and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Binding Wounds

       Years ago I sat down to work, my eyes strained as I threaded a needle, put it down to pinch two seams together, and started to sew them.  It was painstaking work, and the stitches had to be small so they wouldn’t show and close enough the seam would remain tight.  Poor teddy had been worn out by the love and attention of my child but I was hoping the repair job would comfort her distraught heart.

       Binding up wounds of child and favorite stuffed friends is one of the many jobs of a mother.  Over the years I have bound up many such wounds but someone else had that job first.  His name is Jehovah, “He heals the broken-hearted, and binds up their wounds.(Ps. 147:3)  It isn’t just our bodies that He heals but our broken hearts and woundedness (Is. 61:1).  By His mercy and compassion, He brings comfort.  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort,(2Cor. 1:3), “But you, Lord, are a compassionate God…” (Ps. 86:15)

       It is also the job of each of us to take care of those who are wounded.  Jesus, in reply of the question ‘who is my neighbor?’ told the story of the Good Samaritan. (Samaritan’s were despised by the many Jews for being of impure heritage and mixed religious beliefs)  The Samaritan helped the wounded Jewish man, even though a priest and Levite passed him by.

And coming near, he bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine, and set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. Lk. 10:34

       Notice the Samaritan didn’t just bind the wounds and take off.  He took special care to prevent infection and soothe.  He helped the wounded man to a place where he could be cared for, stayed for the night to see he was all right, and then paid for his care with his own money, all because he was “moved with compassion.(v.33)

       It sounds to me like this Samaritan was acting a bit like Jehovah.  Hmmm.  Being like the Lord?  Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?  So be imitators of God, as his dear children.(Eph. 5:1)  Does that mean we should act like Him in status?  No!  What it means is that we should act towards one another (human to human) as He acts towards us: with love, compassion, mercy, grace, favour, selflessness, forgiveness, kindness, giving comfort, binding wounds, and all His other loving actions.

       Certainly, we will fail time and again because we are just human, but as Christians we should desire to be more like the Lord thus fulfilling the second commandment “…You shall love your neighbor as yourself.(Mt. 22:39)  Surely, God’s loving actions to us helped stir in us a desire to belong to Him.  By binding up the wounds, being compassionate (and other ways like God) towards others, they will see the love of the Lord through us and may be drawn to belong to Him as well.  


     Our actions may help someone be saved from eternal damnation to forever live with the

Yes Lord, please help us to be like You,
   and open our eyes to see the wounds that need to be bound!

Thursday, July 04, 2013

How Exciting is It?

       Walking in to the living room I announced to my parents, "Albert and I are getting married!"  Without even looking up from their newspapers my Mom said, "Isn't he a little old?" and my dad said, "What does that matter, two of them married men their ages and are already broken up."  "That's true" my Mom said and they continued reading.  Long ago I was told this was a similar reaction to all the good news given to them, but it's hard to believe they wouldn't generate some enthusiasm.
       I remember many years ago, the Queen drove through Windsor, ON and people poured into the streets to get a glimpse of her as she drove by.  Signs were made, flags were waved, cameras were deployed.  Children waited eagerly to see the only sovereign they've ever personally seen.  People stuck at home tuned in to local news to see the event unfold.  What excitement was generated over this brief visit to our area.
       2000ish years ago an angel appeared to some shepherds tending their flocks in the night (Lk. 2:8,9).  He brought amazing news "a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" has been born and here are the directions to find him.  Suddenly, a multitude of angels giving glory to God appear to the shepherds (v.13,14)  Of course the shepherds go and find the baby just as the angel said they would.  Of course they can't keep this astounding news to themselves, after all, they (the Jews) have been waiting for their Savior for centuries!
And seeing, they publicly told about the word spoken to them concerning this Child.  And all those who heard marveled about the things spoken to them by the shepherds.  Lk. 2:17,18
       So the response from the exciting news the shepherds shared was greeted with enthusiastic Wow's as the people went on with their lives.  (There is no Biblical account of anyone else visiting the babe except the wise men later in his life.)  You'd think the people would have swarmed to see the baby who would be Savior.  You'd think they would have begged for directions to go see him.  At the very least you'd think there would have been more excitement in the townsfolk.  They heard and understood what the Shepherds were saying, yet they were content to just wonder at what happened but not do anything about it.
       Was it that they didn't believe the shepherds saw and heard what they did, or did the people think they had lost their minds?  Perhaps they just thought the shepherds misunderstood the message from the angel.  Any way you look at it, they just didn't respond to the marvelous news about the Savior.  So there were no signs, no line ups of people, no excitement over the coming of the Savior they'd been waiting for so long.
       This morning as I read the non-reaction of the towns people to the news I thought how very similar it is to our enthusiasm for the Lord today.  We don't run around sharing the good news publicly nor do we respond to the good news with enthusiasm or run to 'see' the Lord.  In fact, we mostly continue on with our lives as if nothing has changed and just marvel at the things written in the Book.  Do we really believe the words in the Bible especially concerning Jesus Christ?  Because if we truly believe it will change our lives and we will want to tell everyone and 'go' to worship the Savior.
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; Ps. 19:7,8 all ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2Cor. 5:17
and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.  Col. 3:10

