and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Arm Wrestling

       There was a fierceness in his eyes as he stared me down.  I stared back trying to discourage him from continuing his efforts toward my defeat.  Both our arms were strained but both of us were prepared to go all the way.  “Give it up” I encouraged to which he said, “No!”  Our muscles pounded for what seemed like an hour when the reality was only a few minutes, and still, we were basically deadlocked ‘in battle’.  Eventually my arm began to grow weary and give way, so I fought back as hard as I could.

       Ultimately, I was defeated and victory became my opponent’s.  What you don’t know in this true life story is that it was an embarrassing defeat for me.  Why, you ask?  Well, thanks for asking…  You see, at the time I was 21-ish and my opponent was my male cousin…  and he was only eight-ish at the time.  Okay, before you think I let him win, know that I tried my best and failed to defeat an eight year old at arm wrestling.  Really, I don’t think I’ll ever live that one down!  Nonetheless I learned that day that strength can be deceiving.

The LORD God is my strength… Hab. 3:19
Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. Ps. 81:1
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Ps. 46:1
The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.  Ex. 15:2
He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. Luke 1:51

       These are only some of the scriptures about God’s strength, which infinitely exceeds the strength of any man who ever lived.  According to many writers, our God is not only strong, but He is our strength.  And that strength translates into Him being strong enough to: provide refuge, save, heal and deliver us from any bondage we are in.

       As I was weakening under the muscle strain of arm wrestling, so we become weak in times of worldly strain.  When we are weak and ready to give up, He is the One we need to run to for help- and we know He can deliver it.  The Lord can be counted on.  God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?  (Nm. 23:19)

       The Bible reminds us to “Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.” (1Ch. ) so we may be confident in His strength, and though we are weak and fail continually, realize He is able to continue the work in us until completion (Php 1:6).  We need to stop relying on our own strength which ultimately fails, but to count on the Lord for His strength which will endure as long as He does- and that is forever!

       Be encouraged today that God is not a weak 21 year old, or weak like a world champion arm wrestler, but is all powerful with unlimited strength for He holds the worlds in their place (Heb. 1:3) and they do not fail because of Him (Is. 40:26).  Be left with this charge:

be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.    Eph. 6:10

Friday, May 18, 2012

Messy Face

       When my daughter was a year and a half, she was feeding herself well.  What that means is she was getting most of the food in her mouth but the rest ended up on the floor or more likely on her clothes or in her hair and on her face.  I never did understand how you could possibly get cereal behind your ears, but if there was any way possible for food to appear in unexpected places, my daughter would find it.

       I remember this one particular day when she was eating yogurt, and being fairly proficient with a spoon it shouldn’t have been a problem, but I returned to the room to find her entire face covered with pink goop.  In frustration I wondered if she would ever stop being so messy and I reached to grab the wet cloth to start cleaning her up.  Before I could even get to the washrag, she looked up at me with her big, ‘innocent’ brown eyes and smiled as she shoveled more yogurt into her mouth using her hand!  Of course my heart melted and I laughed at the joy in her face.

       We all lead ‘messy’ lives.  Messy lives full of laughter and loss, happiness and hurt, brilliant moments and embarrassing moments (I have lots of those J ), great oratory and angry words…  life is messy because we are in it and we are human and flawed.  So, sometimes we add to the mess, and other times it is others or nature itself that contributes to the mess, but that is life.  And our lives are fleeting, “…even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” Jm.   It is often the messy things of life that cause us stress and frustration.  We’d like everything to go smoothly, but it doesn’t.

       In our plans, we get everything accomplished that we want or need to get done.  In our schedule, the kids are never late getting ready, the car never gets a flat, the traffic jam never leaves us late for work, and Timmies gets our drive thru order right the first time- and we aren’t prevented from getting our blog post done on time!  See, no mess…  But that isn’t reality, so we have a choice to let the messiness bring us down, or accept it, step by step get through it, and trust God to make the best of it.  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Rom.

