and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Fire Next Door

        It was the sirens that first alerted us to the fact something bad was happening across the road from us that Saturday in November.  Smoke was already rolling out of the chimney as the first fire truck pulled up.  After extending hospitality to the homeowners, who were all safely outside watching, I returned home to watch in warmth (and run outside for the occasional picture).

       Fire vehicles, firemen in their yellow coats, high velocity water spraying at the house, smoke billowing, and other firemen storming into the house to fight the fire from inside- altogether it was far more interesting to observe than anything the tv had on.

       Most of the house was saved due to the quick actions of the homeowners and the fire department, though substantial damage is still visible.  What the exact cause of the fire was, I never did hear, but due to what I observed it seemed to begin in the chimney.  Chimney fires usually start due to creosote build up (from wood burning) which catches fire due to external issues.

       They say that if you maintain your chimney with a proper, regular cleaning, you should not have a problem because the creosote will not remain built up.  Cleaning is usually done by a professional chimney sweep who brings the necessary equipment to fully inspect then clean the chimney.  It surely is much better to be inspected and cleaned up by a professional than to catch fire and possible burn down the house, maybe even lose your life.

       As flawed human beings, we also build up grime of sin in us and it may not be as obvious as a fire.  Still, it is best to go to allow the Master to fully inspect us and clean us up.  David spoke about this in the Bible:

       Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts, and see if any wicked way is in me...  Ps. 139:23,24 (search= penetrate, examine) (try= test as metals, investigate)
       (David, mentally and physically miserable due to sin goes to the God who forgives) I confessed my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, I will confess my transgression to Jehovah; and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah.  Ps. 32:1-5
       If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1Jh. 1:9

       David knew the One who could thoroughly inspect and clean him was the only One who could find ALL his wicked ways- those we know as sin, AND those we don't.  "Wash me completely from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin." (Ps. 51:2) This King over a nation often bowed down before a mighty God asking for mercy and grace with a broken and contrite heart (Ps. 51:17).  He usually dealt with his sin before extensive damage, 'fire' or death to self.  The best thing was David knew His God was able to deliver- and so we can know too!

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Ps. 51:7

Friday, January 25, 2013

My Daughter’s Cry

(This is a repost from my early blog days, but I needed to read it again, and thought some others out there may need to as well.  I pray you will be blessed by it.)

       Her dark curly hair framed her tiny chubby cheeks as she stood in front of my chair staring up at me; so beautiful but far too young to be standing; then again, my precocious daughter always had to be early at everything.  Her big brown eyes flashed up at me, and the angry cry that came from her mouth let me know she was NOT happy.  Since I knew it wasn’t hunger or a wet diaper annoying her, as they had already been dealt with, there was only one thing left…

       She wanted to walk.  (Ugh, not again, I thought with a smile covering up my thinking!)

       Amy had decided to forego crawling in favour of a speedier form of transportation- namely walking.  The problem was that she wasn’t quite ready to do it all on her own.  We parents were required to assist.

       I turned her around, put out my two index fingers (which she hurriedly grasped) and stood hunched over to help.  Off to the races we went to get whatever it was she thought she needed, or just to look around with her curious persona.

       Amy had found a way around her predicament of being unable to walk on her own.  She knew she could count on us for both strength and support, and trust us to keep her safe as she traveled on her journey of discovery.  We were there for her every step along the way.  (Eventually, she did learn to walk unassisted, and our backs were able to finally rest, J  but that was weeks away.)

       I still remember her cry for help; it’s the same one I utilize with my Father.  I don’t want to walk this journey alone.  I am not ready, nor do I ever want to be ready to walk this path without Him.  You see, when I am weak, He is strong; He is my Fortress and High Tower (Ps. 144:2); I can lean on Him and trust Him to keep me safe in this life that can be filled with treacherous terrain. 

       Father, may we never think ourselves old enough to walk it on our own.  Help us to grasp tightly on to Your hands and never let them go.  Help us to walk with You, trusting in You to take care of us.  Remind us to ask for Your help when we need it.  Don’t let us go.  Please don’t ever let us go.

I’m holding on now…       let’s go!

The Lord is good,
a stronghold in the day of trouble;
and He knows those who trust in Him.
Nah. 1:7- NKJ

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Surrender/ Submit/ Choose

       There’s a story about General Forrest and his confederate soldiers in 1864 that won the unconditionally surrender of Colonel Campbell and his union soldiers by giving Campbell a tour of all the confederate troops, which in reality kept moving camp from place to place, artillery and all to make it look like they had far more soldiers than they had.

