and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Covering of Wings

       It was a cold, rainy, miserable day last spring, and I was driving my son to the bus stop early in the morning.  I felt bad for all the kids waiting at bus stops as I drove past, only a fraction of them holding umbrellas to keep from getting soaked.  As I passed by I observed one Dad waiting with his 5ish daughter, wearing a bright pink raincoat with her blue backpack secure on her back, and noted how he squatted down low beside her to hold the umbrella closer to her head for better protection.  He looked uncomfortable in that position and the rain was bouncing off the ground to thoroughly wet the bottom of his pants, but he held still to keep the rain from soaking his daughter.

       I thought, what a wonderful Dad to protect his daughter at cost to himself.  It would have been much easier for him to stand up and his pants wouldn’t get so wet.  Instead, he sacrificed his own comfort for his precious little girl.  She stood still under the protection of his umbrella.  A very short time later, I drove back the other way, was stopped by the bus’s lights, and observed how Dad crouched down to walk with her to the door, holding the umbrella close to her head to keep the rain off still, now his exposed back getting wet.  These words rang in my head...

Safety lies in the shadow of your wings,
I rely on your faithful covering;
Arrows fly but I will not be afraid
When I dwell in the shadow of your wings.

       The Lord has always been my protective covering although sometimes I have seen His protection only in hindsight.  The warmth of ‘His down feathers’ brings me comfort, and ‘His  contour feathers’ shield me from the bad weather/ storms of life.  Of course, God doesn’t really have feathers, but there is a truth expressed in scripture, and that truth is that God is our refuge and we can find protection with Him.  We can put our trust in Him.  Of course, this doesn’t mean rain will never fall on us as it falls on the just and unjust (Mt. 5:45), but it means He covers us in all circumstances of life.

How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.  Ps. 36:7
(all NKJV)
Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,  Ps. 17:8
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.  Ps. 91:1,4
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by.  Ps. 57:1
       Like the Dad holding the umbrella over his precious daughter, our Father stands with us to cover us as we ‘wait’ through these troubled times of our lives, and one day He will safely see us to the door of the bus (Heaven) where we will be forever free of all calamity.

Thank You Jesus!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Wisdom of a Parent

       When I was a child, I thought like a child.  Mom and Dad would take care of all my necessities.  Life was fairly easy and decisions were few.  As a young teen, I began to see that my parents really didn’t know everything, and sometimes they just didn’t understand anything important or what life was like for me.  Occasionally, they even made mistakes.  In my later teen years I believed there was very little they actually knew especially about life and how I had to live.  I questioned their wisdom and certainly didn’t believe they had my best interests at heart.

       As a parent I realize how much we try to do it right, but fail in so many ways.  I also see how life experience is worth all the knowledge you think you have.  I understand that each child is unique as is each parent and thus every relationship must be approached by a different angle thus being more complicated than I ever imagined.  There are no set rules that work for every child.   And now, I am the parent who doesn’t know or understand; but I also see how my utmost concern is what is best for them- because I love them.

       These thoughts are running through my mind this morning as I think back a few weeks ago when I was speaking with Abba, Father.  He was telling me things that I ‘felt’ unprepared to hear or receive.  The old “I’m not worthy.  Who am I?  There are better choices than me,” words were coming out of my mouth, and I guess He’d had enough.  “Do you think I’m stupid, that I would make the wrong decision?” He spoke sternly.  Oops

Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:  Dan. 2:20
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!  Rom. 11:33
Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite. Ps. 147:5 ASV

       Immediately I realized my questioning was wrong as I was actually questioning His wisdom- God’s wisdom- the One who created the entire universe- and I cowered convicted on the floor.  Who was I to think He did not know exactly what was going on everywhere and acting like He didn’t understand me?

       I am the child in this relationship, and He is the parent- but as parent He truly does know everything, understand everything, and He doesn’t make mistakes.  God did not err when he made me, when He allowed certain things in my life, and in the call He has on my life.  He knows what is needed, by whom, and when.

