and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

October Baby- Secrets

       Yesterday I had the opportunity to watch the movie October Baby directed by Andrew and Jon Erwin.  It is the story of a 19 year old girl who just learns she is adopted- after a failed abortion- who then is uncertain what that means about who she is.  (Somewhat based on life of Gianna Jessen)  She goes on a road trip to try and find her birth mother and look for answers but ends up finding out more than she wants to know.  The biggest lesson I took home from the movie is how destructive secrets can be, to everyone involved.

       Adoptive mom and dad kept Hannah’s adoption a secret from her.  She must have wondered, ‘if it wasn’t a bad thing then why wouldn’t they have mentioned it sooner?’  As an adoptive parent, my daughter heard the word ‘adopted’ often enough that it didn’t bother her.  It would occasionally come up in the words I spoke to her such as, “I’m so glad the Lord allowed us to adopt you.”  But it was when she was maybe 4ish and she reached over to put her hand on my belly saying, “I comed from here,” and I told her she came from another woman’s tummy that she first started understanding what adoption meant.

       Even after Hannah’s parents told her about being adopted, they didn’t tell her some other important information involved in her birth, so when she found out, she was hurt again.  Enter in a nurse who kept secrets at her job that eventually led to her leaving the profession.  Then Hannah found her birthmom who kept the birth a secret from her newer husband.  More secrets causing pain.  Why is it we think it will be less painful to hide the bad/ difficult/ painful/ humiliating/ ‘awful’ things in life?  All it does is keep us in bondage and Jesus came to set us free.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,  Lk. 4:18

       There is a reason Jesus came- for our salvation.  Ultimately it is our complete deliverance He desires, not just salvation from hell.  God wants us to be whole*, which logically assumes free of sin, sickness and disease, mental health problems, oppression, and bondage.  Let me expound on some of this scripture using Strong’s:

    - to heal the brokenhearted  (to cure, make whole those who are shattered or completely crushed in their heart (feelings and/ or thoughts))
   - to preach deliverance to the captives  (to proclaim freedom (deliverance, forgiveness, liberty) to the prisoners of war/ captives)
    - to set at liberty them that are bruised (crushed)

       From experience, I have learned that keeping our ‘yucky’ parts or past a secret is used by the devil to oppress us with guilt, condemnation, shame, fear, self-loathing etc.  After all, he comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came to give us superabundant (in quantity and quality- Strong's) life:

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.  Jh. 10:10

        And secrets tend to come out sooner or later, so why not deal with them as soon as possible.  When we share our burdens the load on us is lightened (Gal. 6:2) and we can continue on our journey much relieved.  Yes, we are to cast our burden on the Lord (Ps. 55:22) and we should do this always, but He also put people- family, friends, and fellow believers, in our lives to help us with the tough stuff.  Confess (acknowledge) your faults (slip, unintentional error, willful transgression, fall, offence, sin) one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.”  (Jms. 5:16)

Healing ultimately comes through Jesus, but He often uses people in His endeavor.  Consider confiding your burdens (or secrets) in someone you trust today, and see what God will do in your life.

that you may be healed!

* Mt. 9:22; 15:28; Mk. 6:5; Lk. 8:50; Jh. 5:4,6,9

Friday, November 02, 2012

Who Would I Have Been?

Jesús en casa de Anás Museo del Prado José de Madrazo

       Many people, even Christians look down on the Jews in Jesus’ day because they killed Him.  The thing is, they went to synagogue every week and held festivals at the right time, so they heard the scriptures and they all knew a Messiah was to come.  But their idea of Messiah was one who would come and give them political freedom from their oppressors forever, not of a meek, humble man more concerned about their souls than their present predicament.  Hence that was the reason they did not know Him when He came.

       This morning I was thinking about who I would have been if I were born in Jesus’ time.  Believing the idea above, and given how I acted/ thought before I was saved, it doesn’t take me long to figure out that I probably would have been an established Pharisee.  You know, someone more concerned about appearances and tradition than an actual heart for God.  Would I have ever accepted Him?  Maybe, but maybe I would have condemned (by vote) Him to death.  This is a poem of mine from when I was thinking about how my actions as a Christian were like their actions in Jesus’ day.

How many times…

How often have I turned away
  when others cursed your name?
How many times have I accused
  you of not caring about me?
How many times have I condemned you
  when I couldn’t get my way?
How often have I spit at
  all the good you’ve done for me?
How many times have I betrayed
  you with my kiss?

How often have I beat you
  with my insults and my lies?
How many times have I whipped you
  with my bitter tongue?
How many times have I pushed
  my hate as thorns into your head?
How often have I nailed your hands
  and feet to stop their work?
How many times have I thrust
  my angry sword into your side?