       This morning I’ve been thinking about the surrender of our will and what it means to completely surrender oneself to the Lord God.  While the actual English word is not found in many versions of the Bible, there are several Hebrew words that could be translated that way.  Of course, you would find to submit (completely) or to choose, so if you prefer, you could think of those instead.  Anyway, here’s what I was thinking.

       Most of my Christian life I have sang the words “I surrender” all and other such words, but until late 2005 I didn’t really know what that meant.  Now when I sing or say those words I understand the full context of what they mean- only I realize I am saying it more by faith than with the proof of action.  What I mean is that no matter how much I think I am surrendered (and it is far more than my early years) there is always more I find that isn’t surrendered.

       So, what parts of me do I struggle to surrender to God’s will?  My body sometimes when I still go on unhealthy binges just because I want to.  My mind when it drifts into fantasy, or leaning into my own understanding. My emotions when anger arises quicker than love. My lifestyle when I choose anything over time with God. My parenting without asking God for help or advice.  Gee, the more I think about it, the more I realize I still need to surrender.  Will it ever be mostly complete- before the end?  Another person wrote this and I like it so much I am reposting it:

I seem to have to fight this battle many times. That leads to the inevitable conclusion – I have yet to really surrender my will. As much as I want the fight to be over, I am a coward when it comes to total abandonment. I keep holding on to just a little reserve – just in case, you know, things get really bad. Just in case they don’t work out the way I want. Just in case I really seem to be heading for a cross.  Skip Moen

       It’s true.  I keep finding these ‘reserves’ of control left in me that I haven’t unconditionally surrendered to God, and I wonder, what am I hanging on to them for?

Oh Father, help me to be like Jesus in the Garden when He said, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Yet not My will, but Yours be done.(Lk 22:42); help me completely and unconditionally surrender every part of me and my life to You.

Trust in Jehovah with all your heart,
and lean not to your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He shall direct your paths.
Pr. 3:5,6

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Took my Breath Away

       Early yesterday I had to go to the hospital to bring someone for an appointment.  I dropped him off at the door and went to park in my usual place, but I hadn’t counted on the temperature being a problem.  As I did a slow jog (to keep from freezing) to return to the hospital I found it far too difficult to breathe and I had to walk instead, and even with that I had to cover my face with my mitts so that the air I was breathing was warmer and easier to take in.  (I was not meant to live in such frigid cold!)
       There has been precious little in this life that has taken my breath away: my husband’s face as I walked up the aisle the day we married, my daughter’s face the first time I held her, my son the first (maybe only) time he told me he really appreciated me, and the first time I was in God’s powerfully strong presence… it was indescribably… pure.  The glory of our God is above the heavens (Ps. 8:1) and His power, mighty acts and glorious majesty will be spoken of  by men.  His kingdom is everlasting and His rule throughout all generations (Ps. 145:11-13).
O Jehovah, Yours is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty. For all in the heavens and in the earth is Yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Jehovah, and You lift up Yourself to all as Head. And the riches and the honor are from You, and You reign over all. And in Your hand is power and might. And it is in Your hand to make great and to give strength to all.  1Chr. 29:11,12
       One day we shall all have our "breath taken away" and that is the day we see the Lord in all His glory.  Whether that is after our death, ..."to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." (2Cor. 5:8) or in the end, "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (1Th. 4:17) we will surely see Him, and the sight of Him in His majestic glory may just take our breath away!
and the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together…  Is. 40:5
Behold, He comes with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, and those who pierced Him will see Him, and all the kindreds of the earth will wail because of Him. Even so, Amen. Rev. 1:7
...And then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of the heaven with power and great glory.  Mt. 24:30

Monday, January 21, 2013

20 mins.

       Okay, so I’m giving myself 20 mins. to write this post because, well, I have some things to do and I like to challenge myself sometimes.  It is 11:40 in the morning, I’ve done all that I needed too before now and I look forward to spending some time with my daughter who has today off from work- so let’s see if anything good can come from this post.

