and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Missing His Presence

        Sometimes I’m a little dense.  It takes me a while to figure something out; like the other day I was wondering why I was down and ‘draggy’.  I went through my checklist of potential reasons, and none of them fit.  Finally I hit the nail on the head when I realized I’d been reading my Bible, studying, meditating on it, praying for others, blogging, talking about the Lord, etc, but I had not actually taken time to be in the Lord’s presence.  You will show me the path of life (alive, fresh, strong): in Your presence is fullness (satisfaction) of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures for forevermore.” NKJV  Life, joy and times of refreshing (Acts ) are in His presence!!!

       We get so busy sometimes we forget to just be with Him, love on Him and allow Him to love on us.  I can’t imagine our spouses being okay with us reading about them, thinking about them, talking to others about them, but never actually spending face to face time with them.  Certainly, the marriage would not be a good one.  So, our relationship with the Lord is no different and we need face to face time with Him (even if we don’t in fact see His face).  The Bible speaks about being in God’s presence, but the word for presence is paniym meaning face, therefore paniym= presence= face.

       Of course you’d be right to say we are always in His presence and that is true (Ps. 139:7), but watch a married couple sitting, one watching t.v. and the other reading, and you’ll see how you can be in the very same room and still not be with each other or loving on each other.  Like Joshua, God’s presence goes with us as His children, and we find rest in Him (Ex. 33:14).  But, being in the Lord’s presence is not a passive thing, we are to seek (search out, strive after) it:

Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore. Ps. 105:4
When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. Ps. 27:8
Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell (settle) in thy presence.
          Ps. 140:13

       According to these scriptures, we Christians are to strive and search out the Lord’s presence.  Sometimes though, we can get so busy 'doing' that we neglect just 'being' in God's presence.  The result is a stale, lifeless, sad, lethargic life, and not the abundant life the Lord wants us to have (John 10:10)  We need to actively enter His presence often.  Without doubt I needed to.  And it only took a few minutes of being in His presence before I began to cry as it felt so good to be there.  Why, oh why did it take me so long to figure it out?  Life, joy and times of refreshing are in the presence (face) of our Lord.  In fact
I’ve got to go...
So let’s all cry out to the Lord like the Psalmist:

Hide not thy face far from me  Ps. 27:9
Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Ps. 51:11

Friday, May 04, 2012

Childlike Excitement

       “Cover your eyes mommy, cover your eyes,” he cried, “I have a supise for you.”  He pulled my shirt forward, so with my eyes covered, and with a lot of quiet prayer, I followed after my very young son.  “K. Sit down. Don’t peek!”  When it was the right time, he pulled my hands off my eyes so I could see; only he was still standing right in front of me!  Looking around I noticed colours peeking from behind his head.

       “Honey, could you move so I can see better?”  He went over to his project, an outrageous building made of big, colourful Lego sitting on the floor, so that he could show me all the parts.  It wasn’t ‘pretty’ or even complete, but it had a massive tower, partially bending over, and he was just so proud of it.  I couldn’t help being excited at the marvelous job he had done.

       A similar childlike exhilaration is present almost every time I read the Word of God.  I just never know what new- old thing will ‘jump’ out at me, and that makes it new and fresh all the time.  It is interesting to note the person in the Bible who wrote the most often about the Word, was also considered by God to be a ‘man after my own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.’ (Acts )  David felt an excitement about the Word and about God who inspired the Word.  He wrote:

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.  Ps. 119:18
          Open- uncover 
             Behold- look intently at, regard with favor, have respect for
             Law- precepts, statutes

       Uncover my eyes so that I am no longer blind to the truth of the words I read that you have given to us oh Lord.  Allow me to see, study, chew on and consume those wonderful, life giving words so that they may plant themselves in my heart and in my spirit, and I may obey them all the days of my life.  How does God uncover our eyes?  First know that the unregenerate man (unbeliever) will struggle understanding the Word as the Spirit of God does not dwell within him (1Cor. ; 2Cor. ,16; Luke 24).  The Holy Spirit is given to us at salvation (Acts ) and He helps us understand the things freely given to us by God through teaching us.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 1Cor. ,13

Oh Lord, I pray for all believers- that You would open our eyes to behold the wondrous things out of thy Word.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

In His Hand

       There is a song by Holly Dunn that talks about her Dad’s hands and what they meant to her as a child.  It seemed that his hands were used for good purposes in her life, but some of that included discipline at his hands.  Eventually, she realized that whether his hands were soft and gentle or hard as steel, they were always used in love.

