and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Pioneers of Our Decade

       My hubby had been watching an interesting show and called me in to see it.  Someone made a ‘reality’ television show about modern families living like the pioneers did.  One of the families had three children.  They had great wealth and lived in a large, beautiful home overlooking a scenic landscape, yet had come to live in a small wooden house with no amenities or modern comforts for a considerable length of time.  In order to survive, the whole family had to work very hard from early morning to evening.  One child had a birthday while there, and was given a handmade, rustic toy, one of few the children had to play with.

       At the end of the experience, the family was filmed in their own home after they were fully involved in their old lives to see how they were doing and what they had learned from their adventure.  The three children were in their hot tub on the deck of their sleek, modern home and were speaking with fondness of the experiences they had.  In short, they were saying that though they had everything they wanted in this life, it was less fulfilling to them than the time they spent as pioneers.  As well, they had learned that there was more value in the toys they had as pioneers because they had so few, than in their normal lives where they have much.  They also felt less valuable or needed than as pioneers.

 
       Those are the only things I remember about the show other than how difficult their lives were as pioneers.  It made me feel sad for the children of today who are inundated with toys and recreation, but do not have confidence built upon successful and fruitful labour and feel like they hold no value in society.  Is it any wonder they feel lost and wander aimlessly through their days?

       Sure kids can gain some confidence by playing on sports teams or acting in plays, but will this really make them feel valuable and needed in society?  A parent can say many things to a child, but the child believes what he sees in himself and in his relation to the world.  There are many Scriptures pertaining to children; here are a few.

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD… Ps. 127:3
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  Pr. 22:6
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2Tm. 3:16,17
He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.  Pr. 13:24 NIV
For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.   Gen. 18:19
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  Dt. 6:7 NKJV

       The last two verses speak into the time it takes in genuine parenting.  We forget this in today’s society where parents are busy working and driving kids who are busy with sports, organizations and activities.  By teenage years, most families don’t even eat supper together.  But God knew that Abraham would spend enough time with his kids to raise them godly and teach them to do right.  God also told the Jews in Moses day to learn the law so they could teach and talk about them to their children throughout the day: sitting, walking (all activities), first thing in the morning and last thing at night (all day).

       I’m wondering if we need to go back to the pioneer days, back to when families lived and worked together all day.  Obviously that’s not possible, but we should try to find a way to do a better job at raising our kids godly in a godless world.  The proof of our efforts should be seen: in their confidence to serve God’s purpose in their lives and make a stand for righteousness in these dark times.  Perhaps with our help, they can be God’s pioneers of today.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Decay


       There are a few things in life that really bother me.  One of those is when I spend hard-earned money on a necessary item, and it begins to rust or decay sooner than it should.  A few years ago I bought an old fashioned looking bike to get me around when I wasn’t in a hurry.  By the end of the year, it already had rust on the chrome parts.  By the next year, you could see bubbling under the paint job of the frame which is a sign of rust.  How can that be given it was only a year old?  Well, “They just don’t make things the way they used to.”

       Honestly, I get tired of living in a life where prices continue to go up while wages get cut, food and other prices increase though sizes go down, and greed seems to be acceptable and even admired!  After all, greed causes manufacturers to use inferior products, take shortcuts, and use cheaper labour all for the sake of bigger profits.  Sin has led to all kinds of corruption and decay in this world, but soon all those saved by the blood of Jesus Christ will live in a world where there will be no decay or corruption.



Albert Bierstadt

and to an inheritance kept in heaven for you that can't be destroyed, corrupted, or changed.  1Pt. 1:4
But keep on storing up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal.  Mt. 6:20
Brothers, this is what I mean: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and what decays cannot inherit what does not decay.  1Cor. 15:50

       So, one day in the future, new bikes won’t rust within a year, cars won’t break down every few months, houses won’t fall apart and need constant repair.  Friends and neighbours won’t suffer with cancer as it destroys their bodies, and children won’t die of starvation in one part of the world or kill themselves for lack of love in another.  Parents won’t suffer watching a child in critical care due to an aneurysm or heart failure, hip replacements won’t be necessary, and teeth won’t need to be filled.  One day we won’t have to worry about terrorist bombers, unexpected accidents, or never having what we need.

       There will be a day when metal will not rust, food will not rot, and bodies will not die.  There will come a day when life is restored for what it should have been- before the curse.  Perfect, glorious, abundant life (2Cor. 5:4) face to face with our God in a world in which there is no more decay and corruption, but only blessings, peace, and joy.