(Job replied) …But how can a mortal be righteous before God?  Though one wished to dispute with him, he could not answer him one time out of a thousand.  His wisdom is profound, his power is vast.  Who has resisted him and come out unscathed.  Job 9:1-4 NIV
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  Is. 55:8,9  ASV

       God’s wisdom goes far beyond our own, far beyond what we can even imagine.  We might be able to answer one question out of a thousand He asks, so how can we dispute that He knows best.  Can we get away with resisting Him forever; will there not be repercussions?  I’m trying really hard these days to just say, “Yes Lord”, and I’m hoping one day I will really be at total peace with that answer.  For now, I’m just trying to stop questioning Him on everything.  After all, He’s my Dad and He only wants what’s best for me.  He has my future in mind.

We may not always understand, but we can trust God our Father, that He always wants what is best for us- because He loves us.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,
saith the LORD,
thoughts of peace, and not of evil*…
Jer. 29:11

*(ra raah- bad, adversity, affliction,
calamity, distress, grief, harm, heavy,
hurt, misery, sorrow, trouble)

Thursday, November 08, 2012

God of the Odd

Two True Stories, One Similarity

       It was around 2002 and I needed to make my daughter a new highland vest for her dance competition.  As usual, we couldn’t afford to buy a new one, so I’d have to strip the ribbon off the old one and find the extra material left over from the last one I made.  After a few days of looking everywhere I could think of for that material, I tried to buy some new one, but there was none in the colour I needed in our city.  That was it.  I HAD to find the cloth in my house.  I prayed to the Lord, and I heard Him say in that inner voice, “It’s in the tree”.  Okay, just what was that supposed to mean?

       I looked out at the trees in our yard and shook my head.  There was no way it was out there in our yard.  We didn’t even have any plants in the house that could be considered tree-like, so I began to think, ‘maybe it was my imagination’.  I didn’t know what I was going to do.  “Please Lord, help!”  I heard the same words as earlier.  Later that night it dawned on me, ‘I do have one tree in the house- my artificial Christmas tree.  But there’s no way I would have ever put cloth in the attic.’  Still, I decided I was going to go look, and then say, ‘told you it wouldn’t be there’, but as I pushed the picky branches around, I found a plastic grocery bag tangled in them, and managed to get it free.  Inside the bag was the black velour like material I was looking for and I was able to make the vest.

***                                                 ***                                                     ***
       Hubby has a prosthetic eye and has had one since he was a teenager.  One day he told me about something that happened before we ever met.  After getting home one time he had taken out his plastic eye because it was bugging him and his socket needed a rest.  He left the eye in a tissue somewhere and couldn’t find it.  He searched the whole house over, even the garbages, but was having no success.  If there is anyone who has a talent for finding things it is him, and he doesn’t give up until he finds the item.

        The main floor of the house had four basic rooms, and he had checked them all several times with no luck.  Eventually he also asked the Lord for help.  I can’t remember how long it was after that, but he heard a light ka-thunk and roll.  There, in the middle of the living room floor was his eye, almost like it had fallen out of nowhere to land and roll on the hardwood floor.  Odd (strange, abnormal, unusual, out of the ordinary) isn’t it?

***                                                  ***                                                     ***
       Both these stories seem unbelievable.  I guess to some people, so does the ‘story*’ of Jesus who was God, but came to the earth in mortal, human flesh (Php. 2:6,7), taught and did incredible miracles of healing, resurrection of the dead, altering nature, multiplying elements, dying on the cross for our sins and then raising from the dead Himself.  Just because it might sound unbelievable, doesn’t mean it is untrue.  There are four main written testimonies.  Luke, a physician who investigated what he wrote, says this:

Since many people have attempted to write an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were passed down to us by those who had been eyewitnesses and servants of the word from the beginning, I, too, have carefully investigated everything from the beginning and have decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.  Lk. 1:1-4