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

I Knew It

        It happened a gazillion times before.  As she sat in her highchair eating 'like a big girl' with her own utensils, at least half the food ended up on the tray or on the floor.  It wasn't magic or psychic ability, just a knowing from past experience that MY little girl couldn't eat without a mess to clean up.
       He hung upside down on the middle 'monkey' bar in our backyard.  With mischief in his eyes he looked over at me, and at that instant, I knew he would purposely fall down on the ground.  Sure enough, he hit the ground- right on the back of his neck.  I was not impressed but didn't make a big deal out of it or I knew he would do it again.  Over the years I always knew MY son would engage in risky 'extreme' sports, so early on I accepted that injuries may be a part of that.
       Sometimes knowing the future can prepare us for what is to come.  Other times we can become emotional at what will happen.  Personally, if I knew what was about to happen, if I didn't like it, I would certainly try to change it- and I'm not quite sure if I would ask the Lord first!
       But there in the Garden, Jesus knew.  "Then Judas, having received a band and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all things that were coming upon Him, went out and said to them, Whom do you seek?" (Jh. 18:3,4)  Jesus knew all the things about to happen: the accusations, the lies, the beatings, hair pulling, whipping, mocking, disgrace, the crucifixion, all of it.
       He didn't run.  He didn't hide.  He didn't try to lie his way out of it.  He didn't even defend himself (Mt. 26:63).  He could have called angels down to help Him (Mt. 26:53), but He didn't.  He could have asked his friends to defend Him, but He didn't.  He knew every terrible thing that would happen to Him, but did nothing to change it or stop it.  Why?
Because He loves us dearly and He also knew it was the only way for our salvation (Eph. 1:7; 1Pt. 1:18,19).  "...who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame..." (Heb. 12:2)
       We are the joy set before Him.  Jesus knew all the horrible things yet went through them all for us.  "No one has greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (Jh. 15:13)  We can never in these mortal bodies ever comprehend, "...what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge..." (Eph. 3:18,19)  Our God, the Lord Jesus Christ, knew what needed to be done and allowed it to happen that we might be reconciled to Him (2Cor. 5:18).
Oh what a loving God we serve!

Monday, July 01, 2013

Happy Birthday Canada!

       It is our 146 year as a nation.  I know this because I was a centennial baby- meaning I was born when our nation turned one hundred.  I am very grateful to live in a country where peace is the norm, religious freedom is legislated, and we can choose many aspects of how we live our lives.  With that in mind, join me in this prayer for our nation.

