and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sovereign God

              Bartolome Esteban Murillo

       This morning I had an interesting conversation with my son who I believe had a dream from the Lord.  He was not convinced as his faith is wavering and he is unsure of what he (a teen…) really believes.  The reasoning for his uncertainty- why would God give something to someone who isn’t sure they believe in Him?  One reason God is a sovereign God and can do as He pleases.  Many years ago I heard a couple of Christians say God could only heal you if you (or someone else) had faith.  They were basically saying God’s power is limited by our, well, anything.  If this were true, God would not be the sovereign God.

       The adjective sovereign means possessing supreme or ultimate power.  To say He is a sovereign God is to declare He is the Most High, and does as He pleases.  And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?(Dan. 4:35)  Scriptures are chock full of the sovereignty of God:

Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.  1Ch. 29:11
O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might?  Dt. 3:24
Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves  Ps. 100:3
But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.  Ps. 115:3

       We should not dethrone God by saying He cannot do any thing.  He can do as He pleases although there are things He may not choose to do, and that also is His right as supreme ruler.  Let’s consider Biblical history.  God allowed Stephen to die early for his beliefs, but saved Peter until later when he was martyred while John died of old age.  At the pool of Bethesda, Jesus healed one man but not the rest of the sick.  Moses was not allowed into the Promised Land due to sin, yet Hezekiah’s life was extended.  He sets one up and puts another down (Ps. 75:6,7)The Lord does as He pleases.   

       God’s sovereignty is absolute.  He is under no obligation to give account of Himself to anyone at anytime.  He is supreme and powerful (1Tm. 6:15,16).  His power is displayed as He wills, when and where He wills, and He will not give His glory to another (Is. 48:11).  If this sovereignty seems a bit over-the-top, or arrogant, consider the benefits of God’s sovereignty to us.

       We can find comfort in the fact God chose and made a way for our salvation, and made it available to each and every one of us despite our sins.  We can have peace and contentment in the midst of troubles by trusting in the sovereign God, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (Ps. 27:1)  If the Sovereign God is our Father and our Savior, we have nothing to fear.  He holds our lives in His hands and no one and nothing can take our lives unless He allows it!  I find much comfort in that.  We can have joy and rejoice in our God (Ps. 21:1) and because we trust in Him we can have joy because we know He defends and protects us (Ps. ).

       It is natural to complain when we are deprived of our hearts desires or we suffer affliction and loss.  This is because we think our possessions and lives are completely ours, and so, when challenged, our heart cries out against God.  But in the one who, by grace, has recognized God’s sovereignty, such murmuring is silenced, and instead, there is a bowing to the Divine will, and an acknowledgment that He has not afflicted us as sorely as we deserve.  (Arthur W Pink)  Look at Job’s response to his own troubles, “…the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job. 1:21)

       We must remember we cannot guarantee anything except to say ‘if the Lord will(Jm. -15) and to make our requests to God followed by the same words as Jesus, “…nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.(Lk. 22:42)  Thank God He is sovereign and can make sure our lives go as He plans.  We can look to Him our supreme and powerful God and confidently say, “Thy will be done.” (Mt. ) and...

Blessed be the name of the LORD.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Licorice Straws

       As I sit here munching on a piece of black licorice, it brings back memories of my childhood.  We didn’t have much candy growing up, but occasionally my Mom would buy red licorice because she liked to have a piece or two.  I don’t know who thought of it first, but we kids would bite off the ends of a piece and drink our milk through the licorice like it was straws.  (Now, I’m sure some of you think “that’s gross!” but I’ve tried it again as an adult and I still think it’s alright.  J )

       The best part about it for me was when the licorice would start getting really mushy on the inside of the ‘straw’ and more strawberry flavour would flow into my mouth.  The milk flowing through the inside of the licorice would begin to soften up the walls of the straw so that after a bit of time, minute particles of licorice flowed out with the milk.  The longer the milk remained inside the straw, the mushier it got, and the better the flavour.

       The Bible says, “Like newborn babies, thirst for the pure milk of the word so that by it you may grow in your salvation.(1Pt. 2:2)  We are to thirst for the Word because the more we drink, the more spiritually mature we will become and the more we will spread the Word we have learned.  It will help us: grow up (Eph. ,15), grow in grace and knowledge (2Pt. ), and increase faith (2Th. 1:3).  David said, “Thy word have I hid in my heart…” (Ps. 119:11)  He delighted in the word and thought about it day and night (Ps. 1:2). 

       Logically we can suggest that if we meditate day and night on the Word in which we delight, it will become lodged in our heart, and since the Bible says out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Lk. 6:45), then the Word will easily flow out in conversations in the world.  And like the licorice straws, the Word begins to soften and change the flavour of the world around us.  That’s why the scriptures talk about us being like salt (Mt. ), because salt brings out/ changes the flavour of whatever it’s put in.  Salt and licorice straws, both agents to change the world.

Let’s all be flavour changers in the world today.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Just Learnin’ How to Speak

       I am a 45 year old woman, and have been born again for 29 years yet I am just learning how to speak properly- to the Lord anyway.  Don’t believe me?  It’s true.  For many years I often started my sentences with ‘but’ such as, “But God, I am not strong enough.” Or how about the many times I said, “I am not able  Other times I replied to His instructions with “and then I can ____, right?” as opposed to just doing.  But these days there is a two word phrase I have come to appreciate in my conversations with the Lord.  I will.”

       Did you know that it says over 1500 times in the Bible (KJV) the exact words “I will”?  Honestly, I got tired reading each one so I began scanning, and most of it is not man saying “I will” but God saying “I will”: make, cause, destroy, establish, remember, shew, bless, give, know, not, pursue, send, chasten, etc.  God determines He will do something, and it gets done! 

