and the One who walks with me on it.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Summer Driving


What a summer!

       There's been a lot of driving for me and it's not something I enjoy doing.  Drive daughter to and from work every day, drive son to see his friends as all are out of area and don't have family vehicles- and no public transportation from our house.  Doctor appointments, meetings, shopping, family outings, church services, and other sundry driving.  It's a lot for me and probably wears me out faster than anything.  So I must be a glutton for punishment...
       See, my son, who is adopted, found his brother and sister.  His brother is in the next town and so they've been able to hang out.  His sister lives over 1000 km to the south of us and so the two here have not seen her since they were extremely young- they have no memories of her.  So... last weekend hubby and I had our vacation, this weekend I promised to bring my Mom to my sister's, Sunday night I'll get home, pack, and drive down south for 12+ hours Monday (can't afford to fly) to reunite the kids, now whom I consider my kids.
Phew!  Did you get that all?
       I must be crazy, maybe...  Or maybe crazy is my hubby letting me do all this?  The thing is, to me anyway, family is family.  Yes, we are Nate's family, but so are these two that he never knew growing up.  I want him to know them and enjoy their company.  I want him to love and be loved by them.  Could this bite us in the butt someday?  Maybe, but I'm willing to take that chance.  There has always been a deep seated need in him to know them, and now he has that opportunity.  I wouldn't want them to wait any longer than needed.
       When Amy was young, we had a partially open adoption, which meant we communicated with her birth mom through the social worker.  After a year I realized that we all love and are loved by many people and so Amy would be able to love us and her birth family too.  Hubby already felt this way and we fully opened the adoption, wrote and even visited them every 2 or 3 years. (Very out of area)  Some people have said about both families, "What if they are alcoholics, drug addicts, or have mental issues?"  Well, if they were in our blood born families what do we do?  We figure out a way to relate to them without enabling their behaviour.  Why wouldn't we do the same for newly found relatives.  I say, the more people to love, the merrier!!!
       So I don't know how much time I'll have for blogging, but I will try to keep up as much as possible.  To me, these two new amazing people are already my family and I look forward to getting to know them better.  What a blessing to open up my life to share it with them, and what a blessing for me to share their lives.  It may be a tiring journey south but I anticipate it will be well worth the long drive.  Ow, I'm so excited!!!
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1Cr. 13:7 ESV

       As for the long drive which needs to be done in one day (can only be gone 5 days) I'll just have to rely on this verse, "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." (Php. 4:13), trust God to help me and help everything to work out and then remember one important thing.

Just breathe...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fry Pies

       It is rare for me to enjoy an item of food with great pleasure.  While we were on our mini-vacation, I was introduced to a tasty fry pie at the farm we toured.  It had a pie like crust shaped like a half moon, with a gentle glaze on the outside and the best cherry filling I ever had outside my home- it was the perfect taste.  We wandered over to the barn for our tour there and the filling was oozing over our fingers as we bit in.  Yummmm!  (My only regret is not buying more.  :D )

       By the time we reached the barn, hubby was done his pie and was following the guide.  I was only half done but figured they wouldn’t care if I ate it inside.  Two feet inside the door I came to a dead stop.  The delicious flavour of the pie as I chewed contrasted with the sharply unpleasant smell of horse droppings.  Yuck!  I quickly backed out of the barn to keep from retching and to finish my pie where I could truly appreciate it.

       The stench of the dung almost ruined my delicious treat.  It reminded me in the Bible of how the people weren’t to touch certain things at certain times or they would become unclean (ex. dead bodies- Nm. 19:13).  Just like the stench almost attached itself to the fry pie, so touching something unclean would defile a person.  While I wouldn’t stop myself from sitting on the chair of a menstruating woman, picking up bacon and eating it, or touching a dead loved ones hand, my thoughts went more in the direction of how often we let others around us defile the way we think, speak and act.

       Many people working in a factory begin swearing more because they hear it all the time.  Hang around with people telling inappropriate jokes, and pretty soon we’ll laugh at them.  Start watching sexually explicit tv shows with the unsaved and soon we’ll watch increased perversity.  It’s like the ways of the world are constantly trying to stick to us. 

Do not be deceived; evil companionships corrupt good habits. 1Cr. 15:33
He who walks with the wise shall be wise, but a companion with fools shall be destroyed. Pr. 13:20 (wicked- Pr. 4:14,15; angry- Pr. 22:24,25)

       So we need to be careful to not allow the ungodly ways of the world to stick to us.  There is nothing wrong with saying ‘no’, walking away from people telling inappropriate jokes or telling them to stop, discontinue watching the sexually explicit tv shows, etc.  And when the stench of ungodliness attempts to attach, we need to back out of the barn and seek a better place to stand.  That better place to stand is on God’s Word.

