and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Patience is a Virtue

       “…Ye have heard of the patience of Job…” (Jm. 5:11)  When we think of patience we usually think of someone in the Bible like Job, or internationally known like Gandhi, or living a life of servitude like Mother Teresa, or maybe even ourselves (not me though!!!) or a friend who is going through a lot.  Many of us have learned patience one way or another: years waiting to get pregnant, children with diseases, unsaved spouse or loved ones, constant turmoil in the home, aging parents who need support  There are all kinds of ways we learn patience, but just the other day I was wondering who the most patient person I know is, and I realized I needed to look a ‘little higher’ than the earth.

       He’s ‘put up’ with me for more than 45 years and anyone who knows me would say, that’s a lot to put up with J, but He’s ‘put up’ with my Mom longer than that.  I won’t say how old she is but in 21 years she will have lived a century!  Our God, Jehovah, I Am, the Creator of the universe has been very patient with me, but has been patient with mankindbut is longsuffering to us-ward(2Pt. 3:9) for millennia- over 6000 years!  That would be 4000ish from Adam to Christ and 2000ish since then.  That’s a long time!

The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression… Nm. 14:18  (longsuffering and patient are synonymous)
But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.  Ps. 86:15

       What has He been patient with in us?  Well, our rejection of who He is, our continual sin, our idol worship, our mistreatment of others (He made us all!): lack of compassion, selfishness, oppression of nations, genocide, starvation, trying to remain in control, etc.  We certainly haven’t been ‘loving our neighbours as ourselves’.  We walk around with our toys, driving our new cars and eating well, when our neighbours aren’t able to make bill payments, eat barely enough, losing houses, unable to pay for prescriptions, etc.  (These words are just as tough on me as they are on you.)

       We bless God on our good days, but get mad at Him when things go wrong, especially long term troubles, as if we don’t deserve to experience grief, sorrow, and trials.  We outright or subconsciously accuse God of being unjust when we shake our fist in anger and shout “Why”.  I know because I have experienced this many times, much to my regret.

       And yet, He looks after us and has allowed man to try and learn from the natural consequences of our choices.  From what I see, it isn’t going very well so far.  He even gave His Son to help, and then left the manual for living (Bible) to help us along the way, and we aren’t doing much better than those 5000 years ago.  Never fear though- God has a plan!

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience (endurance) and comfort (encouragement) of the scriptures might have hope.  Rom. 15:4

       We can learn from the past things that were written and learn endurance through trials with the encouragement of scriptures to give us hope and help us through.  And while we are learning patience, we need to remember, though God is patient with us (mankind) it will not always be that way.  I have read the last book of the Bible, and God’s judgment is coming for all, Christians (Judgment Seat of Christ) and non-Christians (White Throne of God).  God’s patience with mankind’s sin/ behaviour will come to an end, but God and His kingdom (with us in it) never will!

And what a glorious kingdom it will be!!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Takin’ Out the Trash

       This morning is garbage day, so my hubby got up early to empty out all the pails in our house and bag the waste up to put out at the curb.  It’s not a glamorous job, but someone’s gotta do it!  It always makes me think of this song I heard on the radio for a while, by Tal and Acacia, called Garbage In.

Would you like to consume this?...

Garbage in, Garbage out.
What goes in is found out.
All can see what goes in me.
I pay the price.

I fill my mind with bad things.
So horrible, I feel ashamed they show.
I've taken sin so lightly.
That lately, oh, the darkness is all I know.
The time is now,
Oh, to leave the junk behind.
The moment has arrived,
Where I no longer am blind.
It's garbage in.

       There’s a lot of truth behind those lyrics and I know it is so difficult to keep all the garbage out of our minds because we see/ hear it everywhere.  The most ‘innocent’ of movies still contain profanity, perversity, or even just bad attitudes.  Don’t turn on the radio because the lyrics are usually sexually charged or degrading to someone.  As for the television, the screen is filled with sin of all kind: fornication, adultery, murder, hate, selfishness, greed, and perversity of all kinds.  Ah, but there’s always the newspaper filled with all kinds of oops, more sin again.  We hear it at work, at home and while traveling.  We almost never get away from the garbage of sin. 

or this?!