       We, on the other hand, often say we will do something and as long as it still feels good to do it, we’ll do it, but if not, we’ll justify our excuses as righteous.  Maybe we’ll just sleep in instead because the kids kept us up so late, or go to Timmies for a fix.  Perhaps we’ll continue our exciting conversation with a friend instead of completing our ‘I will’.  I think, I think, I think   I think too much.  It is much easier to just do what I’m supposed to without always questioning.

       So, my new answer to everything God wants or says is, “I will.”  It’s been great in this new place where peace and joy are the predominant feelings.  Last night, however, I heard a difficult word to which I needed to say, “I will” accept.  Though I said it within a few minutes, I didn’t really mean it until this morning, but I determined to keep saying it until my flesh gave in.  My flesh wants to usurp authority over God’s plans just to accommodate my feelings, but I continue to remind myself that God knows best.

       No one said it would all be easy.  In fact, Jesus said there would be difficulties.  “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)  But our Lord has overcome the world and with His strength shining through our weakness (2Cor. 12:9), we will not only survive, but we will overcome (1John 5:4,5) and live abundant lives (John ).

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


       Being a ‘good’ parent is the hardest job I know; and the rewards, especially in the teenage years, are few.  We want to protect our children from harm whether it is physical or emotional.  We want them to learn from us so they don’t have to go through the hard times like we did.  We desire only the best for them, to have their dreams come true, to be married to a person who loves and honours them, to raise healthy children to experience unconditional love in their lives, etc.

       At the same time, we allow them to make safe choices and feel the consequences of those choices so that they learn from their mistakes.  When they don’t listen to our advice, we watch as they suffer the penalties of their decisions, even while it breaks our hearts.  We watch as the relationship difficulties ‘beat’ on them.  There are a lot of those moments and we can’t solve the problem, but only bring comfort.

       My son came home from school upset after an incident of cruelty happened.  This bothered me as he has enough to struggle with and doesn’t need more.  So it was in my sadness I went to spend some time with the Lord.  It was quiet, and no words needed to be said as He held me in His arms and I felt His warmth and peace surround me.  Thank You Father for being with me.

       You see, at some point in time, the Lord decided to adopt me (Rom. ).  He didn’t have to- He wanted to.  I’ll never quite understand why  I stood before Him a malnourished, filthy, scarred little girl, and He chose me (1), picked me up (2), brought me home, cleaned me up (3), tended my wounds (4) and let me live with Him (5).  He’s my Father, my parent now, and He wants no less for me than I want for my own children.

       My Dad wants only the best for me.  He wants me to listen to His advice so that I don’t have to suffer the penalties of bad decisions.  He watches as I keep wrestling control back over to me instead of trusting Him, and He probably shakes His head and wonders when I will finally learn.  I’m sure His heart breaks when I suffer and when life beats on me.  But one thing I know  My Dad is there when I need Him.  I can run to Him, my refuge (6) in times of distress; my shelter (7) in times of trouble.  He’s the One who loves me without conditions.

       He loves me because I am His.  It is not because I am perfect, or beautiful, or smart, or talented, or ‘successful’ or any of the other reasons we ‘love’ people for today.  It is because I am His child; fully, completely His.  And someday when people look at me, I hope they will say, “You look just like your Dad.” 

1.  Eph. 1:3-6                             2.  Ps. 40:2                                    3.  Is. 1:18; Ps. 51:1,2
4.  Ps. 147:3                               5.  John 14:16,17; 15:4                 6.  2Sm. 22:3; Is. 25:4
7.  Ps. 61:3; 46:1

Monday, June 11, 2012

Jesus at the Door (A Story)

       There He was, Jesus- the head of the church, just standing at the door to our sanctuary to shake people’s hands as they went in.  Everyone I saw had to file past Him to get in for service, but I was quite far back in the crowd so I had the opportunity to observe all the familiar faces of the regular attendees: the pastors, the studiers of the Word, the worshippers, the teachers, the prayer warriors, the back seaters, the hiders, the servers, the non-servers we were all there. 

       All of us could hear Jesus’ voice resonate over the hum of the crowd; as He shook each hand, He said hello to every person, by either saying, “Hi, I know you _______; glad you are here,” or “Hi, I don’t know you but it’s good to see you.”  It made me wonder why some He knew and some He didn’t.  I speculated on each person as they went by, whether Jesus knew them or not, and sometimes those I was sure He would know, He didn’t, while some I was sure He wouldn’t know, He did.

       It made me wonder what He would say when I went through.  People would know the truth of my inconsistent relationship with Him; they might find out my speech is more godly than my actions.  They might find out I rely more on myself and the world around me, than on Jesus.  They might find out my lack of trust What if He doesn’t know me?

The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.  Na. 1:7
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.  Mt. 7:21-23

       The truth is, it doesn’t matter how many scriptures we know and can quote, how ‘spiritually’ we can pray, how skilled we are at worship, how often we serve, the truth is Jesus either knows us or He doesn’t and it is based on our relationship with Him.  Either we spend the time with Him (not just reading about Him and asking for things) and truly get to know and understand Him, or we don’t.  It’s our choice really.

Oh Lord, help us to know You better every day, so that when we stand before You we can hear You say

                            “Well done (insert name), welcome! 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Visual Lessons of the Heart

 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh,

and I will give you an heart of flesh.  And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.  
Ez. 36:26

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.  Ps. 147:3

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.  Ps. 34:18

or if your heart has grown cold...

And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.  Mt. 24:12

Hereby perceive (know) we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us…  1Jn.
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. ,39

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.  Ps. 34:8