and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


       Slavery, was a ‘black eye’ in the history of North America though it was practiced trading for centuries beforehand in Europe and Asia by many cultures and ‘religions’.  Treatment of immigrants here bordered on slavery as most people never got out of their indentured-ness to become free.  Almost everyone I know today believes slavery is wrong and we abolished it decades ago, but the truth is we still face it daily- in fact, we participate in it.

       Wha’chu talking about?  Ain’t no slavery here!  According to Jesus slavery will remain wherever sin lies, “…Truly, I tell all of you with certainty that everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.” (Jh. 8:34 ISV)  Well, that pretty well defines us all as slaves because we all sin, so let’s consider this scripture further.  The verb tense is active indicating currently practicing.  Sure we asked for forgiveness when we were saved, so then we stopped sinning, right?

       My own past experience proves that some sins are easily picked back up again and can remain for many years.  Shame and condemnation of self were not enough to stop me from sinning though I often tried.  My own efforts to stop seemed to fail even if they worked for short times.  Certainly, I was still a slave to sin.

       One of the worst sins (to me) kept me in bondage for over 20 years.  Eventually as I kept praying, got closer to the Lord, in His Word more, and surrendered further to Him, that particular sin fell away until one day I realized it wasn’t holding me in bondage anymore.  Jesus Christ had truly made me free- “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (Jh. 8:36)

       Still, I cannot say I am no longer a slave to any sin, but I can say that I am free from the law of sin and death IF I walk in the Spirit (Rom. 8:1,2), and personally, I’ve found ‘walking in the Spirit’ to be the best way to avoid the slavery of sin again.  How to do that all the time is something I am working on, but hopefully with the Lord’s help, it will keep improving.  Meanwhile I try to keep my eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12:2) who is the only source of true freedom.

Do not yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but yield yourselves to God  For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under Law, but under grace.
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under Law, but under grace? Let it not be! Do you not know that to whom you yield yourselves as slaves for obedience, you are slaves to him whom you obey;  Rom. 6:13-16 MKJV

       We feel pity for those who were forced into slavery for we consider it disgraceful.  Yet we daily face the slavery of sin as if it is inconsequential: after all, everyone does it, it is no big deal, I can’t stop, it’s out of my control, I’m only human…  In reality, it is a choice we make every day whether or not we will put ourselves under the master of sin once again or stay/ live/ walk in the Spirit.

Oh Lord, help us all to see the chains of sin that still have us in bondage so that we may pray and seek Your assistance to truly live free.

The Messiah has set us free
so that we may enjoy the benefits of freedom.
So keep on standing firm in it,
and stop putting yourselves under the yoke of slavery again.
Gal. 5:1 ISV

Friday, January 11, 2013

Benefits of Humility

       My hubby has always been a hard worker.  From 8 yrs to 19ish he worked in the fields at home and then got a factory job for the next 22 years with low pay, only some benefits and no pension of which to speak.  Now at 62 he’s been in the auto industry 17 years, and though they’ve lost some things in the latest contracts, the benefits are still great, especially for those of us living in Canada- and we would have great financial difficulty without drug benefits since we all have various health issues.

       If you had a choice between two similar companies, one with benefits and one without, which one would you pick?  Usually, the better benefits win out because it is like getting extra pay and it sure makes life less stressful when healthcare costs are covered.  Jobs aren’t the only things to have benefits; choices do as well.  The choice to get married, have children, move to the suburbs, get a better education, etc. all have their own rewards.  Yesterday I wrote about humility, and today I’d like to speak about the benefits of humility.

But to this one I will look, to the afflicted and contrite spirit, and the one who trembles at My Word.  Is. 66:2
Bless the LORD, My soul, and never forget any of his benefits: Ps. 103:2 ISV
     (gemul- dealing, recompense, benefit)

