and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Quiet of the Dunes

       Lately I really long to camp at the Pinery again.  My favourite area is the Dunes because I enjoy the looks of the dunes, the area is close to the lake and there is one prominent dune I love to climb at night to bask alone in God’s presence.  This post was written about my first experience on our dune.  It was a special time for me with My Savior.  It is also a reminder for me to not get lost in the busyness of summer. 
*   *   *   *   *
        It was late and finally, the kids were tucked away in their sleeping bags in the tent along with Albert who was reading on our side.  It seemed the rest of the campground was asleep or very quietly sitting around their campfires because the stillness of the night called to me.  After letting Albert know I was going for a walk, I set off on a new adventure into unknown territory.  This was a park we’d never been in before, and I was just discovering all it had to offer.  Drawing near to some sand dunes, I heart the Lord whispering, “Come be with Me.

       Though my footing wasn’t sure, I managed to climb to the top of the dunes and there discovered an isolated area of natural beauty as mounds of sand opened up into the dark but starry sky.  In that quiet solitude, the Lord met with me, worship flowed out of me naturally, and the presence of the Lord was strong.  It felt like the Lord and I were the only two people in the universe that night.  What a precious time it was, and I returned to that place as often as I was able that week.

       With all the busyness of life, we sometimes forget to find that quiet place in our lives to meet with God and focus on Him alone.  Of course He is with us always (Mt. 28:20) and we ought to be communicating throughout our day, but there is a special connection made when we enter into a secret, quiet place with Him alone to be with one another.  Jesus Himself went out to a solitary place to meet with God (Mr. 1:35), and also taught His disciples to do the same (Mr. 6:31).  Sometimes, we just need to be still so we can ‘see’ God (Ps. 46:10).

       “Come close to God, and he will come close to you(Jm. 4:8 ISV).  The Lord will meet with us if we just take the time to be alone with Him.  If we read the entire Bible, we see how God attempted over and over to make a home where He could be with man, because He wants to be with us- “…that I may dwell among them…” (Ex. 29:46).  He is the Father who meets with us in the secret place (Mt. 6:6), and there His peace will envelope us (Is. 26:3) because our minds are focused on Him and not ourselves, our troubles or our desires.

For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength..." Is. 30:15 NKJV


       These are great words, but in their purest form are found only in one place- in the Lord God.  We must find the time and place to meet with Him every day when we can focus on Him alone, setting aside all other concerns to be with Him.  My living room has become my ‘quiet place on the dunes’ where I meet with God, find rest in Him, and like the children of Israel on their journey, so is He with me on mine.

My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.
Ex. 33:14

Friday, July 18, 2014

Journey from Misery to Masterpiece

       I’ve often told people that my life was okay until I got married.  In reality there were a couple big issues in my childhood that weren’t the greatest.  My parents chose favorite kids and I was the odd man out and so pretty much felt ignored.  And due to the lack of physical affection (the main way I understand love and because Mom thought we didn’t need hugs/ touch after age six) I also felt unloved.  Still, most of the worst trials of my life came after marriage.

       My biggest dream was shattered one year after we were married- we would not bear children.  Successive shattering happened: when we were told we couldn’t adopt through the public system (a long story), private was not available for several years and we couldn’t afford or didn’t match criteria for most foreign adoptions.  Later, my husband had a very scary medical issue.  I was being harassed at work by my supervisor.  We were robbed near Christmas one year and had hassles with the insurance company.  My dad died that January. I made a rather large mistake at work for which I could have been fired but ended up written up.  (6 ½ years of marriage)

       Finally, private adoption opened up, we got our girl and despite the rough first year, and Albert becoming diabetic, it was a good few years until the worst trial hit in 2000 and lasted six years.  One day maybe I’ll be free to speak more specifically about it…  Anyway, that was a big time surrender to God near the end of that.  My response to all the bad trials was short time faith, big disappointment, anger at God for not intervening and then bitterness.  In 2006 there was finally real trust.  Three months later I had cancer.  1 ½ years of treatment.  Next, Albert’s lay off for 3 ½ years in which I was unable to work for health reasons and his heart attack during it in 2010 (two fully blocked arteries, one half). (24 years of marriage)

       Everything changed for me in early 2006 as I gave up the fight for control and surrendered to God.  I recognized Him as sovereign over all, that He allowed me to go through what He wanted me to for good reason, that I didn’t have to understand why but trust Him and that He was always there for me even when I accused Him of not being there.  My perspectives of trials changed.  My trust in Him increased.  Joy and peace remained through the difficulties; yes, including the cancer.

