and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Prayer

       Sometimes I think we, as children of the Almighty God, need to focus attention on Him instead of all the things going on in our lives.  We see life as if through a dark glass (1Cor. 13:12) because we can’t see the whole picture like God does.  That is why we need to put our trust (Is. 12:2) completely in Him and not what we plan out (Pr. 19:21).  So, today I’d like to pray this (I hope) for all of us.

Holy Lord,
You are an awesome God; full of grace and all power.
Thank You for giving us life and redeeming us from our sins.
Thank You for never leaving us even when we act rotten or ignore You.
Consume us with Your holy fire* to burn away all sin- and walls between us.
Give us a strong desire to be with You and know You as much as possible.
Help us know You more, hear You more, be with You more and love You more.
Help us to trust You more.
We want You Lord, more than life or breath.
Be with us today.
We await Your presence with excitement.

*For our God is a consuming fire.  Heb. 12:29

Friday, September 14, 2012

Strike Looming

       In Canada, it is the time of government mandating no strike, corporations squeezing workers to take less money, pensions and health care.  So it is, for us, an uncertain time.  After 3 ½ years of layoff and a few months back to work, we face a possible strike with minimal strike pay.  No matter whose side you take, people are going to suffer, either now in the lack of money to pay bills, or in future workers who have a bleak future in a job without benefits and pensions or extra money to help.

       Many adults are out there with minimum wage jobs, no benefits or pensions already, struggling to make ends meet and learning to say “no” a lot, or living with increasing debt.  Some cannot even feed their families properly.  Life is tough.  I’m sure there was a similar situation back in Jesus’ day.  Once when Jesus was speaking to the multitude in a familiar passage known as the Sermon on the Mount, He had this to say:

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.  Mt. 6:31-34

       What did you say Jesus?  Don’t worry about our basic necessities that we need to survive?  How will we live without food or water or clothing?  Of course the Gentiles seek these things we all do, don’t we?  I can image the murmuring of the crowds becoming quite loud, and those mocking by saying, “Well, I’ve never seen a shirt/ food/ water appear out of nowhere, have you?”  At some point, we followers of Christ must determine if we believe Jesus is the truth (Jh. 14:6), or a liar.  Jesus wasn’t saying ‘your Father will provide’ but rather, if you seek God first and His righteousness, THEN all your needs will be met.

A raven brings food to Elijah.
       Ahhh so I go to church every week, say my set prayers every day, do a little ministry each week, and God will provide, right?  Regrettably, God knows our hearts (Lk 16:15), our thoughts (Ps. 139:2) and our intentions (Heb. 4:12).  We can’t get away with faking it because He knows if we are truly seeking His kingdom and righteousness first, and that is what we must do for His promise of provision to be fulfilled.

       As for me, I am endeavoring to seek Him and His righteousness first with all my heart because I finally realize this world is but a fleeting moment, however, I often fall and wonder why He doesn’t give up on me.  Then I return to the fact He loves me and I am His child; He picks me back up (Ps. 145:14) and I try again.  One of these days I pray my faith will be complete, but until them, I will put my trust in Him to keep changing me (2Cor. 3:18).

       As for His provision, unemployment was tough.  We did what we were able- we stopped all non-essential activities, cut back where possible, said ‘no’ to almost all wants, and still had to spend more on bills than we received.  BUT  We made it through, and that is thanks to God who somehow always seemed to stretch what we had to make all our payments, or bless us in unexpected ways so we still had our needs met.  Perhaps the provision wasn’t always in my preferred way, but it was there none the less.  As for the strike looming it is one day at a time with the Lord.  He is faithful and true, and my ‘task’, for lack of a better term, is to seek Him first, and I’ll leave the rest up to Him.

Jesus said, “Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them…” is like “a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.(Lk. 6:47,48)

And our Rock is God (2Sm. 22:32)!!! 

Thursday, September 13, 2012


       Have you ever noticed how definitions keep changing over time?  I guess the current thought is that what society perceives the word to mean- that is its meaning.  So as time has changed the usage of words, the dictionaries have responded by changing the actual definitions of the words.  There is a free Christian program for anyone to use called E-Sword (some individual items may have a cost).  It contains Bible versions, commentaries, visual helps and word dictionaries.  I like to use the Webster’s 1828 dictionary to see what the word’s meanings were before we started changing them to society’s perceptions.