The Lord regards the humble.  Is. 66:2 (above) (all MKJV)
The Lord hears the humble.
     He forgets not the cry of the humble.  Ps. 9:12
     Jehovah, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will prepare their heart,
     You will cause Your ear to hear,  Ps. 10:17
The humble will enjoy God’s presence.
     For so says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity; whose name is Holy,
     I dwell in the high and holy place, even with the contrite and humble spirit,
     to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.  Is. 57:15
The humble will be delivered by God.
     And He shall save the lowly of eyes.  Job 22:29
God will lift up the humble.
     Be humbled before the Lord, and He will lift you up.  Jm. 4:10
God will exalt the humble.
     For whoever exalts himself shall be abased, and he who humbles himself
     shall be exalted.  Lk. 14:11 also 18:14
The humble are greatest in Christ’s kingdom.
     Therefore whoever shall humble himself like this little child,
     this one is the greater in the kingdom of Heaven.  Mt. 18:4 also Mt. 20:26-28
The humble shall receive more grace.
     He gives grace to the lowly.  Pr. 3:34
     God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.  Jm. 4:6
The humble will be upheld by honour.
     Before shattering, the heart of man is proud, and before honor is humility.  Pr. 18:12
     A man's pride shall bring him low; but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit.  Pr. 29:23
Humility is before honour.
     before honor is humility.  Pr. 15:33
Humility leads to riches, honour and life.
     By humility and the fear of Jehovah are riches and honor and life.  Pr. 22:4

       Those are a lot of benefits we can have if we have humility- true humility.  That doesn’t mean we act humble on the outside but inside are still prideful.  It means we see ourselves as we really are by remembering where we’ve been, where we are, and how we need God’s grace and mercy just to survive (Thurs. post was how practically to stay humble).  We all need to have more humility in our lives.  If we are to live like Jesus (1Jh. 2:6), we must humble ourselves- clothe ourselves with it every day like Jesus who  “…being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Php 2:8)

It is our choice whether or not we live like Jesus.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What I Put On

       Some women (and men) take a lot of time figuring out what they are going to wear in the morning.  They base their decisions on what they are doing, who will see them, how they feel, or what fits to the situation in which they will be.  Not me.  I actually get up and purposely put on my clothes from the day before.  Yuck, right?!  Practical- yes!  The reason I do this is because at 6:20 in the morning, who wants to think, plus I go change into workout clothes and run 5 k on the treadmill, after which I’ll need to wash up and change into fresh clothes ready to face the day.
       What to wear, what to wear.  On the one or two days I don’t work out, I usually go for a t-shirt and jeans or jogging pants.  Obviously, comfort is my first consideration.  But something I don’t really think about putting on every day is humility because humility is a word I just don’t reflect on much.  It seems like the word has fallen into disuse- even among Christians.  In fact, if you take away the occasional pulpit sermon, I can’t recall the last time someone spoke, within my earshot, of humility.  Yet the Bible clearly indicates its importance.

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender feelings of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering,  Col. 3:12 MKJV
Put on (wear, be clothed with) humility… 1Pt. 5:5 MKJV
walk with all humility and gentleness (short paraphrase of Eph. 4:1,2)
        The first thing that stands out to me is that we have an active part: in other words, we can’t just leave it up to God to change us into humble people.  We are to put it on, clothe ourselves in it like when I choose to wear a particular shirt I then put my head and arms through and pull it down to cover me.  But what exactly does it mean to wear humility?  Does it mean I think I am garbage, that I am the lowest on the earth?  Does it mean I just never think of myself?  Does it mean that I stop thinking the world revolves around me and my needs?  To simplify, I do know it means to put my head and arms through to cover me.

       Great, but in practicality, how do I put humility on?  Remember, Jesus was humble (Php. 2:8) and we are supposed to be like Him (1Jh 2:6; 1Cor. 11:1).  Affliction helps (Dt. 8:3), though I don’t really want to put that one on; still it does happen and tends to remind us of our humble place.  Read all of Col. 3 and there are several points Paul brings up that would help: 

Keep in mind we were all sinners bound for God’s wrath (v.5,6).  Remember our old nature and its ways, as well as our new nature (Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24) and how we are supposed to live (re: how we fail to live up to holy standards) (v.8-10).
Also consider that God made the universe (Gen. 1:1+) AND us (v.10) so we are really small compared to Him.
In addition, God does not treat us with partiality (Acts 10:34)- for salvation is for all who truly believe (v.11,12) and each of us must surrender to His Word and what He wants for us (v. 12-17) which we also fail to do.

       With viewing ourselves as the sinners we were and are, as mere mortal men (Heb. 2:6) who still struggle with holy living, we need to throw ourselves on the mercy and grace of our Savior daily- hourly- every second we breathe, for it is only in Him we have life (Jh. 14:6).  Seeing ourselves this way, and remembering that despite everything God has given us and done for us yet we still fail- epically- and remembering all the times He picked us back up, brushed off the dirt and continued to walk with us, these things should help us to put on humility.  It might not be the most comfortable thing to wear...