       So, it shouldn’t be so shocking when we aren’t at our peak spiritual strength every day.  With so much garbage going into us, how can we live victoriously?  All that garbage is going to weigh us down and it will certainly show (come out) in our lives.  Well, we really only have two choices- be defeatist or proactive.  Either we say, ‘There’s nothing I can do about it, so I’ll just keep doing the best I can with how it is’ and try to justify our lack of action or we say, ‘No, I don’t have to allow this much garbage in my life’ and change: stop watching, reading, or listening to garbage.  Interesting to note is how many people will come against you for doing that.

 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  Php. 4:8

       If we go by this verse and only watch, read and listen to things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy (are any of us doing this?) then it will become easier to keep our minds on righteousness, and maybe we won’t sin as much.  Perhaps we won’t feel bogged down by all the garbage around us.  Maybe we’ll start living the victorious, abundant life the Lord wants us to have.

Are we brave enough to try?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Happy Birthday Dad

In Memory of my Dad


       It was a 50 min. drive back to the city that morning, and that was with me speeding.  I usually didn’t speed, but I’d received an emergency call saying my family needed to make a decision regarding life support for my Dad, and I needed to get there asap.  As I drove, I had lots of time to ponder why they needed me there, and why Dad had turned for the worse since I’d just seen him the day before, Monday Jan. 2nd, at which time the doctors said he would be okay so we might as well all go home.  Those fifty minutes were far too long, if you know what I mean

       When I arrived at Dad’s floor in the hospital, I was met by two of my sisters who told me Dad was already dead.  After my meltdown, I went in to see him with a deeply grieved heart, not knowing what to think about his state of salvation.  He had been delirious those last days and so we hadn’t had the opportunity to ask about faith in Jesus Christ, but we did know he started asking questions a few years before, and at one time had asked me what he needed to do to be saved.  Though he wasn’t ready at that time, he did continue reading his Bible and asking more questions.

       It was as I stood at the foot of his bed that the Lord brought back a memory of the day before when I stood in the same place.  I was talking with some of my family and Dad, who really wasn’t in his right mind, bolted upright to a sitting position, looked straight at us and said, “I’m going to see the teacher!”, then laid back down, out of it.  The others in the room thought it was the delirium speaking because he was a retired teacher, but there was something else in His voice that had told me otherwise.  The Spirit had quickened in me the words ‘the Teacher’ and I realized Dad was not speaking of a man, but of Jesus, and God in His mercy was allowing me to hear that Dad had given his life to Him.  How could I have forgotten?

       Death of a loved one is always difficult, and though I knew I would see him again, it didn’t relieve the regret for all the time we lost together because of his work schedules.  Believe me, quality time with your loved ones is the most precious gift you can give them in life.  Do not neglect it!  Still, I will see Dad again someday.  And I guess Happy Birthday may not mean so much in eternity.

       Never stop praying for those you love to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and pray that the Lord continues to give great effort toward that end.  He always hears our prayers and works for our good.  I have to believe the Lord will do His best right until my loved one’s end.  “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him:” (Jh. 6:44)  In Him is my hope.

I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.  Ps. 116:1,2
Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.  Mk. 9:23
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.  2Cor. 4:18
And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:  And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. 1Jh. 5:14,15
Pray without ceasing.  1Th. 5:17

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Where Do You Live?

       “What’s your name?” and “Where do you live?” were the two essentials of information we sought early when introduced to new kids.  After all, if they were to become friends, you needed to know what to call them and if they lived close enough to visit on your own since you were too young to drive.  Thirty years later, things have changed.  I’m not sure what the new questions are, but it almost seems like any questions are considered intrusive.  In fact, one time when my daughter wanted to know where a certain boy lived, I simply pulled out the telephone book to look it up and she told me to stop, that what I was doing was ‘stalking’ and apparently NOT okay.