Daddy's Hands 
Daddy's hands were soft and kind
           when I was cryin´.
Daddy´s hands, were hard as steel
           when I´d done wrong.
Daddy´s hands, weren´t always
But I´ve come to understand.
There was always love in Daddy´s

       There are plenty of scriptures that speak about God’s hands in creation, the world and in our lives.  Though Ezra’s belief of the living God was deep in his heart, it is quite another thing to confess it out loud to another man, especially if that man is an unbeliever who is a powerful man of status.  Ezra spoke to King Artaxerxes, the king ruling over most of the ‘known’ world at that time, and stated his belief in the hand of God:

For I was ashamed to ask of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way, because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them that seek (search out; strive after; desire) him, for good; but his power (strength) and his wrath (anger) is against all them that forsake him.  Ezra (Forsake- relinquish (withdraw from, leave); leave entirely, abandon, depart from, reject)

       So Ezra didn’t want to ask the king for help against their enemies, because the Israelis had told him that the hand of God was strong enough to protect them.  His hand is good (bountiful, in favor, gracious, kind, loving, prosperous) to those who seek Him.  To those who forsake Him however, they are cold as steel in judgment.  All through the Old Testament we see where God’s judgment fell upon the people who disobeyed. 

       So we see that we can choose which side of the Father’s hands we experience by choosing to strive after Him or choosing to reject Him.  It has always been our choice.  The Father wants us to be His children, He desires a relationship with us, but our position as children is one of learning beneath ‘His hand’ which includes discipline if we disobey.  As parents, many of us understand the need for discipline and it is not simply getting a child to do as told, rather, an attempt at having the child learn an important lesson needed for further maturity.  So, we have these two:

God’s hand of protection (Is. 51:16; 49:2)
God’s hands of judgment (Ps. 111:7; Ez. )

What is your preference?

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Not Meant For This World

       I’m a softy, and I know it.  Driving by a dead animal makes me tear up.  Ambulance and fire sirens cause the same reaction because I know someone- somewhere is probably hurt and their loved ones are suffering.  Newspapers and t.v. news are off limits because even one story of loss, suffering or evils of this world can send me into depression for a time; and if I want to research a distressing subject, I have to wait until I feel mentally strong enough.  It is enough that at all times in the periphery of my mind is the fact that many of my fellow human family members are sick, hurt, dying, being tortured, raped, starving, alone, disease ravaged, in slavery, in fear of their lives, living in war, tormented, devastated by natural disasters and on and on.

       Often I think, ‘I wasn’t meant for this world’ which of course gets an immediate thought response of, ‘really none of us were.’  This world was not the plan: the Garden of Eden was.  A place of perfect beauty where there was no death or dying, no loss or pain, no suffering or sin.  A place where the Lord could walk with us, speak to us face to face, where we could learn, grow up and be truly free: the real Utopia.  That is, right up until man(kind) destroyed it.

       Yes, make no mistake, we did that, because if it were you or I back in the garden, we would have done the very same thing Adam and Eve did.  To think otherwise makes you delusional.  Just look at how we can’t even remain sinless for a month- a week- a day- even an hour.  We don’t know how long a time Adam and Eve lived before sinning, but I do know we don’t go very long!  The problem is ultimately that our self desires are more important to us than anything or anyone else.  Blessedly, this is not the end of our story.

       Jesus knew from the foundations of the earth (Rev. 13:8) that He would be the sacrifice to redeem man from their sin, yes, even before they sinned.  You see, God is all knowing* and knew man would sin, so They made a plan for redemption that involved Jesus being born in human form, being tempted, teaching with signs, dying and rising to life again by the power of God.

       It is for our sake Jesus went through it all (Is. 53:4-6) so that our eternal life (Rev. 22:5) could be the perfect place that They always wanted us to have: beautiful (Rev. 21:2), with no death or dying, no loss or pain, no suffering (Rev. 21:4; 7:17) or sin**.  A paradise (2Cor. 12:4) where there will be no hunger or thirst, no violence or wars, only perfect peace, rest (Rev. 7:16,17; Job ; 2Th. 1:7) and joy (Ps. 16:11) where we will forever (Ps. 23:6) be with our Lord face to face (1Th. ).  That was the plan for man from the start, and that’s where we were all meant to be.

*Feel free to read scriptures about God being all knowing or omniscient:
Job 24:23; 1 Sm. 16:7; 23:9-13; 1 Kn. ; 2 Kn. 13:19; 1 Chr. 28:9; 23; Ps. 33:13-15, 81:14-15; 139:1-6, 139:13-16; 147:5; Pr. 15:3; Is. 40:13-14, 28; 48:18 Jer. 16:17; 17:10; Luke 16:15; Rom. ; -36; Heb. ; Rev. 2:23

** see site below for logical reasons why there will be no sin.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Why I Like Flywheel

       Sherwood Pictures has put out a few films now, but the very first one was called Flywheel.  The video quality is fairly poor, the acting is, well, unskilled, but it has become my second favorite movie of the four they have released.  You wonder why?  Let me tell you why- in my opinion…

       In the movie, a ‘Christian’ car dealer who prides himself in cheating customers out of money (though they were unaware of it) is struggling at home with relationships and in making his business prosper.  Eventually, at his lowest point he returns to the Lord and stops overcharging people.  But the storyline doesn’t end there.  He not only goes on and apologizes face to face to all the people he cheated, but he gives back the money that he stole from them by overcharging.  Most of them are reasonable about it, but one older lady gives him a rough time.  He even has to face the pastor who bought a car for his daughter there- talk about humiliating.