       God has a plan and purpose for our lives and it won’t be as neat and tidy as we’d like- but it sure will be more interesting.  His plans for us now include us maturing, and His plans for our future are an eternal life of peace and joy.  In between is the journey that helps us mature and grows our character in ways we cannot imagine.  We need be okay with the messiness of life and trust the Lord (who loves us) more:

There are many devices (plans, intentions) in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel (advice, plan, purpose) of the LORD, that shall stand.  Pr. 19:21
A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. Pr. 16:9
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  Jer. 29:11
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.  Jm. 1:2-4
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.  Pr. 3:5,6

Lord, help us trust in You more, and lean on our own ways less.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Little Angry Right Now

       As my daughter was watching a tv show, I commented on the fact a couple was finally getting married though they were already living together and had a 3 yr old son.  Her comment to me was “That’s normal!”  Normal is defined as: the usual, average, or typical state or condition.  So, I guess she’s right.  The usual, typical condition of this world is sinful.  How sad for us that sin is so prevalent we don’t even think negatively toward it, but shrug it off as just ‘what is’.  When did we become so indifferent to sin?

       I’m pretty tired of being told: it’s normal to have sex before marriage.  It’s normal to bear children out of wedlock.  It’s normal to ‘borrow’ things from work, to have someone lie for you about being home, to avoid paying taxes, to drive above the posted maximum, to charge more profit than needed for an item or service, etc.  The sad thing is- I’d like to say it isn’t the same within the church, the “called out ones”, but it is and we surely don’t appear called out from the world when we’re acting the same.  How will our children know the truth if we never take a stand against sin? 

It starts in our own lives:
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.  Rom.
So put to death your worldly impulses: sexual sin, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry).  Col 3:5
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  Rom. 6:6

We are to be an example:
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. 1Cor. 11:1
The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. Lk. 6:40
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.  Php. 3:17

And follow Jesus Christ:
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.  Mt. 16:24
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:  Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 1Pt. 2:21,22

Stand against sin:
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light  Eph. 5:11,13
Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.  Is. 58:1
Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men  2Cor.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men  Rom. 1:18
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world  Acts ,31

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

God Never Gets Bedhead

You really didn't think I'd use my photo, did you?

       This house we live in has a somewhat annoying feature, but since it was built in 1936, I think there were certain issues they never considered, such as who wants to watch themselves use the toilet.  The mirror is low enough that you can see yourself while seated, which makes some events very interesting  Anyway, this morning was good for a laugh as I gazed at my reflection and there was my bedhead with big eyes staring back at me.  Usually, my hair is not that poofy!  Since it made me laugh, I wondered if the Lord ever chuckles 
ok, leavin’ it there!

       Then I thought about how God would never get bedhead.  I mean, if you don’t sleep then it is logical that you don’t get bedhead.  A god who sleeps could never be omnipotent or omniscient because you can’t know what’s going on everywhere around the world if you are sleeping and if you can’t stay awake, you can’t be all powerful.  As for me, I could never esteem or serve a god who wasn’t all powerful or knowing.  There’s a good reason God does not sleep:

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. Ps. 121:1-8   
          (keep=preserve=same Hebrew word)

       God is our present help, but He can’t always help us or be with us if He is sleeping.  Scripture indicates He doesn’t sleep, but continually watches over His people to ‘keep’ them- hedge, guard, protect, attend to, observe, preserve, save them.  Wow! 
     He’s like our hedge of protection- to surround for defense, and fortify (Pr. 18:10),
     He guards us from many evils (2Th. 3:2),
     protects us from the enemy (Ps. 41:2),
     attends to our cries (Ps. 61:1),
     observes/ sees us (Gen. 16:13),
     preserves our lives (John ), and
     saves us from our sin (Rom. 5:8).  

Woohoo!!!  Now that’s a great thought for the day.  My God, Creator of heaven and earth, does not sleep so that He can watch over me and keep me safe just like a real Dad.

It makes me feel protect  and loved,
                                              How about you?

Monday, May 14, 2012

I could have missed it…

       As usual, I needed to ride my bicycle to church to work in the library yesterday.  Typically I will listen to worship music and sing along interspersed with communication with the Lord.  That still small voice inside told me to leave the music alone and ride in quiet with Him instead.  What, no music!!!  That is kind of like telling a talkative person not to speak because I love music that much, so of course as I began to ride, songs kept coming out and I’d have to stop myself.  It wasn’t until the second road in the route that I realized what I was missing because of my inability to just be present in the moment with all my faculties.

