and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

The Tapestry of Life

       In 2005 we bought this house which was built in 1936.  It is an interesting place with a lot of smaller size rooms and unexpected features.  There was a red area rug in the dining room with an interesting design that made me think more of tapestries than carpet.  Both tapestries and traditional cloth are woven.  Woven items use thread in various colours, lengths and strengths for the process.  Basically, there is a group of threads called the warp which are usually stronger and provide the base of the material; they are held in place by a loom or other holding device.  The weft thread is then passed over and under the
                                                              warp threads in the desired pattern.

       When I consider my life I think about all the relationships I’ve had over the years, family, friends, co-workers, brothers and sisters in Christ, I see how all our lives were woven into each other’s lives.  Some were only there for a short time, others have been around since my birth and there is a wide variety of relationships in between.  Yesterday I was reminded we were made to be in relationship by our Creator.  He formed man (Gen. 2:7), put him in the garden (v.8) and knew they would be together (Gen. 3:8).  Yet despite His own presence, God wanted man to have a helper in life, and so He created woman.

 And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.  Gen. 2:18 
helper= aid
suitable for him= counterpoint, mate

       To reiterate, God said it wasn’t good for man to be alone even while He knew they would be spending time together; God didn’t want man to be isolated without other humans for companionship.  So God brought the animals and fowls to Adam but “there was not found a suitable helper...” (v.19,20)   God wanted man to be in relationship with other man-kind, and so He made woman (v.22) as an aid to Adam and so they could populate the earth (Gen. 1:28) and have even more relationships.

Blessed be Godthe God of all comfort, He comforting us in all our trouble, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in every trouble, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  2Cor. 1:3,4
Brothers, if a man is overtaken in a fault, you the spiritual ones restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering yourself, lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so you will fulfill the Law of Christ.  Gal. 6;1,2

       We are meant to help each other out through the tough times (Jh. 16:33- pressures, afflictions, anguish, burdens, persecution, troubles) here on the earth.  Comfort. Bear burdens. Restore.  We are meant to help by speaking the truth in love to each other (Eph. 4:15) so that we might mature as the body in unity (v.13) and fit together (v.16).  Iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the face of his friend.(Pr. 27:17), “Faithful are the wounds of a friend…” (v.6).  Our true friends are honest and tell us when we need to work on our issues and then stick with us while we work on them!

       It is through our relationships with other humans that we grow in Christ into a beautifully woven tapestry at the Lord’s skillful and loving hands.  And when that tapestry has the strongest threads of Jesus Christ as it’s warp- base, it becomes a timeless masterpiece of beauty incomparable to any other that will last for an eternity.  I am forever grateful for every thread every precious person who has entered to touch and change my life... one moment and one word at a time.

Lord, all glory and honour belong to You.
Thank You for bringing every person into my life and using them to change me.
Thank You that we are not alone.
We have You.  We also have our brothers and sisters in You.
What a magnificent life You have given us!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Where Anger Resides

       Wednesday night I was walking quietly upstairs in the dark so as not to wake up my kids when I slammed into an open desk drawer that reached knee height.  The pain was intense and instantly anger arose in my heart at the thoughtlessness of my child.  In my anger I slammed the drawer back into the desk knowing/ hoping it would wake the guilty party up and they would feel bad.  Instead of dealing with the anger in timely fashion, I allowed it to remain in my heart not considering the consequences.

       That night it took a long while to get to sleep, with the pain hindering movement and position and anger continuing to fester.  All the negative things that had been happening recently returned to memory and increased my misery.  Still awake I seriously considered giving in to the temptation that had been haunting me lately that by leaning on the Lord’s strength I had so far avoided.  Could it be any worse I wondered? -with anger rolling out toward my Lord.

