and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, September 01, 2012


       Wanting to be perfect has given me a lot of grief over the years.  While I don’t expect perfection of others, for some reason, I do strive for it myself in the things I do or create.  Although I know perfection is truly impossible, there is a certain level I must achieve in order to be satisfied with the job.  Sometimes, if I don’t think I can do the job to my satisfaction, I won’t even try.  That very fact led to many years living in a messy house!

       However, perfection doesn’t exist in this world- just look up the definitions which are full of ‘as good/ close as can be’, ‘as free as possible’, and never just faultless or flawless.  Certainly, no human could ever be perfect, as the ‘perfect’ person for you (that you married) often turns into the most flawed person within a few short years!  As to perfect objects, birthed in the depths of the earth, diamonds are considered valuable and are treasured, especially good quality ones.  Here is a description of diamond clarity:

Every diamond is unique. None is absolutely perfect under 10× magnification, though some come close. Known as Flawless diamonds, these are exceptionally rare. Most jewelers have never even seen one.

       Notice none are absolutely perfect and that is under 10x magnification which leads me to wonder, what if the magnification were stronger?  Would we see even more flaws?  It is a good thing that God doesn’t look at us under magnification because our flaws are already visible to the eye.  Any closer inspection would surely make it much worse.  Blessedly though, we have the best solution for cleaning available to us in Jesus Christ.

       Just as the blood was sprinkled 7x (Lev. 16:14 -perfect atonement) on the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant (Ex. 25:10-22) so that God looking down at the commandments inside (Ex. 25:16) saw only the blood of atonement and not how many laws His people had broken, so when He looks at us through Jesus’ blood, He sees us cleansed.  “…the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.(1Jh. 1:7) 

But when Christ came … he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that was not made by human hands … Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood he went into the Holy of Holies once for all and secured our eternal redemption.  Heb. 9:11,12

       Let’s get back to perfection though.  There is One perfect thing in the universe, He dwells in heaven (Ec. 5:2) and is our God.  Not only is He blemish free in character, but also in actions.  He is holy (Rev. 4:8), a just God and Savior (Is. 45:21), a righteous God (Ps. 7:9), He doesn’t lie (Nm. 23:19) or change (Mal. 3:6) His nature.  He doesn’t need to change who He is, for who He is, is perfect.

your Father which is in heaven is perfect.  Mt. 5:48
As for God, his way is perfect  Ps. 18:30

       And so we can find/ ‘see’ perfection in this universe.  Any time we enter God’s presence, we are able to be in the presence of His perfection and there we find many treasures*.  We can enter into His presence because of what Jesus has done for us (Eph. 3:11,12) at the cross and resurrection.  In fact, at His death the veil was torn (Mr. 15:38) giving us access to the presence of the Almighty (Heb. 10:19,20) and His perfection.  Ah, what wonderful perfection it is!

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling,
and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty,
dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. 
Jude 1:24,25

*Scriptures on some of the treasures found in the presence of Almighty God
Ac. 3:19; 1Chr. 16:27; Ps. 27:4; Ex. 33:14; Ps. 16:11;

Friday, August 31, 2012

Secure in the Calling

       The first time I saw him, he was sitting at the front of the sanctuary listening to the testimonies of some of the people in the congregation at my Wed. night church.  At the time, I didn’t know who he was, and a different man was speaking, so it wasn’t until the end of the service that we met and shook hands.  He was friendly and welcoming but I still didn’t know he was the pastor until I asked somebody.  He’s a quiet, thoughtful man with an intensity for the Lord that I really appreciate.

       By the next Wed. I saw that almost every person who attends that service participates in some way: praying, reading Scripture, testifying, on the worship team, taking offerings and even speaking.  It is rare to see that percentage of people involved in a service, but at the same time, there is an encouraging atmosphere to support it.  Eventually, Pastor asked me to sing on the team (obviously he’d never heard my voice J ) or maybe to speak some day.  Though it wasn’t my time to do that again, I waited and watched as he continued to encourage people to use their gifts and their testimonies to help others, and I thought

        Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be?  We all have gifts and talents that God has given us from birth, and from our new birth (Rom. 12:5-8), and since He gave them to us because it pleased Him (1Cor. 12:18), He expects us to use them.  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:(Eph. 4:12)  “…the whole body is fitted together perfectly, and each part in its own special way helps the other parts, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.(Eph. 4:16 TLB)

       What I have come to realize is that this Pastor is secure in his calling from God.  Secure enough to allow others to freely use their gifts, sensible enough to understand we need teaching from many sources, and trusting the Lord enough to know that His will will be accomplished (Is. 14:24) in this congregation when all the parts of the body are functioning in harmony (1Cor. 12).  Every believer is called by the Lord (Rom. 1:6; 1Cor. 1:24) and we are assured that “…all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.(Rom. 8:28)  And so we are to fulfill His purpose by using the gifts and talents given to us, and allowing others to do so in our lives.