So that, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not without fruit in the Lord. (1Cr. 15:58)
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist… Ep. 16:13
stand fast and hold the teachings which you have been taught, whether by word or by our letter. 2Th. 2:15
Watch! Stand fast in the faith! Be men! Be strong! 1Cr. 16:13

In fact, I have to ask myself
if we are spending more time with the unsaved in their pursuits, even partaking in them, but less time in fellowship with other believers (Hb. 10:25; Ac. 2:44-47), then we should consider where our hearts truly lie.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Of Humility

       Raised by the head of the nation, called by God to save his people, Moses also spent face to face time with the Lord.  It seems to me that someone with such a life could become arrogant and dismissive of others yet the Bible says, “(Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all the men on the face of the earth.)(Nm. 12:3)  Some more modern people considered humble would be Mother Theresa and Billy Graham.  All of these, for their ‘renown’ still maintained a humble demeanor.

       This is one of the things I learned about the Amish on our trip- they choose to live humble lives.  Their clothes are made to blend in with each other instead of stand out; there are no fancy accessories.  They wear their hair in the way they believe honours God.  They don’t like their pictures being taken because they believe it is against the command not to have graven images.  In all my years, I’ve never seen an Amish person of any age showing off, acting in pride or mistreating others (though I am sure it happens as they are human).

       I am not putting them up on a pedestal as I know they have crimes committed in their communities too, but I’m thinking about how society thinks of them and us as non Amish Christians.  Though the Amish are considered odd in lifestyles, they are seen as humble, or at least as standing differently than society.  Many unbelievers have said to me they find (non Amish) Christians to be arrogant and only caring about proselytizing- not genuinely concerned about them.  If this is the case, we have to pause to consider why.

        Jesus was considered humble (Zc. 9:9; Mr. 10:45; Php. 2:5-8).  We are supposed to follow Him, be like Him (Mt. 16:24; 1Cr. 11:1,2).  If people are seeing us as arrogant and uncaring, then we need to consider ALL our actions.  Are they in line with what Jesus would do?  Do we speak the way Jesus would speak?  Do we help others the way Jesus would?  As concerning our behaviour, society should see us as humble people- for we are called to be humble.

if My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2Ch. 7:14

Put on humility. For God resists proud ones, but He gives grace to the humble. 1Pt. 5:5

The meek He will guide in judgment; and the meek He will teach His way. Ps. 25:9

        Notice the action on our part.  We aren’t to wait for God to miraculously change us to be humble people.  It is something WE are to do.  The opposites of humility are: arrogance, assertiveness, egoism, pretentiousness, and self-importance and so in being humble we should not be these things, yet we take pride in our assertiveness and often place importance on ourselves, our needs etc.  In thinking of humility, I believe there are changes I need to make in myself.

Lord, help me to make them.

He will beautify the meek with salvation.
Ps. 149:4

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Simple Life

       Well, we just got back yesterday from our mini-trip to the Amish area of Ohio.  Did you know they have the largest Amish population in North America?  Anyway, though they still try to maintain the simple life, worldly intrusions are seeping in.  They may use hydro for work sometimes and cellphones only for work as well.  Also, they are allowed running shoes for work in certain places.  It’s odd to see modern runners under the long dresses of the women working the restaurants, but no more odd than seeing an Amish man answer his cell.

       However, they still utilize the one room schoolhouse, the church/ marriage/ funeral services in area homes, and bicycles or picturesque buggies to get around.  They don’t have electronic gadgets around the house, so entertainment is usually the family together time sort, whether at home, while visiting or at area attractions, events or shops.  Many also enjoy various sports.  Although they do more tasks manually than us, there is much relationship building during this time as many tasks are shared.

       Their faces are far less stressed than the average person, and there is a settled peace about them that makes me think their ways might be better… but I don’t like living without music and buggies take too long!  They believe this is the way they are called to live under our gracious Lord God.  One day I hope to speak at length to a few and find out just what the spiritual side of their life is like more specifically, but for now, I marvel at the simple life (their words) that seems to be much more tranquil.

       In the end, it is how we follow God, whether as Amish or non-Amish, Baptist, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Brethren or Catholic that will determine what happens at the end of our life.  If we do not rely on salvation through Jesus Christ and follow Him then our eternity will be in a place of torment (Lk. 16:23) of the worse kind*.  If we do follow Jesus Christ and His ways, then an eternity with Him is in our future.  But before that eternity is the Judgment seat of Christ (Rm. 14:10; 2Cr. 5:10). 

So then each one of us will give account concerning himself to God. Rm. 14:12
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive the things done through the body, according to that which he has done, whether good or bad. 2Cr. 5:10
For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good, or whether evil. Ec. 12:14

       In the end, it doesn’t matter if we lead a simple life or a crazy, stressed one, but only that our hearts and lives are the Lord’s to lead and we honour God in what we say and do for we will all be held accountable (1Cr. 3:11-15; Mt. 12:36).  According to my source in the Amish area, one CAN become Amish later in life, so go for it if you like that kind of less stressful life.  I’m thinking, it wouldn’t work for me.

Lord, help me to be just like You because that is what I strive for…

In this is our love made perfect,
that we may have boldness in the day of judgment,
that as He is, so also we are in this world.
1Jh. 4:17

*darkness (Jude 1:13); smoke (Rv. 14:11); fire (Rv. 20:15; Mr. 9:44);
chains (Jude 1:6) –bad angels-; wailing (Mt. 22:13); worms (Is. 66:24);
no rest (Rv. 14:11)