Do not be hasty in your spirit to be angry; for anger rests in the bosom of fools.  Ec. 7:9
Do not let the sun go down upon your wrath,  Eph. 4:26

       When I awoke Thursday morning, tired from a restless sleep, the pain was still there so I couldn’t run which didn’t improve my mood any.  Ignoring the Lord I went about my day helping my mom out but not accomplishing the tasks I needed to do at home.  Resentment continued to build and mix about inside of me with the anger that remained.  Altogether it was later in the evening when the pain finally disappeared and I realized how miserable my inaction to deal with the anger had allowed me to become. 
(I’m a little slow sometimes J )

But now also put off all these things: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, shameful speech out of your mouth.  Col. 3:8
For the wrath of man does not work out the righteousness of God.  Jm. 1:20 
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret yourself to do evil.  Ps. 37:8

       Did you ever notice how the Word of God tends not to change us if we don’t apply it to our lives?  I neglected to deal with the anger quickly after it happened and it caused me to feel wretched longer than I should have been.  Instead of going to the Lord, confessing my sin, putting off/ forsaking the anger, forgiving my child, overall getting in God’s presence to deal with the problem and maybe even pray for healing, I allowed the enemy to use me against myself.  That anger could have led to further sin which would have caused shame and depression.

       In Proverbs it speaks about angry ways becoming a snare to your soul (Pr. 22:24,25) and increasing sin (Pr. 29:22).  If we hang on to anger instead of dealing with it quickly it will begin to reside in our hearts which may lead to further sin and increased distance between the Lord and us.  That is no way to live, certainly no way to live victoriously (1Cor. 15:57) or abundantly (Jh. 10:10) as the Lord desires us to live.  In the end it is a choice each of us makes on our own.

Will anger reside in MY heart?

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Making God in Our Own Image

Ahhh...  looks so sweet and loving!

       Just take a look at historical gods and see how man makes them up in our own image.  When we can’t understand something, we attribute it to a new god.  Eg. god over the water- when seas rage he is angry and when they are quiet, he is happy with us; god of war- when we win, he is happy with us, when we lose it is because he is unhappy with us.  Or there are gods like the Greek ones who are always fighting amidst themselves or acting in selfish, temperamental, arrogant ways.  We tend to believe that if there is a god than he has to behave in our preconceived ways.  In doing that, we make him so much smaller than what He truly is.

Professing to be wise, they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man, and birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things.  Rom. 1:22,23
..they worshiped and served the created thing more than the Creator… v.25

       I had a conversation once after watching Clash of the Titans with a teen who said the Greek gods seemed like ones he would want to believe in more than Jehovah God.  His reason was they are more like us.  I shook my head in wonderment thinking- why would I want to love, live for, serve a fallible, selfish, unpredictable, untrustworthy, god who had little integrity, shallow love, and completely self-serving actions.  I enjoyed watching the sequel, Wrath of the Titans as many of the gods turned to ash and went into oblivion.  Wow, that’s a powerful god I want to follow...  Not!!!  If a god is mortal, than he is only dust in the earth and certainly not worthy of adoration, praise and honor.

(about idols) …They can't speak! They must always be carried because they can't walk! Don't be afraid of them because they can do no harm, nor can they do any good." Jer. 10:5 
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; they have eyes, but they do not see; they have ears, but they do not hear; they have noses, but they do not smell; they have hands, but they do not handle; they have feet, but they do not walk; they do not mutter through their throat. The ones who make them are like them, and everyone who trusts in them.   Ps. 115:4-8

       It seems to me there must be an ulterior motive to wanting our god to be in our image.  Perhaps we want to feel better about living a sinful life.  Maybe we just want to maintain control and have everything our way.  Perhaps we just want to be able to hold him in our hands to manipulate him, do what we want with him, and relegate him to whatever part of our lives we are willing to share with him.

                                          But if we can do that,
                                                               would he really be a god?

       Our God, Jehovah of the Bible, is the one (Dt. 6:4) and only (Is. 44:6) true (Jh. 17:3) God: He who was in the beginning and will be in the end (Rev. 1:8).  The only living (Ps. 42:2) breathing (Gen. 2:7) God of highest integrity (Nm. 23:19), holiness (Lv. 20:26) and full of selfless love (Rom. 5:8) for us, His creation*.  He is the most powerful (Ps. 62:11) living being and only He has brought the dead back to life (Eph. 1:20; Rom. 4:17).