       Truth is good, but certainly not always easy to tell or to hear.  It was hard for me to hear my mom tell my son that employers DO look at appearances when they hire and with his hair the way he likes it and/ or wants it to be, it may severely limit his employment opportunities.  And because I only want to tell him the truth, I explained that even if the employers can see past his ethnicity, his afro and the dreads he wants, they would make him look less professional and employers want professional looking people to work for them.  (Yes there are a few places that hire tattooed, pierced, and wild haired people, but not too many).

       We like to think racism is dead; that looks don’t matter; the school we attended isn’t important; that all our hard work will pay off in others wanting to hire us.  The truth is racism will never be dead until God’s eternal kingdom is established, employers want their workers to look a certain way and better looking people usually get hired first, certain schools have reputations that employers don’t want workers from, and because we are judged by other factors all our hard work may mean nothing when it comes to future employment.


       None of that is nice to hear, yet if we are honest it is the way things tend to run.  Can we change the world?  Not completely.  Can we try to make a difference?  Yes, one person, one step at a time.  That’s how Jesus did it, one person at a time. 
               He reached out and touched one person (Mr. 10:13),
               called one person (Mt. 9:9),
               healed one person (Lk. 5:12,13),
               forgave one person (Mt. 9:2),
               extended His love one person at a time (Mr. 1:41). 
You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its savor, with what shall it be salted? It is no longer good for anything, but to be thrown out and to be trodden underfoot by men.
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under the grain-measure, but on a lampstand. And it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.  Mt. 5:13-16

       Salt changes the flavour of the food surrounding it.  Light dispels the darkness that surrounds it.  Both of these things influence the ‘world’ around them as do we when we let the Spirit of Almighty God dwell in us (1Cor. 3:16) and work through us (Php. 2:13).  And though I’ve totally blown the 20 mins. thing, I guess the thought I’d like to finish with is that no matter what we think of ourselves, God can still work through us to change the world... if we let Him.

All glory, honour, and praise to Jehovah God!

Sunday, January 20, 2013


   I, Vicky, have every right to be miserable.  Family not serving the Lord, health problems, very old vehicles, house needs repairs, two teenagers with differing values/ beliefs, pain every day, and on and on…
   No wait.  Sue has every right to be miserable.  She is separated from her hubby who lives with another woman, has no up-to-date skills to get a job, gets little financial support, has three kids to take care of, and on and on…
   No wait.  Adam has every right to be miserable.  He was abused by an uncle as a child, beaten by his dad almost daily, a decade of drugs left him scarred with hep C, he never could find a way to overcome and it destroyed his marriage and his kids never want to see him again, and on and on…
   No wait.  Eight year old Jeluah has a right to be miserable.  He lives in Ethiopia, has one meal a day consisting of bugs, is watching his mother die of aids, and spends his days carrying filthy water to the house and looking for food.  Doctors say he will die due to poor nutrition, and on and on…

       All these are made up stories (except mine) and certainly there is enough misery in the world to go around.  Most of us face some of it daily in one way or another, and yet, there can be life, hope, and peace in the storms of life.
I have come so that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.  Jh. 10:10
Jehovah is my portion, says my soul; therefore I will hope in Him. Lam. 3:24 
I will lie down, both in peace and in sleep. For You alone, Jehovah, make me dwell in safety.  Ps. 4:8

       Sometimes when we are miserable or want to let ourselves mentally dwell in misery, it is good to read or think about someone whose life is more difficult than ours.  One man I just learned about is Nick Vujicic, a good looking Australian born in ‘82, who seems to love God*    oh    and he was born without arms or legs (though he has one foot with two toes).  Years of pain and grief filled his childhood, and certainly there are still many physical challenges, but Nick thinks God and attitude are big factors in life.

       Now Nick runs a non-profit organization, has two university degrees, is married to a beautiful woman- with first child on the way, and travels world wide to share God’s love and encourage others to rise above the ‘cards dealt them’ in life.  He writes, uses a computer, swims, skateboards, plays soccer, takes pictures, surfs, golfs, hikes (on foot), climbs stairs, and faces all the obstacles of life with God’s help.  He says, “We all make mistakes, but none of us are mistakes.”  I don’t know if that’s original or not, but I do like the truth in it.  When God made us it wasn’t so we’d be miserable our entire lives.  It was to live an abundant life in Him no matter what we’ve been ‘dealt’. 

With God (Mt. 19:26), all things are possible (Mr. 9:23) if we believe.

*So far as I’ve read and heard so far.