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, urge you to live in a way that is worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, along with patience, accepting one another in love. Do your best to maintain the unity of the Spirit  Eph. 4:1-3 ISV

       This is the way the body is supposed to work- in unity with each other, humbly and gently accepting one another and not worrying if someone else’s gift will outshine ours, or is better/ worse/ more spiritual/ fulfilling/ encouraging etc.  All we need to do is use the gifts God has given us and encourage others to do the same, secure that all will be done according to God’s purpose and plan in our lives. God declares, “…My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:(Is. 46:10; also Pr. 19:21)

Thursday, August 30, 2012


        One evening I picked up my daughter’s book off the floor to check it out and see what she was reading.  It was a well written piece that was very descriptive of the characters and their lives.  One chapter led to another and soon I couldn’t put the book down.  When I finished the book it was early morning (over 600 pages) and I had the usual school day start to attend to.  Needless to say, I was exhausted by noon.

       Growing up in the suburbs I didn’t see a lot of down-on-their-luck people like in the city, and though the problems were there, it was much more concealed.  There were alcoholics and drug users as well as those addicted to prescription drugs, but they were hidden behind the exteriors of upstanding, ‘respectable’ people.  We all target addictions like that as unhealthy and therefore bad addictions, but what about ones like I mentioned above?  Reading had become an addiction for me.  If I picked up a book, I couldn’t put it down until it was done.

       Computer games and television have also surfaced time and again to monopolize my time.  Are any of these things bad per se?  Not really in and of themselves (having said this, just what is the content of what we are watching/ playing?), but the amount of time we spend consumed by them indicates where are hearts are.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Mt. 6:21) 

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. And you must love your neighbor as yourself.  Lk. 10:27 ISV
                                                                      (all scriptures in this post are from this version)

       If all my heart is the Lord’s, then why is it easier for me to be reading, playing games or watching T.V. than to be spending time with Him first or doing the tasks He has called me to do?  What is this compulsion we (mankind) have towards anything but God?  Where does it come from?

The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.  Mt. 26:41
Indeed, all of us once behaved like them in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of our flesh and senses  Eph. 2:3
 (believers-) who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.  Rom. 8:4
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.  To set our minds on the flesh leads to death, but to set our minds on the Spirit leads to life and peace. Rom. 8:5,6
Promising them freedom, they themselves are slaves to depravity, for a person is a slave to whatever conquers him. 2Pt. 2:19

       All our addictions have us in the bondage of slavery which the Lord came to set us free of (Is. 61:1).  Whether it be texting, talking on your cell, playing computer games or facebook-ing, watching T.V., having all the latest gadgets or electronic devices, shopping, buying clothes or gifts, sports, food/ eating, and on and on, any and all things that we spend more time on than with God must be questioned.  Am I addicted?  Am I indulging my flesh or my Spirit?  Is this activity feeding my Spirit, or my fleshly pleasures?

       We are supposed to live by the Spirit (Gal. 5:16) for if we live by the flesh, we will die, but if by the Spirit we die to the flesh, we will live (Rom. 8:13).  Those who live by the flesh are in slavery/ bondage (Rom. 8:15) and if we continue to sow to our flesh, we will reap to the flesh (Gal. 6:8) instead of the spirit.  And judgment awaits for “those who satisfy their flesh by indulging in its passions…” (2Pt. 2:10)

       This has been difficult for me to write about because I still struggle with my particular addictions thirty years-ish after becoming a Christian.  When I was young I realized that a reformed alcoholic should never touch even one drink again or the probability was high they would loose control.  I consider that wisdom now in my own life and how it applies to me.  In the end I must question myself: is the Lord my treasure, or not?

For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what he deserves for what he has done in his body, whether good or worthless.  2Cor. 5:10
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. 
Gal. 5:24
Stop loving the world and the things that are in the world. If anyone persists in loving the world, the Father's love is not in him. For everything that is in the world-the desire for fleshly gratification, the desire for possessions, and worldly arrogance-is not from the Father but is from the world.
1Jn. 2:15,16

Do we want slavery    or freedom?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I Hate Pumpkin Pie- Part 2

the continuation 
(read yesterday’s post first or you’ll miss a lot)

       So, one of the ongoing jokes is when Mom asks me if I want whipped cream on a dessert, she always looks impishly and says, “Do you want any more, I know how much you like whipped cream?” and we laugh.  But seriously, I’d have never managed to endure the flavour OR texture of that pumpkin pie without it.  It was easier to slide it down my throat cushioned on the soft, slippery and sweet goodness of the whipped cream (imagining it to be a different pie I liked) than to actually taste or feel it in my mouth.

       Life is a grand adventure, but it is filled with tons of bad flavours and textures along the way: hurts, shattered dreams, tough relationships, burdens, worries, pain, sickness, love lost, death, humiliation, sorrow, famines, accidents, financial difficulties, troubles, disasters, abuses, oppressions, wars I could go on and on, but you get the picture.  We are surrounded by hard times, and that’s a ‘bitter pill to swallow’.  Sometimes pills, and pie, are easier to swallow with a little help from another food or drink.

