and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, October 06, 2012


       I’m not a big turkey aficionado, so another meat available would be the one I take.  To me, turkey is not far off from my most detested meat- liver.  I mean, it’s edible, but, well, I’m just not a big fan.  Oh, and let’s not forget the favorite dessert of the holiday- pumpkin pie.  Yummmm… NOT!!!  Posted about that one a few weeks back.  Anyway, tomorrow is the big day when family is coming over and I have much to be thankful for.  This year there is no turkey, and there will be non- pumpkin pie for dessert.  Woohoo!

We all have a lot to be thankful for:
     -Freedom to believe in the Almighty, Creator God.
     -Being able to see, and a computer on which to read blogs.
     -Umbrellas in the rain.
     -Indoor plumbing and toilets that flush.
     -The ability to eat- even if it’s turkey or liver.
     -Hands that can type and write.
     -Breathing without assistance.
     -Candy in the corner store.
     -Telephones, texting, and transportation.
     -Living, breathing, heart beating and able to love our families for another day.

       There are at least 66 verses of Scripture that give ‘thanks’ to God.  It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:(Ps. 92:1)  All the good and wonderful things and people in our lives are because of our Great Father in heaven.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father…” (Jm. 1:17)  We all have a lot for which to be thankful, even when it seems like not much goes right in our lives.  If all is going wrong, just remember, God is still right!  He remains with us through everything, all the good times and the difficult times (Is. 43:2; Heb. 13:5).

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  1Th. 5:18
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;  Eph. 5:20

       In every thing and for all things we are to give thanks to God.  Even if we don’t understand what’s happening, why God hasn’t answered our prayers in the way we want, even when we are hurting and feeling all alone in our pain, we can give thanks.  Thanks that He never leaves us.  Thanks that He is good even when we don’t ‘see’ it.  Thanks that Jesus came down in mortal flesh to feel all the things we feel in life (Heb. 4:15), bearing our griefs and sorrows (Is. 53:4).  We can be thankful that God loves us and hasn’t stopped loving us just because we fail Him over and over again.

Thank You, Lord, for Your mercy and grace in our lives.
Thank You for walking on this journey with us, and for helping us through the hard times.
Thank You for being You!
For this and more, oh Lord, we give You thanks!

Friday, October 05, 2012

These Hands

       These are my hands.  I was just thinking today how amazing God is to give me two extraordinary instruments such as these.  Sure, they look ordinary, and almost everyone has a pair, but I think the fact we have these versatile appendages is a blessing we don’t consider often enough.  With these hands I have washed my baby, wiped her bum, dried her tears, fixed her booboos, fed her, dressed her, held her, disciplined her and loved her.  With these hands I have fixed the car, re-arranged the house, cleaned, cooked, eaten, written, created works of art, and a zillion other things.  God has blessed me with these hands.

       Jesus talked about things our hands could do.  He told his original 12 disciples to “heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils:(Mt. 10:1,8) and they returned to tell Him all they had done (Lk. 9:10).  Later, Jesus sent out 70 of His followers to heal the sick (Lk 10:1) and they returned in joy saying the devils were subject to them through Jesus (Lk. 10:17).  According to Mark, Jesus said those who believe shall “cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.(Mt. 16:17,18)

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works (deeds) that I do shall he do also; and greater (in number) works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.  Jh. 14:12

       I’m sure these hands can do anything Jesus wants them to, miracles included since He’s the one doing the miracles anyway, and some of those deeds would be truly awesome.  But I’m sure Jesus wanted us to do more than ‘just’ miracles.  These hands should be feeding the poor, visiting the sick or in prison, clothing the naked, and giving to the needy, (Mt. 25:35-40; Lk. 6:38).  What this means for today is touching the lives of others by the ‘works’ of our hands, these hands that God gave to us.

       We can reach out a hand in welcome, we can give a hug for comfort, we can furnish drink and food to the needy, and clothes to those without.  We can pick up the phone to call a sick person, drive a cancer patient to the hospital, open the door for the disabled, and carry groceries in for the neighbour.  We can pat a co-worker on the back for encouragement, clap to show our delight at another’s success, grasp the hand of a person grieving a loss, and comfort those in distress.  We can clasp our hands together in desperate prayer for one another.  There are so many things these hands of ours can do.  They are extraordinary, versatile instruments that can be used for God’s glory every day.  Let’s utilize them often.

whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
1Cor. 10:31

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Follow the Trail

       The first few years Albert and I were married, we celebrated our monthly anniversaries.  It wasn’t anything big, but usually a little romantic.  We lived in an old, two-floor, square farmhouse in the quiet country which gave us a lot of privacy that we enjoyed.  One day I came home to find a red construction paper heart on the floor in the foyer.  It said to follow the hearts.  Going up the stairs I gathered them one by one to find beautiful, romantic words of love on each.  At the main floor I found them going up to the next level, and further still, into the bedroom.  There on the bed was a beautiful vase with flowers, more hearts and a happy anniversary card.  Yep, hubby knew how to be romantic! J

       Service was so awesome last night- I could really feel the presence of Almighty God there in the room with us.  How could it be that the all powerful, living God would want to be with us fallible men who vanish like mist (Jm. 4:14)?  Still, it made me think about how the Lord has led me on a little trail towards eternal life with Him.  One by one I have picked up the hearts He set out on my journey, and read His beautiful words of love for me.  Over time, I actually received those words more fully and they grew and filled my heart to overflowing.

       I haven’t reached the end of the trail yet, but I know what’s waiting there for me anyway, and it’s the Lord Himself, in all His glory and majesty, waiting to be with me J!!!  That will be the greatest present of all.  And as I go farther in life, I will continue to pick up the hearts He leaves for me on the path He’s directing me on.  See, when I get off the trail, there are no more words of encouragement or hearts to follow.  That is why I desire to continue on His path for me.  And as I go, I hear His words of love for me at every step.

But God demonstrates his love for us
by the fact that Christ died for us while we were still sinners. Rom. 5:8 ISV

But God, who is rich in mercy,
for his great love wherewith he loved us,  Eph. 2:4

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …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. 8:35-39

May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God
and to the endurance of Christ. 2Th. 3:5 ISV

Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love  Jer. 31:3

This is how God's love was revealed among us: God sent his unique Son into the world so that we might live through him. This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1Jh. 4:9,10 ISV

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Choosing a Cake

       It was my Mom’s birthday a few years ago, and no one had thought to make a cake, so my sister and I were chosen to go to the store to pick one up.  There are two things wrong with their choice; the two of us hate making decisions, and we take way too long to make the decisions we do manage to make.

       My brother had come with for whatever reason, but was elsewhere in the store while my sister and I stood over the cake display quietly debating the pros and cons of the different cakes.  We were still there 5 min later, then 10, then 15, and we still didn’t know what to choose, and by then were both feeling a lot of stress.  It was about 20 min later my brother walked up and wanted to know what was taking so long.

       I can’t really remember how we worked it out, probably my brother made the selection, but we soon left with two smaller cakes so that people would have a choice of flavours.  It all worked out, but I learned that day the importance of people working within the bounds of their gifts and talents.  The two of us weren’t gifted in decision making, so it caused us stress, while my other sister and brother would have had the job done in less than 5 min because they do have that gift.  There are days we have to stretch ourselves beyond the bounds of our giftings, but wherever possible, we should utilize everyone’s giftings for a more harmonious (less stressful) society.

       None of that is my focus today though.  What I really wanted to write about is making decisions.  For some of us it is harder than others, and yet, we are required to make important decisions every day.  In my life, some decisions are easier to make than others: for instance, getting out of bed whether I am in pain or not is a quick ‘I have to’ and roll out of bed.  Jogging in the morning also isn’t too bad to decide because (since the chemo) I’ve been trying to keep healthier and I know my life depends on it.  Breakfast choices are not so easy because, quite frankly, eating doesn’t thrill me.

       Most of the decisions I make daily are “have to’s” anyway, so it isn’t an actual choice.  The more difficult choices for me are usually God related.  How much time will I focus just on Him, will I choose my flesh over Him again because that’s easier, or will I choose to walk forward into the unknown (to me) with Him?  Will I really trust Him today in all matters?  That’s a biggie because at the root of it is my constant questioning of choices He has made.  If that sounds arrogant, it is, though not meant to be.  I am just- still- so full of fears of many kinds.

       Deep in my heart, I know God knows better than me, and as I look back in my life, I see the proof of that: things I survived but thought I wouldn’t, and things I did but didn’t think I could.  It’s all there to ‘see’, but still

 (Jesus said)
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.  Lk. 9:23
If thou wilt be perfect (complete), go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor (get rid of your treasures that aren’t Me), and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.  Mt. 19:21
If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.  Jh. 12:26

       It’s the biggest and sometimes hardest decision I make every day, even every hour: to follow Him.  When Jesus spoke these words it meant- to be in the same way with Him or to accompany Him as a disciple.  Though I’m not ‘doing it alone’ for He accompanies me, it is a decision that must be done over and over.  I wish I could do it once and it would last, but apparently my flesh cannot handle that (I say as it pulls me toward self), so I will have to daily choose to follow Jesus.