God did that.

Though the fig tree shall not blossom, and fruit is not on the vines; the labor of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food. The flock is cut off from the fold, and no herd is in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in Jehovah, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Jehovah the Lord is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds' feet, and He will make me to walk on my high places… Hbk. 3:17-19

        All those years of my life seemed mostly wasted.  But I don’t think they’re wasted because of the misery and troubles I went through but because I was fighting God so hard for control that I didn’t really know Him as I could have.  Now, because of my trust in Him no matter what happens during my life, I rejoice (exult, triumph), joy (exult, be glad) in Him who saves (delivers, sets me free, gives me victory).  Victory even over my own flaws.  And He is my strength (efficiency, wealth, army) and makes me like a female deer marching forth on my (high places, mountains, battlefields, places of worship). (dictionary- BDB)

      Jehovah is no small God of wood and stone (Ac. 17:29) unable to effect change in our lives (Rm. 2:29; 12:1,2; 2Cr. 3:17,18; Ep. 2:10; Ez. 36:26)If we allow Him, He will change us for the better and our lives will become great masterpieces of beauty that stand in His gallery for all to see His glory and work in our lives: His Light and shadows, His strokes, tones, textures, shape, movement, scale, contrast and colour He ‘painted’ into in our lives.  He is our divine Creator, the One who treasures us like no other.  The One who saves us by laying down His life for us.

(Jesus said) …I lay down My life so that I might take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down from Myself… Jh. 10:17,18
But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was on Him; and with His stripes we ourselves are healed. Is. 53:5
No one has greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Jh. 15:13

Our One True Love

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Incomplete House

       I have this one memory of walking out of our basement to the outside.  One time when my Mom cut her finger, she passed out and we ran up and out to my uncle’s house next door for help crying that she was dead.  I asked my Mom if this was a true memory and she said yes, we did live in the basement of our one floor house since the main floor was not completed.  It’s good to know some of my memories are true. J 

       While our house only took a year or so to build, there was this one house my hubby and I would see as we drove to my Mom and Dad’s, which seemed to never get done.  We wondered if the people only built what they had money for, or maybe they were building it themselves and only had so much time.  Little by little, over approx. fifteen years, it was completed.  That’s a lot of patient waiting.

       Way back in the old days, after some of the Jews in captivity were allowed to go back to Jerusalem to rebuild (in 538bc) the city and temple, the Lord sent a message to His people.  “Consider your ways.(v.5,7 ESV) See, they had started to build His Temple but then stopped (in 536bc) and the Temple became a low priority.  They made excuses to not complete the work.  They prioritized their own wants and needs over God’s.
So says Jehovah of Hosts, saying: This people says, The time has not come, the time that Jehovah's house should be built. Hg. 1:2
Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your finished houses, and shall this House lie waste? (v.4)

       Wow, so God actually wants us to tend to His things first, before all the tasks we NEED to complete in our own lives?  Really?  Is that even possible?  I say yes, even if it doesn’t always work out that way in my own life.  We wonder why the Lord doesn’t bless us in our lives, our jobs, our families, our finances, etc. but do we truly put God first in everything or do we relegate Him to the back burners of our lives?

you have sown much and bring in little; you eat, but you do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you dress, but no one is warm; and he who hires out himself hires himself for a bag full of holes. (v.6)
You looked for much, and behold, it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? declares the LORD of hosts. Because of my house that lies in ruins, while each of you busies himself with his own house. Therefore the heavens above you have withheld the dew, and the earth has withheld its produce. And I have called for a drought on the land… (v. 9-11 ESV)

       We sow, but get little back: never satisfied with what we do get, and there is never enough money as if our purse has holes.  We look for many blessings but get nothing instead.  The heavens withhold them from us and we wonder why.  It seems like all of nature is against us and we live in drought…  It sure sounds like North American Christians.  We pray for a few minutes, for God to bless us, then go on our merry way with our own lives never stopping to prioritize Him instead of our many tasks we HAVE to get done.  We simply have no time for Him…
       We need to obey (v.12) and revere Him, above our own lives, first and foremost.  Then we’re likely to hear, “I am with you…” (v.13)  Then we’re likely to have His blessings abound in our lives.  “And Jehovah stirred up the spirit…” of all the people and they came together on God’s prioritized work (v.14)  In 520bc the people started to rebuild God’s house and it was completed in 515bc.  When will we start prioritizing God in our lives?