       So it is in this life we have the greatest of all helps available to us.  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.(Ps. 121:1,2)  Our Lord is our help in times of trouble.  It’s not that He eliminates the bad flavours and textures (although occasionally He chooses to), but that He makes them easier to get through.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Dt. 31:8 NIV
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior  Is. 43:2,3 NKJV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 1Pt. 1:3,4

       We don’t have to feel alone when we’re struggling.  We don’t have to feel like there’s no hope when our world is shattered.  We don’t have to despair quite so much for He is with us and we know He will stay with us through it all and give us strength to endure (Php. 4:13).  Best of all, one day we know we will be with Him in a place where we will never have to go through such difficult times again (Rev. 21,22).

       The Lord is like the whipped cream on my pumpkin pie.  He makes everything in life taste better, and I can’t imagine a world without Him with me.  We may not have it easy most or any of the time, but with the Lord we can make it through and arrive safely in His arms in Heaven.  Hear the words of the Psalmist: 

the Psalmist's cry
My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?  Ps. 42:3
the Psalmist's resolution
Why are thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?  hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my
God. Ps. 42:11

Monday, August 27, 2012

I Hate Pumpkin Pie- Part 1

       It was Easter of 1988 and I was meeting my in-laws for the first time.  The situation we were in was unusual.  Albert and I had been dating before they left for the winter (to southern U.S.) but they hadn’t known about that because he’d been too busy to visit them to give them the news.  We had gotten engaged and set the date for the late summer, but when they got back from the south a week before, they had just found out about me.  In one startling evening they found out their 37 year old son had been dating, gotten engaged and was set to be married in a few months.  Imagine their shock.

       Though I had met all of Albert’s immediate family except his parents, this would be our first meeting, and I was very nervous.  They were especially friendly, but I was the new girl and still felt uncomfortable.  Dessert time came, and his Mom offered me a piece of pumpkin pie (and I hate pumpkin L ) but I didn’t want to offend her so I took a piece and then she asked if I wanted whip cream.  Of course I did!  What else would take that awful taste away?  Would I like more?  Yes please, a LOT more.  My piece was sufficiently smothered in whip cream that I managed to swallow the whole thing down.  All in all, the evening was a success.

       It wasn’t until our next get together that Albert told his Mom I hate pumpkin pie.  With her great memory she asked why I’d eaten a piece at our last gathering and I had to fess up.  We had a good laugh about it especially when she realized why I’d asked for so much whip cream.  Twenty four years later, we still joke about the pie I ‘manfully’ forced down, or the tons of whip cream on top.  And Mom still recalls how the first night they found out about us, her and Dad went to bed asking each other if they had heard right!  (The next day they verified it with the family!!!)

To figure out where this story is going, you’ll have to ‘tune in’ tomorrow for the continuation

Since I can’t leave you with any scripture at all: 
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth:
make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Ps. 98:4

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Faith of Abram

You shall have an heir of your own seed. Gen. 15:4
You will have descendents that number the stars. v.5
Abraham believed. v.6
This is your land as inheritance. v.7
Oh, and ah, your descendents
-will be strangers in a foreign land,
-will serve (work; causing enslavement, bondage of) them,
-and will afflicted by them 400 years. v.13

       Gotta wonder just what Abram thought at that point.  Certainly the first three promises are woohoo moments, but that last one, not so much.  Sure, his descendents would come out wealthy v.14, and Abram would die in peace v.15 so he would never live through the oppression, but the thought of slavery for his progeny must have been disturbing.  What do you do with that information?  Do you pass it on which will affect the choices your descendents make, or do you keep it confidential?  Did Jacob know and would he have moved his family to Egypt if he had known, or not?  There’s no indication that this information was passed along, and Moses didn’t write about it until after it happened, so who knows what Abraham’s descendents knew.

       Seventy Hebrews did go into Egypt, and possibly 2 million came out (Ex. 12:37- 600,000 men only and so must add women, children, foreigners etc).  They became a nation in Egypt while under oppression.  They left with much wealth from Egypt (Ex. 12:36) and 40ish years later took over the land God gave them.  So, God’s promises came true in all aspects.

       Most of us never know what God intends for our future.  We want peaceful, easy lives for us and our children, but that does not build character and strength.  I don’t think we are able to handle knowing the difficult things that lie ahead, and that’s why God normally doesn’t tell us.  Still, what it all boils down to is faith.  Like Abram, we either have faith in God to set the path before us and know He knows best or we set out on our own path and direction which indicates we think we know better than the Almighty God and Creator of the universe- you know, the one who was here in the beginning?

       We need to surrender our lives into His hands and trust that He will get us through all the difficult times.  Abram trusted- had faith and his future became that of a nation which will one day lead the world (Rev.).  Just imagine what could happen in our lives if we trust God the same way.  Who knows what He will do in, and with our lives?