He alone is God! (Ps. 86:10) 

*All things came into being through Him, and without Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being.  Jh. 1:3
For all things were created in Him, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.  Col. 1:16,17

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Sunday Husband and Father

       Tom woke up every Sunday morning, brought his wife a glass of orange juice and a bowl of cereal in bed, spent a few minutes thanking her for all she’d done, told her how pretty she looked and that he loved her before he left out to throw a ball with his son a few minutes and played house with his daughter.  That was his routine, and he thought it was working out just fine- right up until the divorce.

       His wife left him because that was the only time she (and the kids) ever got real face time with him.  Tom’s wife didn’t feel very loved by him, especially when he ignored her all week except for the occasional request for her to do something for him.  What do you think of Tom?  Did he really love his family?  Can you truly love someone and ignore them?

       I wonder if God the Father ever as wonders the same thing about us?  This story about Tom and his wife is made up by me, but the truth is that many Christians only spend time with God on Sunday.  They thank Him, praise Him, say a few prayers, sometimes give Him a little cash and walk out to ignore Him the rest of the week except for the occasional prayer request.

       I believe God desires face time with us as well.  He is not satisfied to only see us on Sunday, but wants to be with us every day.  From the beginning it was so.  Adam and Eve, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua: these are just some of the people who saw God face to face, and many others spoke with Him often.  Sure He sees us and knows what’s going on in our lives, but He still wants to communicate one on one with us.  Sometimes I think it’s because we can’t see God that we find it so easy to ignore Him, but that won’t make it more acceptable to Him.  It’s a good thing He doesn’t divorce us!!!

       Mary and Martha had a friendship with Jesus, yet when He came over, Mary sat at His feet and Martha served Him.  And a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving…” (Lk. 10:38,39) Which did He prefer?  When Martha complained Jesus said, “But one thing is needful, and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.(Lk. 10:42)  One thing is needful- sitting at Jesus’ feet.

And that means not ignoring Him.

I love those who love me; and those who seek me early shall find me.  Pr. 8:17
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him and he with Me.  Rev. 3:20
Seek Jehovah and His strength; seek His face evermore.  Ps. 105:4

Monday, February 04, 2013

With Us Through It All

       Though I tend to like modern worship songs, I still have some old favorite hymns: Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, and one I’ll always remember singing the night I was born again, “Be Not Afraid”.  That song is based on scripture found in Isaiah 43:1,2:

But now so says Jehovah who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel; Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; nor shall the flame kindle on you.

       Over the years it has brought me much comfort thinking about a God who would be with me ‘through thick and thin’.  For many years I did not understand why He would love me enough to stick around, especially with my penchant for ignoring Him when I didn’t get my own way.  Yet, true to His Word, He has never left or forsaken me (Dt. 31:6; Heb. 13:5) even during those times I was sure He had!

       Just in case you have any idea this scripture is only for Israel, remember that born again believers are Abraham’s seed (explained more here).  In this scripture, God reminds us that He formed us (as a potter), that He redeemed us as no one else could (explained more here), He calls us out by our name (a personal thing) and says we are His.  His!  Not just the kid of any ‘Joe Blow’, but a bona fida kid of the King of Kings, Creator, Father God (Gal. 3:26).

       Our most powerful Father (Ps. 62:11; Jer. 10:12) is the One who says He will be with us even if we are walking through the raging rivers that threaten to overwhelm us.  Many of life’s problems are overwhelming, but the Lord promises to be with us through each one.  His care and protection will be with us as we walk through the burning flames of trials in our lives.  He will not leave us alone, or run away. (Remember He walked in the fiery furnace with His faithful followers Dan. 3:25) He will protect our lives, if not our physical bodies, than our spirits which will live forever with Him.


       Honestly, I can admit to not feeling Him around during most of my trials pre-2006, feeling completely overwhelmed and like He had abandoned me.  Obviously He wasn’t answering my prayers because He didn’t want to (I believed).