       The reason I like this film so much is its message of the highest integrity:  it’s all good and well to ask for God’s forgiveness for your sin against another person, and to never do it again, BUT you still have to repent to that person (say you were wrong and are sorry) face to face if at all possible and then ask their forgiveness.  Tough, yes, but that isn’t the end of it either.  You are supposed to make it right with them.  Ouch, that’s the part that costs.  It costs us time, reputation, possibly money, and most of us just don’t want to work that hard or humble ourselves that much.

       As Christians, we should be walking in the highest integrity as our God is the most integrious person in existence, and we are to conform to His image.  (1Kn. 9:4, Job 2:3, Pr. 11:3, Job 27:5 and many more scriptures-KJV contain the word integrity.)  As to the restitution, it is going back and making things right for things you took or the people you hurt. It is "restoring" to the original owner what is rightfully theirs -- property or respect and reputation.  Personal restitution is the most difficult because there is no item to return or pay for, only a question “What can I do to make this right” and humble submission.  Jesus approved the restitution of Zacchaeus in Lk. 9:8,9.  Think about the scriptures below, and what Christ Jesus would want  us to do.

And let us all start living with the highest integrity and be able to say like Paul, “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men. Acts 24:16

Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Mt. 5:23,24
With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;  Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Eph. 4:2,3
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Pp. 2:3,4
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.  Eph. 5:21
1Pt. 5:5- (younger 'submit' to elder) (all be 'subject' one to another) –same greek words. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Fight

       It was fascinating to observe; one creature against another.  One, who is generally considered beautiful to behold and peacefully serene to watch, and the other considered a noisier, messier annoyance by many who live near the water.  You see, the Mute swan had made its nest in this vicinity, and the Canadian goose had dared to land within the nesting territory, and that was not okay by the swan’s judgment.  So he gave chase to protect the nest, continuing to go after the goose meter by meter until he left.  The honking, the wing flapping, the continual effort went on for fifteen minutes because the goose was quite determined to come back, but the swan would have none of it.  The ‘fight’ for territory continued until the swan felt the goose was a safe distance from the nest.

       The instinct to protect is natural and given to us from birth- creation even.  Parents of most species are known for protecting their young, and human parents belong in that category.  Just watch all the parents race to the school to defend their youngins from a threat.  I’ve watched as they storm through the door into the office already steaming, and vociferously demand to see the principal.  There’s been a problem and the parent is here to fight!  Defending the territory comes with parenthood.

       As Christians, we set aside this part of our nature deeming it to be beneath our dignity or even against our perceptions of Biblical behaviour, when in reality, standing up for righteousness is one of our jobs.  (Many great ‘men of faith’ stood up for righteousness in their day; Moses, Noah, the prophets…)  Instead, we calmly stand by and watch as society brings garbage items to see (movies, magazines), to hear (currant music lyrics), and to play (violent video games- some with sexual overtones) into our children’s lives.  We are no longer fighting to keep our children safe from harm.  It’s too hard, and we’ve given up.  Somehow we’ve gotten the impression that our protection of them is only from physical harm, and we’ve stopped fighting to clear the dangers from our territory.

       I think we should start fighting against the sin and value degradation around us.  The least we could do is voice our opinions in society like when the government or schools remove prayer, or when they allow inappropriate activities to happen within ‘our borders’.  We should not be passive parents in this culture, but raise our voices (even if ignored) until someone, somewhere listens.  Also, we need to lift up our children in prayer for there is a spiritual battle taking place over their lives in this world, and we should be proactive in defending our spiritual territory. 

       Is it worth it?  Can the battles even be won?  It is not our job to worry about the outcome, only to stand up for what is right.  For instance, another U.S. state has passed a law that creation may be taught in public schools as a viable theory.  Someone is fighting hard over there for their territory, and their battle ended in victory.  But a battle cannot be won if it is not even started! 

       I am just as guilty at being the typical passive parent, and I need to change that.  For now I’m going to start fighting harder over the spiritual territory around us.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Eph.   As parents, we are to lead by example, and what kind of example are we to our children when we passively accept the sin and unrighteousness of society to reign?  Let us all begin to fight for the territory around us and make a difference in the world, and in our children’s lives.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Eph. 6:11
As a troubled fountain, and a corrupted spring, So is a righteous man that giveth way before the wicked.
              Pr. 25:26 ASV
Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Is. 1:17
Thus saith the LORD; Execute ye judgment and righteousness… Jer. 22:3
Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.  Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. Pr. 31:8,9