       Finally, I looked around- really looked and saw how much the morning was full of beauty and serenity. Birds were singing their cheerful songs and enjoying their flight through the crisp air.  Bunnies were hopping around finding leaves to munch on and terrain to explore.  Many squirrels were enjoying the morning while nibbling their snacks between their tiny paws.  And I almost missed it all- the simple beauty of the morning and the quiet voice of my Savior.

       I guess I’m wondering now how many other times I missed what God wanted me to enjoy simply because of my plans and desires getting in the way.  How many times do I miss seeing the beauty or feeling the joy in one moment because my mind is wandering to my own matters?  The Lord made this world for us, and made us to be in communication with Him.  Perhaps we need- I need to remember that so I don’t miss it...

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good… Gen. 1:31
The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.  Pr. 20:12
O Jehovah, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all: The earth is full of thy riches.  Ps. 104:24ASV
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Ps. 19:1
All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. Ps. 145:10
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.  Rev. 4:11

But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; And the birds of the heavens, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee; And the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these, That the hand of Jehovah hath wrought this, In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind? Job 12:7-10 ASV

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Moving Day

       Several years ago we had to move near the city so we could be closer to work- and services for one of our children.  We didn’t hire movers or even a truck to move our belongings, but took our time moving by van over a few weeks.  On the last day of the move, we packed and stowed the final boxes and bags from the house into the van.  It was a very long, exhausting day, and tinged by sadness for us as we fondly remembered the memories we made while we lived there.  Contents of one house and garage, one family of four, and one dog moved with a final goodbye.

       All our planning, decisions, completed lists, chores and tasks came down to one concluding move- for us a momentous occasion.  No one else really noticed us driving down the road to our new home.  There weren’t people starring at us as we went by, and it all happened within an hour.  Nobody watched us moving in, and the final load merely took a few hours to arrange in the new house.  Over all it was unremarkable- as most moves are these days.

       It wasn’t the same for another family back in history.  At 75, Abram was told by God to leave Haran and go to ‘a land’ with his family leaving his relatives behind (Gen. 12:1) and that God would bless him.  First thing I notice is that Abram didn’t freak out to hear God speak to him, so he must have heard him before, and knew who He was.  That’s good, because I certainly wouldn’t uproot my family just because some stranger tells me too!  Secondly, I always pictured Abram, his wife and nephew (who should have been left behind) and a few servants moving on down the road, but it was a lot bigger deal to Abram than it was for my little family.

       Abram didn’t have a van to move with.  It was done by walking with their possessions on animals or carts pulled by man or animals.  Abram was wealthy (v.5) and had herds, but he also had lots of servants, so it wasn’t just the three of them but all their servants as well.  There is potential for Abram to have 200 servants at this time as by Gen. 14:14 he had 318 male servants born in his house.  Lot had servants as well, so even if he only had 50, that means at least 370 people were walking 650kms ‘down the road’, through towns and villages with their tents, possessions and herds.  That must have been some sight, and I’m sure all the people on their route noticed them going by!

       At almost 20kms a day that would mean it took them about 35 days of walking.  Now, that’s a lot of planning, work and effort!  Glad it wasn’t me.  Why did he do it?  Abram had faith that God would do what He told him He would do.  It takes a lot of faith (Heb. 11:8) to uproot your family ‘village’, and walk them to an uncertain destination all in belief that a God you had never seen would keep His promise.  But it wasn’t that Abram’s faith was so massive as it was what or who his faith was in- a great, powerful, and faithful God who would keep His word.  Abram said of God, “LORD (Jehovah, Eternal), the most high (Supreme) God (Almighty), the possessor (Creator) of heaven and earth(Gen. 14:22).

       Perhaps we should be like Abram, taking God’s direction one step at a time even if our destination is uncertain and the effort exhausting.  And we don’t have to rely on our ‘great faith’ to get us there; we only need enough faith to see God for Who He is:  our Eternal Lord, Supreme, Almighty Creator of heaven and earth.  He is the One who will fulfill all His promises to us.

All praise and glory to the only living God, Creator of the universe!