and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


       Sarah looked up at her mom with mournful eyes and said,  "No!  Yucky!"  And she turned her eyes away from the green tree-like things on her plate called broccoli.  Joey ran outside yelling, "No, I don't wanna coat" after his dad held the coat out for him to put on.  Jamie said no to doing an extra project so he could go to the football game that night and Lisa said no to helping her brother move because she had dinner plans with her friend.  We start young learning to say the word NO, and we keep doing it throughout our years.
       But our no-s are only utilized when it is convenient or pleases us for we are selfish by human nature.  You can be a Christian today quite easily as long as you conform to what the world says you should do, but just try to say NO to the world and refuse to conform and you will find yourself ridiculed, condemned, and/or rejected.
       Personal experience proved this to me and it wasn't for a stand on Jesus Christ, but because I didn't believe my kids should have more than 3 hours of tv/ video input a week while they were growing up.  You would not believe the heat I took for that stand!  See, the world doesn't care what we believe as long as we continue to act like them.
       Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego took an unfavourable stand hundreds of years ago, one that could have cost them their lives.  I'm sure everybody there highly encouraged them to bow down and worship the king's idol, but instead they said, "...we will not serve your gods nor worship the golden image which you have set up." (Dan 3:18)  In other words, they said NO!  No to the world's beliefs, no to the world's practices, no to the world's dictates because they knew the God they served was the only true God.
       The world hasn't changed much.  They still want us to worship their idols.  We can believe what we want, call ourselves what we want, as long as we worship the same idols as they do.  What am I talking about since we don't have statues we worship or pray to today?  Well, that is only part of idolatry.  Idolatry also consists of giving undue honour and regard to created forms other than God, excessive attachment or veneration* for any thing bordering on adoration**.
       This can include technology, institutions and pursuits.  Some gods we have are money, control, power, drugs, appearances, alcohol, television/ computers, facebook, capitalism at expense of the poor, exploiting the weak, game systems, sex, music, sports, ipods, big houses, new cars, tablets, parties, reputation, 'success', education, cell phones...  anything that undue honour or regard, excessive attachment, veneration or adoration are given to (maybe even kids).  It's the world that wants us so caught up in things... 
                                     But we can say NO!

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind... Rom. 12:2 (all MKJV)
Nor should we be idolaters, even as some of them, as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play." 1Cor. 10:7
You shall have no other gods before Me. Ex. 20:3
No servant can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.  Lk. 16:13 (or any other idol)
Do not lay up treasures on earth for yourselves... For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Mt. 6:19,21

*The highest degree of respect and reverence; respect mingled with some degree of awe; a feeling or sentiment excited by the dignity and superiority of a person... Webster's 1828
** to adore-To love in the highest degree; to regard with the utmost esteem,

Friday, January 18, 2013

Hot Cocoa and Ponderings...

       Just sitting here drinking a hot chocolate, pondering if there are Timmies in Heaven, and if the Lord will meet me there for a drink sometime.  Of course, there won't be coffee there because that's the drink of the devil LOL.  Truth is, I just can't stand the taste OR smell, so I bug all the coffee lovers about it whenever possible!  But having a drink with the Lord face to face- now that's a great thought!
Some specifics about Heaven may not be certain but there are things we can know. 
...Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away all tears from their eyes. And there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor crying out, nor will there be any more pain; for the first things passed away.
And He sitting on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said to me, Write, for these words are true and faithful.  And He said to me, It is done. I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who thirsts I will give of the fountain of the Water of Life freely.
  Rev. 21:3-6 MKJV
       So, God dwelling with us forever... sounds great, but does that mean we will all see Him all the time?  And since there is no death, mourning crying out or pain, does that mean I am never sad, and so I can't remember life (and loves) from before or I am just changed somehow that it doesn't bother me?  Well, it does say all things are made new.  Woohoo!!!  New earth, new bodies, new lifestyle, new brain, new attitudes (really hoping!!!) new heart- thereby emotions, and so on and so on.
       For years I've been thinking about a heavenly secluded log cabin in the woods by a lake with a river running through it, a cotton candy machine and electric ice cream maker in the kitchen, and of course, me in my new completely healthy body.  Except for the last part, I'm not sure if the rest will come true, but I guess these days I don't care so much.  Besides, I'm sure whatever the Lord has planned will be the best thing possible for all of us and we WILL like it.
       I just wanna be with Him.  See, and that's the sticky part for me- I have to share Him.  Not that I don't want to, but how is He going to give us all the time we want, because I want LOTS of face time with Him.  I read the kids Left Behind series one time (40 books) and I loved the scene where Jesus returns to the earth, and those believers who are still alive all see and speak to Him personally as if they are the only one yet it is happening to them all.  Since our God is all powerful, this can certainly happen.  I hope Heaven is something like that- where He is able to walk and talk with each of us wherever we are all day every day- I can't imagine wanting it any other way.

