas, angel wings and my grandma’s donuts.

        The problem is, you can’t live just eating dessert, or be healthy eating too many.  Our bodies are meant to be sustained through a majority of healthy foods. (L sigh!)  Thinking of dollops of real whip cream atop soft ice cream (covered in hard shell chocolate) resting on a rich brownie (drooling now…) caused me to consider… no, not my expanding waist line, but our society’s attitude toward the Word of God.  How could that be?  Just bear with me.

       It seems like we don’t want to hear the stuff that’s healthy for us anymore, we just want the fluffy stuff.  You know, the stuff we enjoy best such as: God loves you, God wants to bless you, you can have all your desires here and now, it’s ok if you sin because you are already saved as opposed to those ‘nasty veggies’ such as God requires more of believers (Lk. 12:48), many blessings are conditional (Dt. 11:26+), you are promised persecution and struggles (John 15:20; 16:33), and not everyone who says “Lord” and serves will go to Heaven
(Mt. 7:21+).  These are things we don’t like to hear.

       Then there are the meatier things that require us to chew on them a while to understand.  We actually have to cut them up (rightly dividing the Truth- 2Tm. 2:15) before we start eating.  Some require more chewing than others (meditate on it- Jos. 1:8), but they all entail more than just a couple chews and a swallow:  holiness, obedience, salvation, mercy, agape love, servanthood, completely loving God and much more.  What, so much effort?  Isn’t it easier if someone just bottle feeds us or spoon feeds us mush?

       Well, glad you ask.  Yes it is easier, but not healthier.  We are supposed to grow up, to stop being babies relying on someone else feeding us (1Cor. 3:1+).  Eventually, milk is not enough for growth of a strong, healthy baby and other foods need to be introduced for proper development.  So also, we need to dig in with our own efforts and hands to consume the meat of the Word.  Proper food makes for strong bodies.  Dessert is delicious, but real Bread and meat sustain for the long term.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Be Filled!

       After Jesus was raised from the dead, He appeared to the disciples on many occasions.  One of those times He told them to wait in Jerusalem for the Father’s promise- the Holy Spirit.  He said, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses” (Acts 1:8) 

And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:4 
and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. Acts  
And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost. Acts  

       To be filled with anything is a phrase denoting that all the faculties are permeated by it, engaged in it, or under its influence. (Barnes Notes)  The first two "filled"s are the word ‘eplesthesan’ which means all were under the full influence of the Holy Spirit.  The third is ‘eplerounto’ which means they were continually filled.  Eph. says, …but be filled with the Spirit; which is ‘plerousthe’ meaning you be constantly and fully influenced (crammed) by the Holy Spirit.

       The obvious intent here was not one ‘filling’ of the Spirit since the disciples had many, but for us to be continually under and influenced by the Holy Spirit.  I guess it’s kind of like the Bible.  Reading one passage once doesn’t keep you healthy the rest of your life, you must have the living Word daily to survive.  So also we need fresh filling of the Spirit in our lives. The Spirit teaches us (John ), gives us power to witness and speak God’s Word with boldness, and brings us peace, joy and hope. (Rom. 14:17; 15:13)

       And personally, the Spirit keeps life interesting.  Just try obeying all the things He would have you do, some of them out of your comfort zone, and you’ll see what I mean.  Occasionally a person will immediately react to the words you speak or actions you take and you know beyond knowing it was really the Holy Spirit leading you.  But… there are times when there is little reaction at all and you walk away wondering “Did I really hear right?” or perhaps you are even too timid to allow Him to fully influence you into action.  Like I said… always interesting.

Lord, help us to understand the Spirit and His place in our lives.  Help us to be open to His fully and continually filling us so that we function in His influence.

       As an extra note, I’d like to say that, twice stated, the disciples were in one accord (2:1; )- being of one mind or agreeing in opinion or determination- when they were filled.  Perhaps that is why, as a body, the Spirit’s presence is not so evident today.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Who is my brother or sister?

       I grew up in a dysfunctional family like most people I knew, yet no matter what my family situation was like there was one thing that never changed.  I loved my siblings very much, even when they drove me crazy, never let me use the washroom, or embarrassed or scared the heck out of me.  Even when I smashed a piece of bologna in my sister’s face, or was angry at their rule breaking, or was jealous of their looks or success, I soon returned to loving them.  Regardless of our differences, I will always love them dearly.

       The reason I say this is because although I love my siblings very much, I feel a greater bond with my forever brothers and sisters- my siblings in Christ Jesus.  (Over time the Lord has transformed my heart this way.)  Jesus basically said the same thing:

There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother. Mr. 3:31-35 

       Where ever I go, I love all my brothers’ and sisters’ faces; their diversity in looks and personality, even their flaws and challenges of character.  I truly feel like they are a part of me, of my body, and that I cannot live complete without them.  It pains me to see one of them hurt because they are a part of me and so I hurt.  When they are rejoicing over blessings, I feel thrilled for them for the same reason.  It doesn’t matter to me AT ALL what denomination any of us are, for we are ONE BODY in the headship of Christ Jesus. (Rom. 12:4,5)

       No matter what part of the world you live in, what language you speak, how tall or short you are, no matter your age, whether you are considered a beauty or unattractive, if you are a genius or failed in school, no matter if you are wealthy or don’t have two cents to call your own, if you are truly born again then you are my brother or my sister, and you are valuable to me.  I need you to make me complete.

       And if I ever have the pleasure of meeting you on this present earth, then I will be honoured to know and spend time with you.  If we cannot meet until after our Lord’s return, then I look forward to having all eternity to get to know you.  Thank you for being part of my family.  Thank you for bringing a smile to my face when I think of how I… we belong to the greatest family in existence.  Thank You, Lord, for each and every one of my forever brothers and sisters.  I appreciate them all.

Hugs and love to you my family!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Trouble on the Line

       Her cracked and wobbly voice whispered over the line and in over forty years I had never heard her so distraught.  “I can’t stay… I can’t take this anymore so I’m leaving.”  Dropping everything I was doing and needed to do, I got into my car and drove to where she was staying.  We sat in the locked bathroom talking through the crisis until she was calmer and able to hang on.  That’s what you do for someone you love when they are in need.

       David loved and delighted in God and His Word.  Out in the pastureland, David learned experientially to trust in God for salvation, forgiveness, mercy, (Ps. 86:5) help, deliverance, (Ps. 86:13) compassion, refuge, protection and more. (Ps. 86:15) So when David was in need, he cried out to the Lord who loved him:

Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me. Ps. 86:6,7 

       David didn’t just call out to God in times of trouble, but daily. (Ps. 86:3)  He knew God would answer because He had always answered.  Though David knew his ‘God promised’ future, he maintained a humble and needy attitude, “for I am poor and needy.” (Ps. 86:1) The words here mean depressed in mind or circumstances, afflicted, lowly and want, destitute.  Destined for kingship, David saw his own humble status in creation and in his distressed, troubled times cried out to the Lord who loved him.

       And God would ‘come running’ to David.  Even if God didn’t answer David’s prayer the way he wanted, he was certain that God would respond. (v.7) Jesus talked about the Father’s love for us in the story of the prodigal son.  Upon seeing the son return, the Father runs out to him, embraces and kisses him. (Lk. 15:20) David knew the Father that way and trusted in His loving response.

       The Lord is listening to every one of us.  We are His children and He loves us.  He may not have to drop everything and come running when we are in trouble (‘cause He can do more than one thing at a time!!!) but He surely comes right when we need Him.  And even when His response is not the one we want, He gives us comfort, peace, joy, love, and stays with us through every crisis of life.