       Thousands of people saw Jesus in the flesh, many saw Him suffer and die, and over 500 saw Him after His resurrection (1Cor. 15:6).  Most of the apostles and many newly converted to Christianity died horrible, torturous deaths still proclaiming Jesus risen from the dead.  If they were even slightly uncertain, would they have died for that truth?  Would you? 
       God is the God of the odd.  He uses the foolish (stupid, absurd thereby odd) things of life to confound the wise (or those who think they are!) (1Cor. 1:27).  So no matter how unbelievable the Bible may seem, based on the facts I have checked out, I am confident it is a true recollection of all that happened historically and the truth of God given to man for the benefit of all mankind.

The truth will remain the truth whether or not anyone believes it.

For your eternal salvation, I hope you believe the truth of the Bible.

*Unbelievers consider it a story/ fable and even some ‘believers’ claim it is only allegorical or a story used for teaching good morals.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Normal + Justified

       This will be my 416th post since I started in 2011 and I just really paid attention to something today on the word processor I type these entries on (yes, I’m a bit slow! J ).  There’s a box in the top left corner that indicates what formatting you use.  For me, standard practice is normal + justified.  I’m not quite sure what the normal stands for, but the justified is what keeps both sides straight, and that visually appeals to me.

       I’m thinking, if it was a reference to me, it would probably say abnormal + justified.  After all, we are all unique in so many ways, and it’s supposed to be that way, probably to make life more interesting.  Plus, who wants to live in a world filled with people who act, think like me- we’d drive each other crazy!  What is normal anyway: usual, standard, regular, ordinary, typical, common, average...?

       Do you want to be average, common or ordinary?  Perhaps, but even if you do, you aren’t.  Somewhere you have an odd quirk and maybe you just hide it well from others.  Or maybe everything about you seems average, but you sing awesome opera in the shower.  I can’t do that!  Personally, I don’t think ‘normal’ exists.  As a wise person once said, “normal is just a setting on the dryer”.

       What about the justified though, how am I justified.  Well, the truth is I am a sinner, born into sin passed on from Adam (Rom. 5:12+), and was raised sinning all my days- and I was considered a ‘good’ kid!  That sin kept a barrier between God and me for many years, and condemned me to an eternal life in hell when I died.  And so it was like I was standing in front of a judge with blood on my hands, guilty of many crimes that I certainly did commit. 

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;  Rom. 3:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Rom. 6:23

       The judge was about to sentence me for my crimes, when I cried out for help to Jesus, and He showed up immediately.  He told the judge He would take my place and cited legal precedence for the act.  He took my sentence on Himself, by the blood pouring out from His nail pierced hands.  I was justified, cleared of guilt, pardoned of my crime, and freed from the punishment I deserved*.  Amazing, what Jesus did for me- all because He loved me (Eph. 2:4,5)I am justified.

I hope you are too!

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.  Rom. 8:1,33
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Rom. 5:1,2

*Justification is a pronouncement to clear the guilty; to pardon or release from guilt and deserved punishment, accepting righteousness by Jesus Christ’s punishment.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Pushy Drivers

       Between 7:40 and 8:12 am every school day, I am driving back and forth to my son’s bus stop.  Due to the fact the Lord allowed me to receive three speeding tickets a year after He warned me to slow down (obviously I didn’t listen L ) I have rarely gone much over the limit.  He convicted me even further- to simply obey, and since I try to be better at that now, I’ve been keeping my speeds to the posted limits.  You can imagine I frustrate a lot of people who rush to work in the morning, but I always try to stay on the right side so they can pass me.

       Still, it seems like many of them try ‘pushing’ me as I’m driving.  Do they think if they tail me close enough that I’ll speed up?  Often, they get far too close for comfort which makes me incredibly uncomfortable as long as they are there.  In the past my own frustration may have caused me to go faster, but now I just ‘stand my ground’ and do what God wants me to.  If it means I need to pull of temporarily to let a line up of cars go by before they get frustrated, then that’s what I do.  No one can pressure me to break my convictions, only I can make that decision.