                          But as for me, my contentment is not in wealth
                          but in seeing you and knowing all is well between us.
                          And when I awake in heaven, I will be fully satisfied,
                          for I will see you face to face.  Ps. 17;15 TLB

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Redeemer

Boaz making legal transaction with sandal.
        Bankruptcy is something most people hope they never face. One day your debts are bigger than you can pay back so what do you do? Moses wrote laws about this because it was a problem even back then. The land was an inheritance from the Lord, and was to remain forever in that person's family. If a man got into overwhelming debt, he could sell his land, pay off his debts and use the rest of the money to support his family or he could 'sell' himself as an indentured servant (Lev. 25:23+). Laws were also written to redeem the land or person from this situation. It takes a special person known as a kinsman redeemer.

       Ga'al is the term seen in Hebrew and is quickly defined as to redeem according to law of kinship, purchase, ransom, redeem, revenge. The term designates a male relative who delivers or rescues (Gen. 48:16; Ex. 6:6); redeems property (Lev. 27:9-25) or person (Lev. 25:47-55); avenges the murder of a relative as a guiltless executioner (Num. 35:9-34); and receives restitution for wrong done to a relative who has since died (Num. 5:8). This emphasis of redemption/ salvation/ vindication associated with the kinsman-redeemer is the fact that this action is carried out by a kinsman on behalf of a near relative in need. The Book of Ruth clearly illustrates this concept.

Four attributes/conditions marked a kinsman redeemer:
        he had to be a kinsman
        he had to be free
        he had to be able
        he had to be willing

Lets look at the fulfilment of Jesus as our Redeemer.

Jesus is our near kinsman.

Jesus, who sanctifies, is not ashamed to call us brothers. Heb. 2:11 (all MKJV)
For whoever shall do the will of My Father in Heaven, the same is My brother and sister and mother. Mt. 12:50
(Jesus was the) ...First-born among many brothers. Rom. 8:29
Jesus called the Father Abba (Mr. 14:36) as can we, his adopted children can (Gal. 4:6).

Jesus was free.

No man born fully human is free from sin for all are born under Adam:
Therefore, even as through one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed on all men inasmuch as all sinned: Rom. 5:8
Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever practices sin is the slave of sin. Jh. 8:34    for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, Rom. 3:23
Jesus was free from sin:
For He has made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2Cor 5:21
(Jesus was) all points tempted just as we are, yet without sin. Heb. 4:15
And you know that He was revealed that He might take away our sins, and in Him is no sin. 1Jh. 3:5 (also 1Pt. 2:22)

Jesus was able.

No man could ever redeem us for they are not able. Only Jesus, because of His unique status as 'God come in flesh' could become our Mediator (1Tm. 2:5; Heb. 12:24).
"Behold, the virgin shall conceive in her womb (by the Holy Spirit Lk. 1:35), and will bear a son. And they will call His name Emmanuel," which being interpreted is, God with us. Mt. 1:23
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Col. 2:9
I and the Father are one! Jh. 10:30
Gal. 4:6; Jh. 3:16 proclaim God sent Jesus- as the sacrifice for our sins.
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us... Gal. 3:13

Jesus was willing.

I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. Jh. 10:11
Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I might take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down from Myself. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it again. I have received this commandment from My Father. Jh. 10:17,18
By this we have known the love of God, because He laid down His life for us... 1Jh. 3:16
No one has greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Jh. 15:13
Was willing to obey the Father's will (Heb. 5:7-9; Lk. 22:42)

Jesus willingly laid down His life to redeem us!