They watched your flesh
rip off your bones
and laughed at your disgrace.
How could I say what
I’d have done if
I were in their place.
For everything they did
I’ve done so many times
to you.
And you, sweet Jesus
took it all and said,
“I still love you!”

© Vicky

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Whispering Trees

       I love nature.  One of the things I enjoy doing is walking through a forested area, preferably on a rustic path.  In the winter, or before the spring, I like to see the twists and turns of the branches, their uniqueness and quiet strength showing through.  In the fall, the bursts of colour make everything seem alive and inviting one into a surreal state.  In the summer, the trees exude life and beckon one to adventure and mystery.  No matter which of the three seasons we are in where the leaves remain on the trees, my second favorite part of being in a forest is hearing the whisper of the trees as the gentle breeze caresses their leaves.

       I hear the noise and it’s as if tiny voices are calling out to one another, maybe in the distance, which is why I can’t really differentiate one voice from another or distinguish the words they are saying.  The intrigue in those ‘voices’ draw me into the depths of the forest and beg for me to stay.  Lately, there’s been another sound I’ve been hearing as I go through my day.  It’s similar to the sound in the forest and it too draws me in, begs me to come and stay.  I don’t really hear specific words, but I know what it’s saying none the less.  It bids me “come…  come…”

It’s the voice of our Lord

He’s whispering to us all, “Come…  come…

Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice Dt. 4:36

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Mt. 11:28

And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me Mr. 1:17

And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a whileMr. 6:31 

Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine  Jh. 21:12

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wind in My Hair, Sand in My Shoes…

       Hurricane Sandy has just come up the east coast of North America, and we are feeling the effects of it with wind speed at 60 km to gusts of 100 km/hour.  The trees are bending in the wind, branches swaying back and forth.  The leaves have almost completely fallen off.  Last night at about 7 pm I had to (to save gas) ride my bike down the road about a kilometer.  As I was heading into the cold wind with my road bike, it was a struggle to move every meter, but then a gust would come and virtually stop me even though I tried to peddle.  Of course, what took me 15 min. to get there, with a ‘brisk’ tail wind only took me two minutes to get home!

       One of the reasons I love to ride my bicycle is the feel of the wind in my face.  It always brings a smile to my face.  Usually at some point of a longer journey, you might hear me singing cheerfully, “Wind in my hair, sand in my shoes, I’m hittin’ the highway, forgetting my blues…”  There is a wind that blows in my life more often then when I ride my bike.  He’s called the Holy Spirit and the reason many link Him to wind is because spirit in Hebrew and Greek means “breath” or “wind”.  Both a breath of air and breeze are appropriate ‘pictures’ of the Spirit of God. 

The wind blows where it wants to. You hear its sound, but you don't know where it comes from or where it is going. That's the way it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."   Jh. 3:8 ISV

1.  Wind is powerful.  No man can control it: stop it, turn it, increase it, decrease it, or change its direction in an open field.  Man can harvest energy from it by utilizing technology, but man cannot create it (except for in small areas).  So the Holy Spirit is not subject to human control.  He ‘blows’ when and where He wants to!

2.  Wind is moving air.  It has its purposes like distributing seeds which fosters new life.  There are many seeds that would perish without finding ground to grow in.  As well, we need ‘fresh’ air to breathe in which ‘freshens’ our blood and organs.  The Spirit also helps with new life: Jesus said “…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (Jh. 3:5)  So He brings new life and ‘freshens’ the one we live.

3.  Wind is invisible, without shape or form.  We can’t see its source or its destination, only the effects it has on the environment.  The Spirit is like this: we can’t see Him, but we can see the effects He has on our lives and the lives of those around us as we are being transformed and made alive.

4.  Wind varies its performance.  Sometimes it is soft and gentle, other times gusty and fierce.  While soft it feels comforting and cooling in the heat, while other times can topple great things and make us shake (Mt. 11:7).  The Spirit usually breathes gently in our lives wooing us to the Lord.  Sometimes He is like a cold burst of air to wake us up.  Other times He convicts and helps us convert by showing us the power and judgment of God.

       The Holy Spirit is indispensable in my life.  It is Him blowing in my life that keeps me moving and singing the praises of my great and mighty God.  He blows life into this aching and tired body and helps me put my feet on the floor every morning to start moving.  It is He who draws me closer to my God and makes me long to be with Him.  The Holy Spirit is like the wind in my hair when I ride my bike- He truly helps me forget my blues!

                    Oh Lord,
                              send Your Holy Spirit to blow
                                              on all Your children today
                                                             bringing us new life in You!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Such a Little Part

       Friday evening my hubby informed me that the furnace would not work any longer.  He thought the problem might be the thermocouple.  (That’s the thingamajig that is like a temperature control in your furnace to keep you safe.)  Of course, this had to happen when it just turned cold!  Although hubby’s been back to work for months, we still have not cleared up all the debt incurred during his long lay off, and I prayed that this furnace issue would be resolved relatively inexpensively, but first I though we ought to try cleaning it out as it is older and a boiler system.  Though it was nearly impossible to reach the thermocouple area, I did my best to clean it too, all to no effect.