       The way I see it, there are always three sources of ‘pressure to do wrong’ in our lives every day we live and breathe.  The first ‘pushy driver’ is ourselves.  We want.  We desire.  We take what we want.  This is what living in the flesh after the pleasures of this life is all about.  For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.(Rom 8:13)  I’ve always put more pressure on myself than others because they are not me and have their own lives to deal with, but I must deal with mine, and I don’t always do it well, so I try harder and harder, fail, and fall, and eventually realized it is ALL much easier with God’s help!

       The second ‘pushy driver’ is the enemy.  The "prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2) who tries to snare us (2Tm. 2:26) in his trap, seeks to devour us (1Pt. 5:8) because he wants to steal, kill and destroy us (Jh. 10:10).  If he thinks pressure will serve his purpose, you can bet he will use it- usually to get you to sin/ go against what God says.  He will push, and push, and push until you break.  But there is one greater than he- who can, and will help when you cry out to Him- Almighty God.

Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.  Ps. 55:17
If God be for us, who can be against us?  Rom. 8:31
greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.  1Jh. 4:4
for the battle is not yours, but God's.  2Chr. 20:15

       I think the hardest ‘pushy driver’ to deal with is the third one which is   the world- meaning all the unsaved people of the earth. (Unbelievers of all kinds including those who say they are Christians, but are not)  We are supposed to be living in the world but not of it (Rom. 12:2; Jh. 15:19).  This means that although our bodies live in this world, we are not to conform: live, behave, think, act on our feelings like the world.  But they push/ pressure us to be like them, believe like them, buy like them, think and feel like them, watch and listen to what they do.  Why?  Because it makes them feel better since they feel less conviction for the way they live.

       As God’s children we must determine to stand in the onslaughts against us, and not give in to any of the pressure to conform to this world or follow anyone but God.  If we truly love God then we must stand in the truth of what He wants us to live like, with the decisions that would please Him, and not worry about what others think of us.  When we are being pushed/ pressured, we must ignore the discomfort and do what’s right.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  1Jh. 2:15
Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.  2Th. 2:15
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? Ps. 118:6 also Heb. 13:6

Pushy drivers can’t make us do anything.  It’s our decision!

having done all, to stand.
Eph. 6:13

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Skipping Out

       In grade school I always tried to get perfect attendance.  In fact, during the winter of my grade 8 year, we were up in Toronto and I made my dad drive us home (3 hours away) in a blizzard, six of us jammed in a little Acadian because I didn’t want to miss one day and the second car broke down.  High school started after graduation and there were rotating classes.  I was heavily involved in the yearbook (for all four years) so sometimes during classes I would need to leave for yearbook duties.  There was only one time, probably grade 11, that I illegitimately skipped classes, and that was to help a friend in crisis.

       The funny thing was that I was never caught by the staff.  One teacher was told I was on a trip, another assumed I was doing yearbook stuff, and another teacher was told I was working on the yearbook, so none of the teachers, who’s classes I missed, wrote me up.  Honestly, I was usually a good kid and followed the rules, so I’m sure that played into it somewhere, but it still surprised me- I thought for sure I’d get a detention and in trouble with my parents!

       The reason I’m posting about skipping out is because I am today.  There are some things in life that are okay to skip out of.  There are some that are not, and the biggest of them all is salvation because our very lives depend on it.  We must be saved or we will be eternally lost (Heb. 6:1,2).  So, don’t skip out of giving your life to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords- Jesus Christ, for there is salvation only in Him (Jh. 14:6).  He died to deliver you from death to life (Jh. 5:24)- a life in Him that can be rich and full (Jh. 10:10).  And even though He’s already paid the price by dying on the cross for each of us (1Pt. 2:24), there is something wonderful for us that He doesn’t do:

   He never skips out on us!!!

I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Heb. 13:5, Dt. 31:6

God is not a man, that he should lie
Nm. 23:19