       And so we see that Jesus is the only one who can truly be our Redeemer, for only He fulfills the requirements of the law. Only He could pay the kofer (the price of redemption) as only He was a blemish free/spotless Lamb (1Pt. 1:19). "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins..." (Eph 1:7) for He "...gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify to Himself a special people... (Tt. 2:14). Jesus did 'not come to be served' but " give His life a ransom for many."
(Mt. 20:28).
So says Jehovah, your Redeemer,
and He who formed you from the womb,
I am Jehovah who makes all things;
who stretches out the heavens alone;
who spreads out the earth;
who was with Me?
Is. 44:24

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How did Job know?

        There are many things I am uncertain about in the Bible and one of those is when a man named Job actually lived. There is no proof, though many suspect it was before Abraham or Moses, but regardless of when he lived, we know there weren't many copies of the law (Moses books) floating around by then- if at all. So how did Job know the things he knew about God. It must have been orally relayed to him and learned by relationship over the years. And though he suffered terribly through a horrible trial, yet he continued to honour God, for he knew who He was. Read what he said:

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall rise on the earth at the last; and even after they corrupt my skin, yet this: in my flesh I shall see God, Job. 19:25,26 all MKJV
        It has been a bit of an odd day for me today- pondering life, man and sin entering into the world, and how none of that would have changed if I were there instead of Eve because I still have a predisposition to sin. But this morning I've been considering how grateful I am because we have a Redeemer who has not only redeemed us from our sins, but will redeem this world from the one we sold it to when we became slaves to sin (Rom. 6:20). Now the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2) holds the deed to this world, but Jesus Christ is coming back one day to redeem it. How DID Job know?

        I think I'm going to wait until tomorrow to post about the Redeemer, but I'd like to write more about Job today. At the point he writes the verses above, his friends are already blasting him about the things he is saying and feeling. Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar all had turns at him- six chapters worth. Talk about hitting a man while he's down. And Job doesn't tell them to get lost, leave him alone or worse, he just lets them speak and then tries to further explain his thinking.

        Then here in chapter 19, Job speaks about his Redeemer (Heb. ga'al)- his near kin who will ransom him, who will return in the end, and though Job's flesh is rotted in the earth, yet he will see God. Whoa! How did he know that? See, the truth has been around as long as God, since Jesus said, "...I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but by Me." (Jh. 14:6) so if you know the God of truth (Is. 65:16), you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free (Jh. 8:23).
        Job knew the truth about God AND the God of truth, and knew that his body was only mortal and would die, but that one day he would see God face to face. That's why Job could hold on. That's why Job didn't shut himself off from God in his deepest despair- because he believed in ultimate redemption. That is what I lacked in most of the trials I went through, and which I hope I have finally learned. Our Redeemer lives, and though He has redeemed us from our sins (Ps. 103:12; Col. 1:14) in the last day shall give ultimate redemption of life eternal for us, so no matter what happens while in this mortal flesh, our victory is guaranteed (1Cor. 15:57) through Jesus Christ our Redeemer!!!

I have written these things to you who believe on the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have everlasting life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.
1Jh. 5:13
...He entered once for all into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Heb. 9:12