I heard a loud voice from the throne say, "See, the tabernacle of God is among humans! He will make his home with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There won't be death anymore. There won't be any grief, crying, or pain, because the first things have disappeared." The one sitting on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new!" He said, "Write this: 'These words are trustworthy and true.'"  Rev. 21:3-5 ISV

Ah, I can’t wait for that time! 

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Can There Be Joy?

       I have always been an observer of life and of people, so wherever I go, I find interesting things to witness.  There was a dark time in my life when one thing bothered me (because of the perpetual misery I was in) and that was joy.  I remember how painful it was to watch a Mom or Dad playing with their young child, both laughing with joy, and it felt like a million knives were chopping at my heart and gut, ripping them apart.  Perhaps you never felt that way before, but you were bothered by people who always seemed happy.  Can there be people like that or are they living in a false ‘happy bubble’?

       What I have observed over time leads me to say that question is a complex one to answer.  First off, there are those in life who have never been through very difficult times; they are na├»ve about suffering, often oblivious to the pain in others, and therefore usually happy based on easiness of their own environmental factors.  That was me before I was married and my only dream was shattered.  Of course, there are also fakers who wear happiness like a mask when the reality is they are suffering like the rest of us.  These people are fairly easy to spot.

        There are those who seem a bit manic depressive because one day when all is going well they are happy, the next day when some things go wrong, they are miserable.  Others, who are constantly under heavy stress and trials, seem to never have joy in their lives, and often are envious of others who have it.  So, what is it that makes the difference of true or false joy?

       The thing I have finally learned is happiness isn’t worth much.  It comes and goes with the stresses and trials of life and therefore it is transitory.  On the other hand, joy can remain through the toughest of times and even tragedies.  Why?  Because joy is not based on environmental factors whether good or bad, but on a person- Jehovah God.

But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.  Ps. 5:11 (underline is mine.)
Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.  Ps. 32:11
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Ps. 16:11
Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart Is. 65:14
Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.  Jer. 31:13
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  Hab. 3:18
And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.  Rm. 5:11
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  Rm. 14:17

       We can have joy everyday, not in the bad things that happen, but joy in God who is with us always, who has saved us from our sins and given us hope of a glorious, suffering free future.  Hope in our God who loves us dearly, enough to allow His Son to die for our sins, and who ripped the veil of separation between us open so that we can be in His presence daily.  We can have joy in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit no matter what is happening in our lives or how deep and dark the trials around us for He is with us even in the darkest times (Ps. 23:4).  He will give us strength to endure, “…for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Neh. 8:10).  Joy in Him can be ours, here and now!


But thanks be to God,
which giveth us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Cor. 15:57

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Coming Out the Other Side

       My heart was pounding in my chest.  The edge of cold, damp darkness crushed around me causing me to struggle to breathe.  I didn’t know how I was going to get out because it was so dark; I couldn’t see properly and was stumbling with every step I took.  I had cuts from walking into sharp rocks, and pain where bruises were going to show up.  It seemed like there was the tiniest bit of light breaking into the darkness ahead, but no matter how I tried to reach it or how far I struggled forward, it only seemed to get further away.  Hours passed.  Fear enveloped me in its grip as I realized I may never get out- out of the terrible darkness.  Perhaps I would not survive

       The alarm rang and woke me out of that nightmare but my heart was still pounding in my ears, and my breathing was shallow and quick.  Though in my dream I had not escaped the intensity of the situation, in reality, I had, but that didn’t mean my body calmed down as quickly as I wanted it to.  It certainly was good to be out of the dream and into the truth of the light.  It made me reflect on a different dark time I had been in; a fierce trial.  It lasted six long and painful years; and crushed around me like the darkness in my dream.  As the intensity increased, my hope of reaching the other side disappeared, fear enveloped me, and I really didn’t think I would survive.

       In the middle of the trial it seemed no one heard my cries; in the darkness and isolation of being, it felt like the Lord had abandoned me, and I was suffering alone.  Reflecting back I see how my loss of trust in the Lord made the trial so much worse, and so much harder to get through to the other side, a side of victory.  This life we live can become so difficult that we can’t see the light anymore, that we loose all hope and feel so isolated/ alone.  Why do we have to go through this?  Why didn’t God hear our cries?  Why didn’t he just ‘reach down’ and get us out of it?  and finallyWhy did He abandon us?