       As far as I could see, it was an exposed piece of metal that is only about 1 ½ in. long and less than 1/8 in. wide, and I thought to myself, how can this little bitty thing shut down this whole system?  Oh, and what discomfort it caused as we had to bundle up for the weekend until the repair man showed up on Sunday.  Hubby even had to miss church so that he’d be here for whenever the guy arrived!  Eventually he showed up, it was a problem with the thermocouple which he needed to replace, and now we are warm again.

       Two things come to mind when I think of this little part and the trouble it caused us.  One is that a bad part, even if it is small, can spoil much more than its own size.  So a little leaven (sin) can leaven the whole lump (defile the whole person) (1Cor. 5:6).  Also, the tongue which is only a little part of the body, if it goes bad (gossip, envious words) can cause big problems everywhere (Jm. 3:5,6).  I’m sure we all recognize these things, so I’ll not dwell on them any longer.  I’d like to continue writing on the positive side of the issue.

       There are a lot of people who don’t see the value in the things they do or in who they are.  They feel like a little fish in a big pond, and no one would miss them if they were gone.  They feel unremarkable, like anyone could take their place, and maybe even their looks are not outstanding.  Well, as for looks, even Jesus Christ did not stand out (Is. 53:2), and yet He most certainly changed the world in a big way- forever!

       That little thermocouple in our furnace keeps us safe from gas pouring out into our house and potentially causing an explosion.  So the prayer of one person could keep a church split, a disease, a mental breakdown etc. from happening to someone.  As for perceived size, just consider the hundreds of children who are making big differences all over the world (you can search them online).  That meal to that starving woman is no small thing!  We are all unique and no one can take our place without something important being lost.

       As for our value, yes we are wretches who can’t seem to do it all right or even get by a day without messing up, but consider this- if God made you (in His image even! Gen. 1:26,27) He believes you are needed here.  God watched us being formed in the belly and He thinks of us more often than we can count (Ps. 139).  Would He do those things if we were not valuable to Him?  He gave us a soul worth more than the world (Mt. 16:26).  Believers are co-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17), chosen, royal, holy and His own special people (1Pt. 2:9,10).  But the biggest proof that we are valuable to God lies in what He did for us.

       He sent a big part of Himself- His Son Jesus - down to us in a human body that suffered the troubles all humans do, watched as He grew and was persecuted, watched as He was tortured and killed, and watched as His Son’s blood poured out on the ground for our salvation even "while we were yet sinners" (Rom. 5:8).  Would God do that for someone who was not precious to Him?  If we say we are not valuable, than we say the blood of Jesus was worthless, and that God is stupid for making us.  Dare we say that?  If God considered us important enough to do all He did for us in the work of salvation, than we are valuable in His eyes, and therefore, logically, important to this world.

       So maybe we are just a little thermocouple in this life, barely able to be seen, hiding behind a lot of metal, looking small and insignificant in the bigger picture.  The reality may just be that we change the world by changing one person’s life without even knowing it.  God can do that in us, if we let Him.

Thank You Lord for considering us worth the life of Your Son!!!

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand
Ps. 139:17,18

Sunday, October 28, 2012

If Jesus were here…

       I’m just wondering what Jesus would think of how we live our lives today if He were walking the earth in human form again.  If He walked with us through our day, what would He think of all we do and say, and how we live?  What would He think about the things we see, the things we listen to, the attitudes we have and of society in general, and how we treat each other?  What would Jesus think about our relationship with the Father, and His place in our lives?  He lived in human flesh as we do so how did He live with the Father, and what exactly did He expect of us in regard to this?

John 17 (ISV):
"I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their message, v.20 (that’s us!)

that they may all be one. Just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me.  I have given them the glory that you gave me, so that they may be one, just as we are one. v.21,22 (how Jesus lived with the Father) (how we may live with the Father)

I am in them, and you are in me. May they be completely one, so that the world may know that you sent me and that you have loved them as you loved me. v.23 (Father loves us as He loved Jesus)

Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am and to see my glory, which you gave me because you loved me before the creation of the world. "Righteous Father, the world has never known you. Yet I have known* you, and these men have known that you sent me. v.24,25 (Jesus knew the Father and wanted us to be with Him)

I made your name known to them, and will continue to make it known, so that the love you have for me may be in them and I myself may be in them."  v.26 (God’s love and Christ in us- that’s intimate!)

*have known- be aware (of), feel, (have) known (-ledge),
  perceive, be resolved, can speak, be sure, understand