and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Quiet of the Dunes

       It was late and finally, the kids were tucked away in their sleeping bags in the tent along with Albert who was reading on our side.  It seemed the rest of the campground was asleep or very quietly sitting around their campfires because the stillness of the night called to me.  After letting Albert know I was going for a walk, I set off on a new adventure into unknown territory.  This was a park we’d never been in before, and I was just discovering all it had to offer.  Drawing near to some sand dunes, I heart the Lord whispering, “Come be with Me.”

       Though my footing wasn’t sure, I managed to climb to the top of the dunes and there discovered an isolated area of great beauty as mounds of sand opened up into the dark but starry sky.  In that quiet solitude, the Lord met with me, worship flowed out of me naturally, and the presence of the Lord was strong.  It felt like the Lord and I were the only two people in the universe that night.  What a precious time it was, and I returned to that place as often as I was able that week.

       With all the busyness of life, we sometimes forget to find that quiet place in our lives to meet with God and focus on Him alone.  Of course He is with us always (Mt. 28:20) and we ought to be communicating throughout our day, but there is a special connection made when we enter into a secret, quiet place with Him alone to be with one another.  Jesus Himself went out to a solitary place to meet with God (Mr. 1:35), and also taught His disciples to do the same (Mr. 6:31).  Sometimes, we just need to be still so we can ‘see’ God (Ps. 46:10).

       Come close to God, and he will come close to you” is found in Jm. 4:8 ISV.  The Lord will meet with us if we just take the time to be alone with Him.  If we read the entire Bible, we see how God attempted over and over to make a home where He could be with man, because He wants to be with us- “…that I may dwell among them…” (Ex. 29:46).  He is the Father who meets with us in the secret place (Mt. 6:6), and there His peace will envelope us (Is. 26:3) because our minds are focused on Him and not ourselves, our troubles or our desires.

For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strengthIs. 30:15 NKJV


       These are great words, but in their purest form are found only in one place- in the Lord God.  We must find the time and place to meet with Him every day when we can focus on Him alone, setting aside all other concerns to be with Him.  My living room has become my ‘quiet place on the dunes’ where I meet with God, and there I find rest in Him, and like the children of Israel on their journey, so is He with me on mine (Ex. 33:14).

My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Necklace

       There came a day when my mom wanted to do something nice for her four daughters, so she decided to buy us all rings, and not cheap ones either.  Which one did I want?  None.  I never really wore rings except for my wedding ring, and I didn’t see any reason to have one just sitting in a drawer somewhere so one day I could give it to my child.  There wouldn’t be any sentimental value to her either because I would never have worn it.  So, I told my mom all was fine and I didn’t need a ring, but appreciated the thought, but she felt I needed something from her.

       There were only two things I ever wanted from my mom, one was the crèche (manger) we had out at Christmas for as long as I could remember.  The other was a necklace that I saw her wear for special occasions.  It was an interesting necklace with three lines of clear stones off of a longer one, with silver coloured metal.  So, I said, “if you really want to give me something, I would like that necklace and I explained which one.  “But that’s not worth very much,” she replied, “I’m spending a lot on the rings.”  To me, her necklace was of far greater value than any ring she could ever give me.  To me it was priceless.

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ  Php. 3:7,8 NKJV

       To me, all the expensive jewelry in the world couldn’t stack up to the one piece I really wanted.  Just before the above scripture, Paul is saying how valuable his life had been, but once he had found Jesus, and Jesus had changed his life, then everything else that had been important or valuable in his life was no longer considered important compared to the excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Everything else became like rubbish- unimportant and to be disposed of.  Fanatical?  Some would say so, but what would Jesus say.

       The very first commandment is to love our Lord with all of our physical and mental being (Dt. 6:5; Lk. ) and we are to seek first the kingdom of God and His rigteousness (Mt. ).  We are to be crucified with Christ (Gal. ) so that He can restore our lives and we can live in His power; Paul understood that knowing Christ and His resurrection power were more valuable than anything.  that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,Php.

       I’m beginning to wonder if the reason we aren’t seeing the power displayed in His people today is that we don’t value knowing the Lord and His power more than the other things and people in our lives.  Perhaps we have not crucified our flesh at the cross and so we are not ready to have His power flowing through us.  Whatever it is, I’m ready to say, “Lord, You truly are more valuable to me than anything.  Help me be conformed to Your death and count the rest as loss.”

What about you?

Thursday, July 19, 2012


       Last week was a good, but tiring week as my kids, my daughter’s friend and I went on a camping trip to a Christian family camp; hubby did not have the week off of work.  It is amazing how tiring it can be preparation wise, set up, take down, and all the other challenges in between.  This year there were some unexpected emotional and mental efforts required to get through the week… and then we came home to clean up, file for our son’s passport, had three days to prepare for our daughter to go out west to vacation with family, and perform normal household operations in between the other tasks.

       All I want to do is sleep- for a very long time.  With the weather today, cuddling up under a warm comforter and drinking hot chocolate while watching a pleasant show seems rather appealing presently.  Obviously, I just now understand the state of exhaustion I am in, and I have to wonder how other people get through this, especially those out in the world on the mission field without the comforts of home. 