Lord of Heaven,

   We humble ourselves before Your throne to ask for Your forgiveness for the sins of this nation and our personal sins.  We ask for Your great mercy and grace upon us and that You would set a spark in this land in Your people; one that could not be put out, but would flame into revival in our hearts and flow into this land.  Lord, stir us to holiness, rejecting worldliness, that we might become lights in this nation to draw all the population to Jesus Christ and Your kingdom.

   Give our leaders wisdom, convict them to live in truth and righteousness.  Help them to make decisions for the good of the country above their own good.  Give them a strong sense of fiscal responsibility.  Give them hearts to support the nation of Israel.  Turn their hearts to You oh Lord.

   Father, let Your glory shine in this nation so that we may share Your love around the world.  Help us to keep the peace in other nations and protect our troops that work to that end.  Give us strength and courage to stand up for what is right in this world, no matter how much pressure is put on us from other nations.  Lord, continue to guard over this nation with Your loving care.  We choose to give You glory, honour and praise for You alone are worthy and a mighty God.  Let Your glory and freedom reign here oh Lord.  Sustain this nation of Canada in Your powerful hands and let Your Spirit be poured out on Your people.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Man Misunderstands, but Not God!

       One of the things that bothers me the most is being misunderstood by others.  Somehow, things that come out of my mouth don’t always sound the way I intended them to thus failing to come across with my intended meaning.  I don’t like to be misunderstood, but I’m pretty sure nobody else does either.  We want to be known by others, loved by others for who we are, and it’s great when our actions are understood by those around us because they know our heart.

       Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, there are a few people who can never see us for who we really are.  They are often family members who can’t see beyond who we once were, or still see us with their skewed perceptions based on their own personal issues.  Of course, our own flaws magnify the problems between all parties involved.  I wonder if David was bothered by his brother’s failure to understand.

(David inquires about what will be done for the man who kills Goliath who defies God) And his oldest brother Eliab heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab's anger was kindled against David. And he said, Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the naughtiness of your heart. For you have come down to see the battle. 1Sm. 17:28

       When David was inquires about the situation with Goliath at the battlefront, his eldest brother Eliab becomes angry.  I don’t want to focus on the why’s but rather what he said, “I know your pride and the naughtiness of your heart.  Eliab thinks he knows David’s heart, but he doesn’t.  He sees only the flawed 'little boy' who is his brother.  In fact, he also accuses David of coming just to see the battle when it was their father who sent him on the mission.

       I think it is a human trait to think we know each other’s hearts, but often times we are just seeing (and judging) their actions.  We can’t know their hearts completely, because we ARE human.  Only God understands every heart, “…For Jehovah searches all hearts and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts…” (1Ch. 28:9)  In fact, just the chapter before we find Samuel ready to anoint someone in the household of Jesse, “…For I have seen a king for Me among his sons.(1Sm. 16:1) but God passes by all the eldest in favour of the youngest, David:

And it happened as they came in, he saw Eliab and said, Surely Jehovah's anointed is before Jehovah. But Jehovah said to Samuel, Do not look on his face, nor on his height, because I have refused him. For He does not see as man sees. For man looks on the outward appearance, but Jehovah looks on the heart. 1Sm. 16:6,7

       Thus we see that Eliab was refused by God though Samuel thought he looked the part given his stature and looks.  But God saw his heart was not right for the job and so refused him.  In fact, seven sons were turned down before the Lord had Samuel anoint David of whom God said was, “…a man after My own heart, who shall fulfill all My will.(Ac. 13:22)  God wasn’t saying David was perfect or would do no wrong, but rather (imo) that his heart was in the right place of love and obedience to God.

       So at those times when man misunderstands our motives and heart, we have this assurance: God sees all, and He knows our hearts.  “…For He knows the secrets of the heart.(Ps. 44:21)  Man may get the wrong impression, but God knows the truth of all matters for “He formed the hearts of them all; he understands everything they do.(Ps. 33:15 ISV)  And even if we don’t know ourselves, God knows us intimately for “…all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him…” (Heb. 4:13)

There is no misunderstanding with God!