Thursday, August 08, 2013
Sounds like a criminal sentence, doesn’t it, but it’s not. Tomorrow will be our 25th anniversary, and what a miracle it is that we are still together. With all we have been through and all we’ve had to overcome, the changes within were not entirely positive and so we have learned to adapt as we go along the matrimonial journey. Still, there’s another reason I say it’s a miracle.
Albert was my first and only boyfriend. Though I’d wanted to wait until 28ish, well, I couldn’t wait that long after I got to know him. So… we were engaged, I told my parents (his were down south with no way to inform them) and then he told all our friends. That was when the panic set in. I had never stayed with a man- other than my Dad- for more than 24 hours. What if I couldn’t do it? What if we drove each other crazy? What if I wasn’t able to stick with one man for all my life- or a year- or even a week?
Marriage is honorable in all… Hb. 13:4
Getting married is easy; staying married requires hard work especially in today’s environment… harder than you will ever do at a paid job. But the best things in life are worth the effort. Salvation is similar. Getting saved is easy; walking out your salvation is not! We battle the flesh, the devil, his fellow workers, our families and friends sometimes, our co-workers, and the old human nature.
Life is hard. Sometimes it changes us- and not for the better. We need to learn to live and adapt in this new Christian environment we walk through. And we need to put effort towards the journey and not expect God to do it all for us. The best marriages involve really good communication with each other. Likewise, our ‘spiritual power’ will come from good communication with God. That’s two way communication by the way. Not only do we need to speak, but also be still and listen; listen to the voice of the Messiah.
Fortunately, we do not fight alone. There is One who is with us (Mt. 28:20), stands beside us (Js. 1:9) in the journey ready to be our defense (Ps. 5:11), our offense (Ex. 14:14), our guard, our refuge (Ps. 46:1), our strength (Is. 41:10). So no matter how tough our journey is in these bodies of flesh, we can only ‘serve one life sentence’. After that, we have an eternity in the most beautiful and perfect place ever with the Love of our lives.
Thank You Lord.
No matter how many years we must endure hardship here, it is worth an eternity with You!
Wednesday, August 07, 2013
Well, they could have been here any time after 2:30 pm. You know what it’s like when you are getting guests over for the evening. There is the rushing to clean the house, buying of supplies for supper, preparation thereof and the last minute touch ups to finish. Then you wait. In our case, we can’t be sure when they’ll get here, so we need to be patient. I’m not always so good with patience.
Still, I’m excited that they’ll be here soon and I’ll get to spend some time with them again. Our visits are few and far between since they live in another province. But friendships don’t really die, they just take hiatuses now and then and resume when time allows. When we get together, we laugh, we reminisce, we converse about many topics, we find out what’s happening or what’s changed, sometimes we might even cry, but we always enjoy each other’s company.
In a similar way, the Lord has prepared a place for us to dwell with Him forever (1Th. 4:17). Whether it be mansions or cottages, sky rises or ranches, or rooms in His house, we will live with Him one day in a world where sin, sickness and death no longer have a place (Rev. 21:4,27; Is. 25:8; 1Jh. 3:5,6). Though we are not company but are actually family coming home, we are visitors in the place we live now (Php. 3:20).
In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, so that where I am, you may be also. Jh. 14:2,3
…For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has prepared herself. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white. For the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. And he said to me, Write, Blessed are those who have been called to the marriage supper of the Lamb… Rv. 19:7-9
So Jesus, in effect, has gone to Heaven to ‘clean up’ to prepare for our homecoming. He’s ‘buying supplies’ for the marriage supper of the Lamb and making finishing touches on our place so that we will enjoy our time together. When we finally arrive, we will laugh, reminisce, and learn a whole lot of what we didn’t understand here on earth in these mortal bodies. Most of all, we will enjoy each other’s company forever. It can’t get better than that!
We just have to be patient a little longer…
PS- As for me, I don’t know about that ‘no more tears’ bit because I’m pretty sure I’m gonna sob like a baby for joy of finally being with the Lord face to face.
Monday, August 05, 2013
‘Now Vicky, you sit there in that corner and think about what you’ve done.’ I can’t really remember being told that, but it probably happened. For certain, I’ve seen it on tv shows and I wonder to myself why the kids don’t get right back up and say, ‘Okay, I’ve thought about it!’ Self assessment is not a comfortable thing for us to do at any age. Who wants to look in the mirror and see themselves for who they really are? It’s bad enough the unwanted hair, the permanent wrinkle lines and the chub that never used to be there, but then there are all those internal flaws to consider.