       So, today I’m going to relax a little bit longer, wake up from that fantasy, and get to work on the tasks I need to finish for tonight.  It won’t be all warm and relaxing, but it will help to achieve the work that needs to be accomplished; and as for the exhaustion, I will trust the Lord to help me through the physical weariness and pray for His strength to help me carry on.  Perhaps that is what people on the mission field do too.

My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.  Ps. 119:28

But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me.  Ps. 22:19

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.  Is. 40:31

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.  Ps. 28:7

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.  Php. 4:13

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Who Is God to You?

       How do you see God?  When I was young and before I was born again, God was this far away, mean and angry, powerful being who watched us from afar and shot lightning bolts at us when we misbehaved  Obviously, if you believe God is distant and angry, you would be fearful and afraid of drawing closer to a person like that.  You would feel like an unwilling slave forced to perform services to please the overseer.

       Some people had very strict fathers, and this leads them to see God as the authoritarian teacher-like person who is watching everything they do, demanding best efforts.  If this is our perception of God, we may live our lives trying to please Him to get ‘good marks’ in life by doing more works or giving more effort.  Those times we fail, we may feel worthless and like a failure.

       Other people had liberal fathers who tried to be lenient friends and never really acted the part of parent.  This may lead one to believe God as our friend would allow us to do anything we please without consequence, and that He would tolerate our sins, so we don’t need to make effort to change, or confess and forsake, or be sorry for and pray for help against our sins.  God surely wants to be our friend, but a true friend always tells the truth and warns us what pitfalls lie ahead.

       Jehovah God, the Father is none of these, rather, He is the perfect Father, doing everything right, balanced in love and judgment, able to see us (Gen. 16:13) for who we really are- and can be.  He has no selfish motives but wants us to be all we should be.  Sometimes He rescues us from situations (Ps. 41:1), while other times He walks with us through them (Is. 43:2).  Sometimes He allows us to face the consequences of our choices, and other times He hounds us until we change our minds.  No matter how He chooses to deal with us as His child, we can be sure He is out for our good (Jer. 29:11; John ) and wants what is best for us.

       Who we see God as being will determine our relationship with Him.  If we are reluctant to draw closer in relationship with Him, then perhaps we are not seeing Him correctly, and we need to fix our perceptions of who He is.  We should read the Word which will help us see Him more with a balanced view; the Father who loves and corrects us (Pr. 3:12; Heb. 12:6).  When we know His love is sure and He is not waiting for us to fail so He can whip us, then we will want to draw closer, and He will draw nearer to us (Jm. 4:8a).

Who IS God to you?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Amish Grace

       Only a few weeks ago I watched a film that would really challenged my own beliefs when it comes to forgiveness.  Of course I knew you needed to forgive, but I thought you could wait until you got over the initial hurt or grief, and then forgive.  Amish Grace, put out in 2010 is a film about the Amish in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania is the story of the Amish community’s response after a shooting in their school by Charles Roberts.

       *It was Oct. 2006 when Charles entered the school, barricaded himself and 10 of the girls in the school house shot the girls and killed himself.  Five of the girls died in that attack, one was left ‘vegetative’.  The movie shows a small group of Amish men going to the house of Mrs. Roberts soon after the shooting and extending forgiveness to the widow and her now deceased husband- and in the movie, one of the dads who just lost a child (or 2) goes with them! 

       Watching I thought, well that’s a bit much, expecting a man to forgive right after the murder occurred; that isn’t very sensitive to his feelings.  Weird how we always think feelings are the best determinant of anything Anyway, one of the men says something about God forgives us so we must forgive others.  Still, I’m thinking- but right after the shooting?

       Then I remembered Jesus saying, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” while He was dying- in pain with blood pouring down, the criminal execution of an innocent man (Lk. ).  Then there is Stephen who upon being stoned cried out these last words, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge(Ac. 7:60).  These people weren’t following the belief that ‘forgiveness is for you, not the other person’, but rather ‘as I am forgiven by a merciful God, so I must extend forgiveness to others’.

But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Mt. 6:15

To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. 2Co ,11 

       We are commanded to forgive or we will not be forgiven- that’s what it says.  And, it is talking about unintentional and intentional transgressions!  In other words, whether we think the person deserves it, whether or not they did great evil, no matter the motives involved, we are to forgive.  We don’t have to feel it first, or see their remorse for they will stand before the living God for their own actions to be judged; we will face Him for ours.  We must forgive or the door will be open to the wiles of the enemy.

       Gone in a Heartbeat tells the true story of a 2007 shooting in Colorado Springs at New Life church where a gunman, Matthew Murray, shot two girls- Stephanie (18 and a twin) and Rachel Works (16), killing the elder one immediately (the other died in hospital), shot and seriously wounded the father, and then continued on into the church.  The mother and two other daughters were not shot.  One of the daughters who watched the shooting right beside her instantly forgave the shooter though one sister’s dead body lay near her and the other wounded.

       These people are great examples of the forgiveness Christ showed.  So when we think we cannot forgive, we can, and we must.  No, it is not easy, but because we have been forgiven we must (despite our feelings, beliefs, and who deserves what) extend forgiveness like the Amish and the Works family, and just like Jesus did while He died on the cross for our sins though we did not deserve it.  Forgiveness is a choice and an act of obedience, not a feeling.

*I haven’t researched enough to know what in the film is accurate to life, but my response was to that which was portrayed in the film.