       In reality, He was just waiting for me to acknowledge He was with me, to lean completely on Him and trust that He would get me through all the pain.  Looking back I surely see how He never left me: He was with me through it all. 

If we are His children, He promises to never leave or forsake us.
                 He will be with us through every thing we go through,
                                    big and small.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Happy Birthday Albert!!!

       My hubby is such a good man; I hope we have a long life together.  I feel especially blessed having him in my life- it takes a special man to put up with my… anyway, he is just the right man for me and I am so grateful to God that he was born.  Birthdays are great days because they are the day a precious person, whom God wanted to be alive on the earth, was born to be here with us.  Isn’t it just great that each person is here by God’s desire?

       Birthdays also make me consider the worth/ value of each individual.  I got into a short argument with a friend who believed she had no value (a wife, mother, daughter, aunt, business owner etc).  We must not look at ourselves through our own “self-worth” but rather through the eyes of God.  After all, He is the One who created us, and let me just say, He is not stupid that He should err in the creation of anyone ever born, including you.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made  Ps. 139:14  Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book all my days were recorded… v.16 BBE
Before I formed you in the belly I knew you Jer. 1:5 
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works Eph. 2:10 
And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likenessAnd God created man in His image; in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female  And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.  Gen. 1:26,27,31 

       What we think of ourselves is often reflected in how we act.  If we think too highly of ourselves, we usually think very little of others and treat them poorly (certainly not lovingly). 
For if anyone thinks himself to be something, being nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one prove his own work, and then he alone will have a boast in himself, and not in another. Gal. 6:3,4 
not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think. But set your mind to be right-minded  Rom. 12:3
If we think less of ourselves than the Lord does, then the journey He put us here for will be greatly hindered.  We will never feel worthy to be His child and capable to do His will.  Thinking less than God does of ourselves is not humility but arrogance thinking God is too what? to create someone worthwhile.

Pride says- I can and I will by myself.  (King Nebuchadnezzar messed up his own life by claiming he did it all on his own  Dan 4:29+)
Humility says- I can and I will by God’s strength.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Php. 4:13 
Arrogance says- I just can’t; I’m too _________.  I am worthless.  What I can do holds no value.

       If God saw fit to create you (Gen. 1), to watch you being formed in the belly of your mother (Ps. 139:15,16), if He thinks of you more than you can count (v.17,18), He numbers each hair on our head (Lk. 12:7) and thinks we have more value than the animals (same), and if He numbers our wandering and puts our tears in a bottle and book (Ps. 56:8), He must think we’re special to Him.  Are you gonna tell Him different?  He chose where, when, to whom we would be born (Rom. 9:14-23) and with which personality.

       Remember, God sees us as we really are (For He knows our form; He remembers that we are dust.  Ps. 103:14;  for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,  Rom. 3:23), and yet, still loves us dearly.  Dearly enough to send His Son to a world that hated Him, tortured and killed Him- while we were yet sinners.  If God thinks we are worth the life of His Son, worth His innocent, precious blood being spilled for our sins, then who are we to say different? 

Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight, but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Heb. 4:13
You are bought with a price  1Cor. 7:23 
For one will with difficulty die for a righteous one, yet perhaps one would even dare to die for a good one. But God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.  Rom. 5:7,8 
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us  Tit. 3:4,5 
For Christ also suffered on our behalf  Himself bore our sins in His own body  1Pt. 2:21,24 

       Since God said Israel was “…precious in My sight, you have been honored, and I have loved you…” (Is. 43:4) and He is no respecter of persons (Ac. 10:34), He must feel the same of all His children.  In closing just remember:

You are created by God.    Gen. 1:26,27
Your soul is of great value to Him.    Mt. 16:26; 2Pt. 3:9
You were worth His Son Jesus’ life.    Rom. 5:6+
And Jesus prepares a place for you.    Jh. 14:2

He wouldn’t do that if you weren’t precious and valuable to Him!