What are you wearing tomorrow? 
I’m gonna try to remember to put on two shirts!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Boats that Float

       My awesome sister borrows a cottage up in northern Canada in the summer and is nice enough to invite family to go up and enjoy some time relaxing.  It’s beautiful there and I love to view the scenery whether driving, walking, or riding a bike.

       A couple years ago while we were driving I decided to take a detour off the regular route to see where another road led.  It ended at a very small rural community.  The dead end road ran parallel to a river, and as we were passing by I briefly noticed a pontoon boat among many other watercraft off in the middle of the river.  My mom said something to me about a boat and I turned to look but saw several boats to choose from.  “Which one?” I asked.  Uncertainty marked her words when she replied, “the one that you know floats.”

       Huh?  The boat that floats?  Don’t they all float- ‘cause really, the only good boat is one that floats (unless you’re into diving wrecks).  Anyway, we all laughed and I managed to eek out the words, “the boat that floats as opposed to what boats that sink?”  Well, that made us just laugh more.  When she realized how it sounded, she laughed too, and after telling us we knew what she meant, she pointed out the pontoon boat I’d noticed earlier.

       Not all boats stay floating though.  Just look at Google Earth and there are many wrecks world wide, especially in the shallow (200ft max depth) Lake Erie of the Great Lakes which I live near.  Storms and underwater dangers cause most non-war related sinking.  It was in one of these situations that a few men found themselves years ago.  To look at the geography of the sea they were on, you’d think it could never get ‘that bad’*, but a friend of mine who toured the area explained the Sea of Galilee is in a canyon like area where sudden winds can pick up funneling through the hills and unexpectedly cause waves that would be considered high in the 26ft x 7ft-ish boat sizes of those days.

(Jesus and disciples crossed the sea by boat)
Now as they were sailing, Jesus fell asleep. A violent storm swept over the lake, and they were taking on water and were in great danger. So his disciples went to him, woke him up, and kept telling him, "Master! Master! We're going to die!" He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves. They stopped, and there was calm.
Then he asked the disciples, "Where's your faith?" Frightened and amazed, they asked one another, "Who is this man? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him!"  Lk. 8:22-25 ISV

       Seems to me we have sudden ‘wind storms’ come up in our lives far too often.  I had an emotional one yesterday that knocked me around some, but for once, I didn’t think my boat was sinking.  It sure gave me a lot to think about though.  And right now I’m wondering how Jesus could sleep through the sound of the heavy winds, the boat heaving, and the water splashing and pouring into it.  Perhaps He practiced Php. 4:6-9^ long before it was written and so God’s peace was on Him; we do know He stayed in communication with the Father.  Maybe it was the certainty that no one could take His life before the appointed time.  (Jh. 10:17,18)

       Any way you look at it, the disciples were in fear because they did not have faith in God that He would work in their situation.  Jesus did, stood up and rebuked the raging wind and waves.  While I haven’t ever done this myself, I do believe the same miracle can be done today if the Lord desires.  Question is, who would stand up to do it?  Would I?

Oh Lord, help me have that kind of faith!

*680ft below sea level (13 x 7 or 8miles x 150ft max)
Hills on the east reach 2000 ft height

^Never worry about anything. Instead, in every situation let your petitions be made known to God through prayers and requests, with thanksgiving. Then God's peace, which goes far beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your hearts and minds in union with the Messiah Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is fair, whatever is pure, whatever is acceptable, whatever is commendable, if there is anything of excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—keep thinking about these things. Likewise, keep practicing these things: what you have learned, received, heard, and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you.  Php. 4:6-9 ISV

Monday, January 07, 2013

Parents and Children

       Personally, I think the hardest thing to do is be a good parent and the second hardest to be a good spouse.  Work is temporarily stressful, but there are rewards of pay for your efforts, occasional thank you or good job-s, and a bonus now and then.  There is a sense of accomplishment when a task is completed well which becomes a confidence boost.  But parenting?!...

Not always this happy, eh?
       Seems to me it never turns out the way you thought when you were young.  I thought I’d always get along with my kids, who would always love me and I them, and we would have tons of fun together.  I thought I’d be the perfect parent.  Pthhhhh!  Every decision I’ve made has been what I thought was in their best (long term) interest and not my own but they usually don’t believe it. 