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Some 'Mistakes' are Good

        A young man, we'll call him Joe, sat at his computer to write a cheerful email to a nearby pastor who was looking to hire a new youth pastor. A friend had sent him the email link and Joe carefully composed his friendly note with familiarity of association already well established. He 'signed' his name and hit send. While composing the email Joe was on the phone with another friend experimenting with his new cell, and who knew what Joe was doing. After he hit send, Joe mentioned the name of the pastor he had just emailed and his friend laughed and said, wrong pastor buddy, the one you emailed is in Ontario and NOT in Alberta. 
        How embarrassing. Joe then had to send other emails to fix his error. Then after applying for the wrong job, after hours of phone calls, prayer, and seeking God, Joe realized it was God's will to come to our side of the country instead of staying where he was. That one mistaken email caused the Lord's plan to be fulfilled, even when all Joe's desires remained in the west. Would he have applied for a job in Ontario if not by mistake? According to Joe- NO.
        Our congregation has benefitted from this error as well: we have a youth pastor who passionately loves the Lord Jesus and tries to seek Him first. Could it have happened in a less embarrassing way? Probably, but the Lord allowed it to happen this way, and it served His purpose as well as any other method. Did the Lord want Joe to be embarrassed? Who am I to answer that; I can only say I've learned a lot of lessons that way in my own life. And I am not God to know by which method a thing should be done.
     And we know that for those who love God, that is, for those who are called according to his purpose, all things are
     working together for good. Rom. 8:28 ISV
        This Scripture indicates that for those of us who love Him, God can use any or all things for good. I think it's just now I understand this passage well, and though I won't get into all I believe about it today, in context of mistakes we make and possible embarrassment, God can use those things to work good in our lives and other's lives as well. Perhaps even if it is only by us extending our love to our embarrassed brother.
        Sometimes we think a mistake means we're out of God's will or we've really messed things up, but we may not know that the Lord had a hand in directing our path. One mistake in buttoning her shirt made by a speaker led to me being freed from bondage (if you want to understand that one, you'll have to read 'the little button that mocked me' Nov. 11). As for me, I make lots of mistakes- most I gratefully don't remember, but I hope the Lord uses each and every one powerfully in someone else's life just to make the embarrassment worthwhile!
        And while I will not be free from making mistakes in this life in this flesh, there is one thing I need never be embarrassed about- the God I love. He who made me, who loves me and has infinite patience with me will one day rule this world with righteousness (Ps. 72:1) and "...He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth."
(Ps. 96:13 MKJV)

The Lord our God is victorious and His will- will be accomplished!

...and he who believes on Him shall never be ashamed.

Pt. 2:6

Sunday, January 13, 2013

It’s Family Picture Day

       Every year my family takes a picture and though it’s supposed to be near Christmas Day, it sometimes ends up in Jan. like this year.  For one reason or another we had to postpone the picture.  Honestly, we are not the best picture takers anyway.  We aren’t ‘that family’ that looks so good and natural in their photos- usually we look uncomfortable, but we do it anyway to have a memory of how we all looked that year. 

       Family.  It’s an interesting concept, but how do we define it.  One definition simply states, “A group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.”  The problem with that is if both parents are deceased do the other kids still living together (if able) cease to be a family?  Or if there are no children, are they not a family?  Webster’s 1828 version gives these as the first two definitions:
       The collective body of persons who live in one house
                                           and under one head…
       Those who descend from one common progenitor;

       Well, that’s not much better because our kids are adopted so not from our descent, and if fifty people live in one house run by an older gent, does that make them a family?  You can’t even say family is a group of people who have a lot in common or get along well as it is a rare family that can fit that description.  Oh wait, family is a group of people who love each other!  Ha- certainly not the way some act!  I don’t think knowing the definition of family is even an issue, all that matters is that we have family somewhere, sometime, even if it is unofficially adopted.

       Well, all of us who were adopted into God’s family have a whole lot of brothers and sisters now that we call Him Abba Father (Gal. 4:6).  We might not always agree, get along, or even have anything in common besides Jesus, but we are still family- and we are told to love one another (Jh. 15:12; 1Jh. 4:7).  We have a common brother- Jesus- with whom we are joint heirs.  And Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers who are saved by Him (Heb. 2:10,11), “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.(Gal. 3:26).  That means we shouldn’t be ashamed of one another either. 

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. And if we are children, then we are heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ;  Rom. 8:16,17 all MKJV
And He answered and said to them, My mother and My brothers are those who hear the Word of God and do it. Lk. 8:21  (…whoever shall do the will of My Father in Heaven… Mt. 12:50)

       One day we shall all be in God’s final kingdom as one big, happy family.

(I think we should practice right now! J )  And oh, what glorious variety we will be!!!  We might struggle to fit everyone in one photo AND make sure everyone looks good though, but I bet it will be great fun trying!  I look forward to meeting all my new family and having centuries to get to know them. 

Hope to see you there!