Celebrate v.t.-
1. To praise; to extol; to commend; to give to; to make famous; as, to celebrate the name of the Most High.   (The grave cannot celebrate thee. Isa 38.)
2. To distinguish by solemn rites; to keep holy.   (From even to even shall ye celebrate your Sabbath. Lev 23.)
3. To honor or distinguish by ceremonies and marks of joy and respect; as, to celebrate the birth day of Washington; to celebrate a marriage.

We celebrate birthdays.
We celebrate holidays.
We celebrate new employment.
We celebrate raises and promotions.

We celebrate sport teams winning.
We celebrate our kid’s accomplishments.
We celebrate victories and winnings.
We celebrate loved ones coming home.

We celebrate graduations.
We celebrate anniversaries.
We celebrate births.
We celebrate weddings.

       Our lives are filled with- time and effort, money and organization, of planning and enjoying various celebrations every year.  We toast, we laugh, we shout, we cheer, we dance, we smile, we take photos, we joyfully speak about the occasion, we give gifts, we dress up, we have fun, we greet people cheerfully  Celebrations are great and we often talk about them for weeks after.  I just was thinking:

When do we celebrate God?

       Do we spend the same time, effort, money and such?  Do we toast, laugh, shout, cheer and such?  Do we talk about Him for weeks after celebrating Him?  If we can celebrate all these human accomplishments, why can’t we celebrate the very God who gave each of us life- and I mean REALLY celebrate?

       For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee…” (Is. 38:18) Man and angels were made to praise the Almighty God, for who He is and what He has done.  If we don’t, Jesus said even the stones could cry out (Lk, 19:40).  God made us and we are to “enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name" (Ps. 100:4).  Sure sounds like a celebration to me!

Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.  Ps. 150

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Stale Bread

       “Excuse me miss, my croutons are stale.”  “What! Oh no!  I’m so sorry,” she said with a horrified expressionand we all chuckled at her sincere distress over this issue that was a non-issue.  After all, croutons are stale or dry bread, usually flavoured- that’s what they are supposed to be!  We weren’t being mean; we were just giving our niece a hard time at her serving job.

       Occasionally, I’ve been known to enjoy eating a few garlic flavoured croutons on their own, but you can only eat a few because they dry out your mouth so much that you can’t swallow any more.  Just attempt the saltine cracker challenge: try eating 6 crackers in 60 seconds any amount at a time.  (There is no drinking or lubricating of mouth allowed.)  The crackers absorb the saliva making the mouth too dry to swallow properly.  That is why stale bread, though it may keep us alive, is not the best food to live on.

       Still, that seems to be what I revert to over and over.  Daily tasks and appointments interfere with my time with God, and soon I am living off of stale bread.  The result is the same as if I was eating crackers- my life becomes dry, listless.  The abundant life (Jh. 10:10) God speaks about, just seems to disappear, and is replaced by further apathy towards Him.  One of these days I hope to make a permanent change, but I have a feeling I will be fighting this battle until He comes for me.

       Jesus is our true Bread of Life (Jh. 6:32-35) and only He gives life to the world.  He promises if we come (accompany, appear, bring, come enter) to Him, we will never hunger, and if we believe (have faith in Him), we will never thirst.  But as the children of Israel in the wilderness needed to gather fresh manna daily (Ex. 16:4-) to live, so we need to be in the presence of Jehovah God daily to receive our daily ‘bread’ for life.

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.  Jos. 1:8
Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face (face=paniym=presence) continually.  1Chr. 16:11
One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple… When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.  Ps. 27:4,8

       Sure, we can survive off of old, stale Word and yesterday’s Spirit for a time, but how will our spirit live without fresh food everyday straight from the Master’s table?  We need Him; we need exclusive time in His presence (for He is always with us) every day to truly experience the abundant life He wants for us here and now.  I am determined to keep trying harder until that happens.  What about you?  Let’s do this together!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Burnt Carrots and Christine

       Cooking is not my forte, not my pleasure, and certainly not anything that interests me even on a long, boring day.  After learning the basics when I was first married at 21, I was still burning my food- even the carrots- after 15 plus years.  No talent, no skills, no desire.  I usually don’t think of food, watch food shows, or have any plans when I buy groceries as to what I will make with them.  In fact, I would rather scrub toilets and clean grease traps than cook and that is why people like my hubby amaze me.