       Have I mentioned my kids are teens and it seems like nothing I do is right?  The problem is, when I look in the mirror, I already see all the things I should have done better, those things I outright failed at, and those things I completely missed.  Yes, occasionally I see the things I did right!)  In the end, I didn’t turn out much better than my parents like I thought I would L!  And please don’t tell my kids this one- despite how it looks I an NOT always confident that I’m making the right decision.  Sometimes I have to make a call even when I’m uncertain.  Being a good parent is so difficult.

But I wish.

       I wish we would get along better even though our personalities or values are different.  (It sure would be easier if we had more in common.)  Also, that we would spend more time together having fun and getting to know one another more intimately.  I’ve always wanted for us to be close  My dream was that we could talk about anything

       Guess I’m wondering what God wishes as our Father. Just what are His hopes and dreams for relationship with us?  Does He dream of the same things we do as parents?

The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. Zep. 3:17 all NKJV
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son… Jh. 3:16
But God demonstrates His own love toward us… Rom 5:8
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.  Jh. 15:13
We love Him because He first loved us.  1 Jh. 4:19
I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me. Pr. 8:17
(Nothing)shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 8:39

Sunday, January 06, 2013


(Not Me!)
       Got my bicycle tires pumped up this morning for the ride into church.  I thought it was going to be really cold, but after I got outside, it was only -2C, which isn’t too bad to ride in, but of course I knew the bike paths would be snow covered, so I already decided to avoid them.  My bags secured down, I got on the bike and started peddling.  My mind dwelt on how I’d have to be careful on the roads for snow/ ice problems when I noticed something in eye view on my helmet that shouldn’t be there.  I reached up to feel what it was when I hit the part of the driveway that holds water longer than any other, only the water had turned to ice, my tires spun out, and I fell off the bike slamming my left knee and wrist down.  Ouch.

       There wasn’t enough time to waste on pity parties because I was still determined to ride in, so I swiped the snow off myself, pulled the bike back up and walked it to the end of the driveway to a clear spot before getting back on.  About a mile away, my knee stopped hurting so I thought it would all be okay.  Once in the library and with increased walking, the pain began to increase.  It really isn’t horrible, but I’m thinking I might take some meds to help keep swelling down.

       Life is full of sorrows and grief*.  We face trouble, persecution and death (2Cor 4:8-10) while in these mortal bodies, and sometimes it seems the troubles are never ending.  We get hurt.  We fall.  Sometimes it is immediately painful and sometimes it increases over time.  Occasionally the pain comes and goes.  We just never know what this life will bring around but we do know it rains on the just and unjust (Mt. 5:45), so while on this earth, we are not exempt from troubles just because we’ve chosen Jesus.

Though we hurt, even through the hurt, the Lord never leaves us alone in our pain.  He promises He will be near- whether or not we feel Him there.
     -He heals the broken-hearted, and binds up their wounds.  Ps. 147:3  (all MKJV)
     -Jehovah is near to the broken-hearted; and saves those who are of a contrite spirit.  Ps. 34:18

We know that Jesus lifted and carried our griefs and sorrows on the cross at Golgotha.
     -Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. Is. 53:4

We are told our trials and sufferings will make us stronger, and that when this life’s misery is ended we have a promise of new, eternal life because of the power of Almighty God.
   -But the God of all grace, He calling us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, He will perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.  1Pt. 5:10
   -My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into different kinds of temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.  Jm. 1:2-4
   -…but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.  Jh. 16:33

       Don’t get me wrong; I’m not jumping around for joy and all cheerful because of the sufferings and trials of life, but I am jumping for joy about the God who never leaves me in good or bad times- and who loves me very much (and puts up with me!!! J )  So pain in this life will come and go, increasing and decreasing; but God will remain.  And as long as we let Him in, He will be with us to the end (Mt. 28:20) for He has overcome! Halleluiah!!!

*For what has man from all his labor, and from the troubling of his heart, in which he has labored under the sun? For all his days are sorrows, and his labor sadness… Ec. 2:22,23  MKJV
Human beings born by women are short-lived and full of trouble.  Job 14:1  ISV
(Jesus promises) In the world you shall have tribulation… Jh. 16:33  MKJV