       Eventually I did realize that no matter what I felt, God had not abandoned me, but I had abandoned Him and so He could not aid me much during my struggle.  It was when I finally accepted ‘where I was’ in life, began accepting that God must actually want me to go through the struggle since He obviously hadn’t rescued me out of it, poured my heart out to Him instead of shutting Him out, and began thanking Him for just being with me, that freedom came, not into my life, but into my heart.  You see, I placed all my burdens back on Him instead of trying to carry them all on my own.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Mt. 11:28
I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.  Mt. 28:20
for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 
    Heb. 13:5
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.   For I am the LORD thy God  Is. 43:2,3

       Finally, I think (said with much ‘fear and trembling’) I understand.  Bad things happen in this life just because they do (Mt. 5:45).  Sometimes God rescues us out of them, but that seems kind of rare to me.  Often God allows us to go through them.  But we don’t have to go through them alone.  When we are in the midst of the darkness, fear and pain, we can reach out to Him, draw near to Him (Jm. 4:8; Heb. 10:22) and make Him the Light at the end of our tunnel.  With our hope firmly resting in Him, we can come out of the dark trials of life on the other side.
 


There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.
Pr. 23:18 NIV


Monday, September 03, 2012

Ramblings

       It’s been an early day for me, waking up before 6 am for no reason and unable to get back to sleep.  It feels like my brain is in a mussle (lol, oops, I mean muddle), my body is aching all over again and all I want to do it huddle under a warm blanket, hot cocoa in hand, and veg, as in, be like a vegetable and just lay there.  Of course, a thousand thoughts come into my head, and though most of them are unrelated, some are sensible.  Like, who cares what I feel, I’ve got to get done what I need to.  (Um, body not there yet!)  Also, I need to get this post done and I’m not so sure it will make sense when I’m finished or if I can even finish!

       So here am I, just wishing for my body’s sake that the Lord returns for us today and I have a new body that doesn’t know pain or sickness ever again (Rev. 22:4; 1Cor. 15:50-54).  Certainly it will be nice to have the fog lifted from my brain and a memory to go with it!  Perhaps I’ll just throw myself a party today- you know, a pity party?!  Just kidding. I wouldn’t do that: there are too many people world wide worse off than me.  So, in my unclear state of mind, I’m just going to write this:

It’s a really good thing the Lord is coming back soon
(Rev. 22:12)

and better

He’s here with me today in this state I’m in
(Is. 43:2; Heb. 13:5)

and best...

He loves me!!!


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. 8:38,39



(ok, I feel better now! J )

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Blueberry Picking

       Yesterday was a great day for picking one of our family’s favorite fruit- blueberries!  We arrived at the farm wondering if they would be scarce due to the dry year, or a reasonable pick.  Instead, we were greeted by bushes loaded down with berries ready for the picking and it didn’t take long for the three of us to each fill a pail.  Over a few rows were the melodic voices of a group of ‘Asian’ women.  Others were speaking about the abundant crop.

       A couple aisles down was a Dad with his two young children who were just learning how to pick, and were quite competitive about it.  They kept moving over to their great discoveries of big clusters with excited cries, and it brought back memories of our kids learning when they were young.  Although they weren’t quite so vociferous, they had their own special issues.  My daughter had a way of putting one handful in her pail, grabbing another handful to eat, and then eating half of what she had in her pail.  Needless to say, she didn’t pick very fast J and it was difficult to get her to stop eating the berries and just pick!

       The berries were so beautiful yesterday that I wished I had my camera there to take some photos.  With large, ripe clusters, we could grab handfuls at a time and we set our attention on the task while listening to the voices and sounds surrounding us.  At one point, I reached for a large cluster, placing my left hand underneath to catch what my right hand was plucking off, and I thought One day we’ll be picking and enjoying fruit from the tree of life in the new heaven and earth, and what a glorious day that will be!

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Rev. 22:1,2

       And there will be no more curse, but we will be with our Lord, able to see His precious face, and wear His glorious name.  There we will not need light for He is our Light (Jh. 9:5), and we will be with Him and reign with Him forever and ever (Rev. 22:3-5).  There is no better place to be than with the Love of our lives.  And just think, we can pick and enjoy all the fruit we want! 

I really hope to meet each and every one of you there.