       He ‘sees’ food in his mind and can make it from that picture.  Occasionally he will be at work and design meals in his head, and then knows what to buy, how to make it and how to season it perfectly.  In 24 years of marriage in which he has cooked many meals, there have probably been three dishes that were below high quality standards.  Also, he can find incredible meals where I can’t even find a thing to make.  It is a gift, a talent and a skill.

       So you can imagine my impression of one of the Master Chef competitors who is legally blind getting into the top two spots.  Christine cooks to perfection, seasoning by feeling and taste, trying things I would never attempt to do with full sight, and makes dishes that look beautiful and taste great.  Obviously, she has talents and skills given by our Creator.  What impresses me most is that she continues to cook despite her ‘handicap’.  I put it that way because even the judges were mentally limiting her abilities while over and over again, she challenged those limits.

       Some cultures in humanity’s past have killed their disabled children and many still value the idea of ‘only the strong survive’.  But is strength dictated by physical perfection, or by character within?  If a man can bench press 800 lbs, but watches a car crush a child while, a 130 lb, 5’2” mom lifts the car off the child, which one is stronger?  The point is- we need to stop looking at people with narrow vision.  Strength is using the gifts given to the best of our ability for the good of all.

There are: diversities of gifts, differences of administrations, diversities of operations 1Cor. 12:4-6
for the common good. v.7 ISV
Spirit produces all these results and gives what he wants to each person. v.11
If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But at this very time God has arranged the parts, every one of them, in the body just as he wanted to. v.17,18
On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are in fact indispensable, v.22

       Here I am still occasionally ruining food and or making it just edible, while hubby cooks delicious meals, while a blind lady cooks like a professional.  Should I get mad at myself for my lack of cooking skills?  Sometimes I do, but I quickly try to remember that I can fix and build things while some other people can’t.  Should Christine stop cooking because she can’t see, or push beyond such limits to succeed wherever she is able?

       We all need to stop looking through narrow glasses at ourselves and others, and just start using the gifts given to us by Almighty God for use here on the earth.  Indispensable or non-essential, strong or weak, ‘handicapped’ or ‘perfect’, smart or ‘brainless’, these are just terms subjective to our own opinions and not the God who made us all.  God gave us what He wanted each of us to have, and we should trust in Him, not limit ourselves, and encourage others (1Th. 5:11) to use what He has given them.

I know that the LORD is great,
that our Lord is greater than all gods.
The LORD does whatever pleases him
Ps. 135:5,6 NIV

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Intermittent Switch

       We have a new problem in our newer used van we bought a few months ago.  It is the first time we have power windows, and it is great to be able to open and close them from the driver’s seat, especially since the air conditioning stopped working. L  (Open windows are essential with no air!)  The problem is one day last month the driver-side switch didn’t work the passenger window.  It resolved itself, but just last week the switch stopped working for the driver’s window.  Needless to say, in the heat the lack of air flow becomes oppressive.

       Then, just two days ago, the driver-side switch for the passenger window stopped working again, and for a moment, I panicked wondering how I would be able to breathe with the hot outside air and two front windows that don’t open.  Then the Lord helped me remember that I could stop and open it from the switch on the other side, and it worked.  Now as a result I’ve got to replace the switch, because a switch that only works now and then isn’t useful in meeting my needs.

       So it was that yesterday, after looking into the problem, I had to go out and the switch worked again for the opposite window.  It got me thinking about how we are like switches in our relationship with God.  One day hot, the next day cold; one day so in love with Him because all is going well or we just ‘feel’ close, another day ignoring Him and ‘feeling’ like He’s not even around.  Praying and spending time with Him for a few days, then not even saying grace over meals- or not really meaning it if we do!  Our relationship with the Lord is often intermittent: sporadic, discontinuous, irregular, and we pay for that with a lack of peace and joy during our days.

       With how much consideration we give to our Lord, how much of our continual communication, studying, worshipping, I often wonder why He puts up with me, or why He hasn’t walked away.  And yet, He remains waiting for me to return once again and we start over.  The problem is we can never get very far if we are always starting over, because trust must be rebuilt.  Irregular time with Him prevents us from greater spiritual growth.  It comes down to our decision: either we consider Him important enough to consistently spend time with and on Him, or we rarely- if ever- live the abundant life (Jh. 10:10) He desires for us.

But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  Ps. 1:2
I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.  Ps. 77:12
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.  Ps. 5:3
One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.  Ps. 27:4
Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.  Ps. 100:2-4