       Several times when I asked the kids about their friends, even long term ones, and they don’t know the answer, they say, “We don’t talk about that kind of stuff.”  Well, just what do they talk about because the questions I would ask would be things to help me know my friends better?  When I bug them about it they just say it’s ‘stalker like’.  Still, it’s pretty important to know where people live or else how can you visit them?  You can’t build a relationship with people you can’t spend time with; it doesn’t work that way.  So God

Where do You live?

       Most Christians can answer my question using two scriptures:  But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets…” (Dan. 2:28 NKJV) and “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?(1Cor. 3:16 NKJV).  So, God is in Heaven but He also lives in each of us.  We also know there is nowhere we can go to get away from His spirit/ presence (Ps. 139:7-10).  This knowledge does not completely answer that question though for the Scripture is clear that “the heaven, and heaven of heavens cannot contain” our Mighty God (1Kn. 8:27).  The rest of it is found here:

For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.  Is. 57:15 NKJV
       Our Holy God dwells in eternity (without beginning or end, so how can man truly understand? Ec. 11:5), but He doesn’t dwell there alone.  Those with contrite and humble spirits dwell there with Him.  Why?  So that God can revive (nourish, preserve, quicken, recover, repair, restore to life, make whole) their spirits and their hearts.  Wow!  The God who created the entire universe made us a place with Him like that for us?  It sure makes me want to be one of those with a contrite and humble spirit.  Lemme think:

…a contrite and humble spirit…

…a contrite and humble spirit…


Monday, September 24, 2012

The End is Near

       Well, for those of you who don’t know me well, I usually jog on a treadmill six days a week, and this was one of them.  If you’ve ever worked out on a treadmill, you know it is next to impossible to get through it without changing visual input- music just doesn’t cut it.  So, being in a peculiar mood this morning I decided to throw in 2012, the disaster movie.  Probably not a good idea as then I had to drive my son to his bus stop and I was picturing the road fracturing in front of me because of an earthquake- and we don’t really get those here.

       Still, the message of the end being near started right in the New Testament with the disciples who taught that one day Jesus Christ would return for all His people, His enemies would be defeated, the old world would end and the new world would arrive.  People can laugh at those who carry signs saying the end is near all they want, but the truth is that we are closer to the end now than the disciples were- 2000 years closer!

       We don’t like to think about that- but why is that?  Are we afraid of what can happen to our bodies?  What will happen to our children?  Are we afraid of persecution?  Or are we just afraid we aren’t really ready, and maybe, just maybe, God who knows our hearts, will leave us behind?  So, if we don’t think about it, it won’t happen, right?

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye  1Cor. 15:52
the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout… and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  1Th. 4:16-17
sudden destruction cometh upon them… and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.  1Th. 5:2-6
       These scriptures are clear that two events will happen at God’s timing, and we’ve got to watch (be vigilant- attentive to discover and avoid danger, or to provide for safety) and be sober (to abstain- used chiefly to denote a restraint upon the passions or appetites; to refrain from indulgence).  Both the ‘rapture’ and Jesus’ second coming will happen for all God’s Word will pass, even the smallest part (Mt. 5:18; Lk. 16:17).

       Why does He warn us?  So we can be ready of course.  Our hearts, minds and bodies must be right before Him.  He wants us to be holy (1Pt. 1:16), circumcised of heart (Rom. 2:29), and to abstain from fleshly- bodily lusts- desires (1Pt. 2:11).  How you doing on those points for me, I keep thinking I gots a long way to go!

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night… what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God… 2Pt. 3:10-12

       What if the Antichrist is already here and just working behind the scenes?  That would mean the end is during our generation.  Are we ready for the end?  Are we doing what God wants us to?  Are we living righteously?  Are we godly in a godless world?

Perhaps I should just stop watching movies that depict the end.

Still, the end is coming and I ask am I ready?