I will follow.
I will follow.
I will follow!

Oh Lord, help me please!!!

Monday, October 01, 2012

Tendency toward Religious Rituals

       Within a week of my birth, I was bundled up and brought to church on Sunday mornings, and it was assumed this would be our outing every Sunday morning as long as I lived with the only exceptions being hospitalization or death.  I learned when to sit, when to stand, when to say certain words, when to kneel, when to go up for communion, and many more things that were repeated week after week, and which ingrained themselves so deep within me that I still remember almost 30 years later!

       So, fast forward to present day and I got thinking, ‘why are so many nations and people in North America turning to Islam- in other words, what is the draw to that belief system?’  First off, I would like the say the god of Islam is NOT the Christian God.  In short, Islam’s god is ‘one god’ who would not defile himself to come as a man therefore Jesus is only a man who was a prophet, and the Holy spirit was the angel Gabriel who brought their ‘divine’ book to Muhammad.  Allah cannot be known by man, is a master not a Father, and so there is no personal relationship available.

       Christians believe our God is one God (Dt. 6:4) but exists as three: Father (Dt. 32:6), Son (Jesus was God who came in the flesh Jh. 1:1,14; Php. 2:5-8), and the Holy Spirit (also God Ac. 5:3,4).  Our God has always wanted a relationship with us, imperfect, mortal men.  At some point you will have to reconcile the basic Trinity doctrine within yourself, but on the basis of who God really is and His desire for relationship, our God and Islamic god are different.

       As far as I can tell, the big draw to the Islamic faith is rituals of religion (and no struggles understanding a triune god).  The Koran is specific about when to pray, how to pray, how to wash, basically, how to do everything in your life.  Kind of like how I was brought up in the church: stand, sit, kneel, say this then that, say grace, kneel at bedtime to pray, follow these rituals.  It is easier to just do what you are told instead of constantly wondering if you are ‘doing it right’.  Having said that, one of the greatest things about Christianity is its freedom in how we express our relationship with God.

       Some Christians are quiet prayer warriors, while others enjoy praying out loud.  Some preach and evangelize with vigor, as others quietly display the love of God in their lives.  Some Christians dance before the Lord in worship whilst others stand quietly in awe.  Prayers are said sitting, standing, kneeling, in bed, on the toilet, in the shower, on a bus, at work and school, alone or with others, in a large variety of words and languages, eyes opened or closed, well, you get the picture.  Almighty God has given us great freedom, but with this can come the uncertainty of “are we ‘doing it’ right or not?”

       But Christians are not exempt from the tendency towards religious ritual.  We say grace before meals usually in specific words, go to church on Sunday, Bible study and kids club on Wednesday, do ministry on Tuesday, serve the community on Friday, fellowship on Saturday morning, etc.  Our services are in set stages (ex.): worship (1 song)/ pray/ worship (4 songs)/ announcements/ offering/ sermon/ prayer/ worship (1 song).  Even at home our ‘devotions’ are like: sing 1 song, pray for specific others 5 min./ pray for self 3 min./ read Bible 15 min./ pray for understanding and help through day/ repeat once daily.  Admit it; we have a tendency to like the routine, unthinking forms of religion.  But Christ gave us freedom.

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. Jh. 8:36
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. Gal. 5:13
As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness (evil, wickedness, trouble), but as the servants of God. 1Pt. 2:16

       Notice the freedom Christ gave us is freedom from sin, shame, eternal damnation, but also freedom from religious rituals and laws.  This is not freedom to sin/ do wrong as the scriptures show, but we are all individuals and God’s relationship with each of us is as varied as our personalities.  So, with so much freedom, how do we keep from our tendency toward rituals and not have to over-think if we’re ‘doing it right’? 

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2Cor. 3:17
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1Cor. 10:31
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Col. 3:17

We need to do those things that glorify God, and do them in Jesus name.  Imagine if we only did the things that glorify God- how much different our lives would be.  But that is what we should strive for.  As for relationship, we are God’s children, we can call Him Abba or Father (Gal. 4:5-7) and we have not been given a spirit of bondage, but have freedom in our relationship with Him (Rom. 8).

I started life in a tendency toward religious ritual, but I am determined continue on a journey toward the freedom in Christ He wants for me.  How about you?