I thought on my ways, and turned my feet to Your testimonies. Ps. 119:59
But I don’t wanna think: of how selfish I’ve been with my time, how many times I’ve lost my temper, the money I’ve wasted while others can’t pay basic bills, of the days I’ve ignored my Lord, and the times I’ve disappointed others by my actions, or even myself, not to mention the times I didn’t do what God wanted me to. No one wants to dwell on their failings, and quite frankly, I don’t think we should (dwell means to reside or stay in them) because the Bible says to think on things that are right, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, praise worthy (Php. 4:8), right?
Actually, there are two words I purposely omitted from that verse (did you catch it?)- true and honest. While honest can also mean honourable, true is just that- the truth. So we are supposed to think on what is true, and that includes our failings. If we never consider them, how can we decide to improve? Yes, God can help us change, but we are supposed to do our part. Notice, David turned his own feet; he didn’t wait for God to turn them.
Check out the verbs: flee (2Tm. 2:22), resist (Jm. 4:7), repent (Ac. 17:30), forgive (Ep. 4:32), humble self / seek / pray / turn (2Ch. 7:14), deny yourself (Lk. 9:23), confess (1Jh. 1:9), put off (Ep. 4:22). These are just some of the many action words God wants us to do.
David contemplated his ways, decided they needed changing and then changed. Is there any value in assessing our ways? Successful businesses do it often to see how they can improve and it helps. You can’t improve upon something without knowing it’s a problem first. Perhaps if we took some time every week to ponder our ways, we can decide if any changes are needed to improve our walk, our relationships, our health, our being. Jesus came to bring salvation and to show us a better way to live. It doesn’t do any good if we just ignore the things He said.
We need to think. We need to change. We need to move toward God and godliness.
I need to…
Sunday, August 04, 2013
I clung on to the edge of the above ground pool like my life depended on it. My heart was pounding in my chest because I wasn’t so sure I would survive. Jay, who was seeking revenge for me dunking him weeks earlier, was a black belt in jiu jitsu and was far stronger than me. I thought he just might keep me under too long not realizing that I couldn’t hold my breath as long as most. No matter how he tried to grasp me I managed to wiggle away. And my grasp on the edge was like a welded vice; there was no way he’d get both hands off and he didn’t!
It’s in our human nature to hang on to things especially when we deem it important enough to us. We tend to cling on to them, some of them good for us and some not so good. Yet still, we cling. It was the act of clinging that spoke to me from the Psalms this morning.
…My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to Your Word. Ps. 119:25
Cling is an interesting word. It speaks of cleaving, adhering, being joined, sticking fast, pursuing hard and following close. Barnes says ‘it has the sense of adhering firmly to anything, so that it cannot easily be separated from it.’ So here David is speaking being stuck like glue to something as if his affections were involved.
The dust signifies a few things. Sometimes when the Jews mourned they would throw dust (or ashes) on their heads in order to abase themselves (Lm. 2:10). Perhaps David was mourning, but I don’t think so because no one would cling to mourning. Dust can mean actual earth. That is probably not the answer either since David had more to do than hang on to dirt. It could also refer to humankind’s mortality for in that sense, all our bodies cling to death- not of our own volition.
It is more likely David is speaking of the earth in context of earthly things; considered as base, unworthy, and worldly. If there is one thing I know as a 30 year Christian is that we DO tend to cling to the world like it is our lifeline. We stick to the attitudes as if they are best, the behaviours as if they are normal or good for us, the thinking as if it is the only source of intelligence, and the fleshly ways of greed, covetousness, and impurity or anything that fulfills our pleasures. It doesn’t seem to matter if it is good for us or not, we hang on tight anyway.
But we were meant for a higher purpose, not to live as the world (Rm. 12:2), but with the Spirit of God dwelling with us (Jm. 4:5), we are to live / walk in the Spirit (Gl. 5:16).
But the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control; against such things there is no law. But those belonging to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become glory-seeking, provoking one another, envying one another. Gl. 5:22-26
David realized his penchant for sticking to the world, but he also knew the way to fix that was for God to make him alive through the Word. Only He is able to transform our hearts and lives (Rm. 12:2), and the Word of God (both the Bible and Jesus) can make us alive again. Truth is, for me, it wasn’t until I let go of the world that I experienced the real freedom that comes in Christ (Jh. 8:32,36). I don’t want to go back to holding on to that edge of the world for fear of my life, but I want to run into the future with Jesus holding my hand on this journey. That's where all the fun is!
And the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with our face having been unveiled, having beheld the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are being changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord Spirit. 2Cr. 3:17,18
It is the Spirit that makes alive,
the flesh profits nothing.
The words that I speak to you are spirit and are life.