...You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. Lk. 10:27
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Mt. 6:33
Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1Cr. 3:16

Do we prioritize the work that needs to be done on God’s current house?
What exactly are the tools we should be using for this work?  The Word, prayer, meditating on and studying the Word, praise, worship, reverence, repentance,etc...

Who shall go up into the hill of Jehovah? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul to vanity, and has not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from Jehovah, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face, O God of Jacob. Ps. 24:3-6

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Test

       Lately my hubby has had a lot of problems with Charley horses, probably about 5 or more a day.  The worst ones occur when he’s supposed to be sleeping, but the cramping happens and he wakes up in tremendous pain.  It’s been going on for a few months and we didn’t know what to do.  Just the other day I was at a friend’s place and she was taking a magnesium supplement.  I asked the reason she took it and she said it was for the Charley horses she got.  Did it work?  She said it did.

       A few years ago I read a book on healthy hearts and there was the ‘perfect’ cocktail for a strong, healthy heart of which magnesium was a part.  Little did I know how important this mineral is to our bodies.  It even helps with muscles, nerves, energy levels and stress.  Suffice it to say, we are now taking magnesium citrate in powder form.

       This is a test to see if the reality is as good as the claims.  Day four for Albert and he has not had one Charley horse.  That’s really good. J  Whether or not his stress levels go down is not yet measurable.  As for me on day two, no noticeable difference in energy L, but my neck and shoulder muscles are less painful.  Coincidence or not?  Uncertain.  The test continues…

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but try (G1381) the spirits to see if they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God; and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God… 1Jh. 4:1-3
Prove (G1381) all things, hold fast to the good. 1Th. 5:21
spirit (G4151) the vital principal by which the body is animated (incl. knowing, desiring, deciding, and acting, feeling, thinking)
       What does trying the spirits mean?  This is my thoughts on that.  We are to ‘try’ all the spirits, not just those of prophets for that was just an example the apostle used, but authors, teachers, preachers, (tv) evangelists, friends, family, acquaintances, and anyone who claims to be speaking for or about God.  (Yes, that includes me too J )  2 years, 30 years or 60 years a Christian does not make one faultless in thought, doctrine, beliefs, etc.  Man will always make errors, so we need to know the Truth for ourselves.

(about the Bereans listening to the teaching of Paul and Silas) …in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind and searched the Scriptures daily to see if those things were so. Ac. 17:11
Sanctify them through Your truth. Your Word is truth. Jh. 17:17

Christ followers should have
abundant fruit.
       So we read/ listen to the words people write or say, but we should check out the context of the Scriptures they use and verify their interpretation with the whole of Scripture to ensure what they are saying is correct.  If we don’t know the Truth in that area already and it seems important to know, we should then study the topic for ourselves.  If not, it can be ‘put on a shelf’ for another time.  Then, as well as verifying everything in Light of the Word, we should also consider the fruit that is displayed in the ministry and life of the person ‘teaching’. “You shall know them by their fruits...” (Mt. 7:16)

       Does the ministry display the fruit of the Spirit? (see Gl. 5:22-25) This includes meekness and self-control.  Is the teacher caught up in works of the flesh (see Gl. 19-21,26) or have they ‘crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts.(v.24)  Do they give God ALL the glory and always point to Him or are they seeking glory (v.26) for themselves?  Do they love worldly things* or God more?

holding fast the faithful Word according to the doctrine, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and to convict the gainsayers. Tt. 1:9
false teachers among you, who secretly will bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them… 2Pt. 2:1
After the first and second warning, reject a man of heresy, Tt. 3:10

       It is our responsibility to check out the things we read and hear.  Don’t expect everything to be correct even if we’ve known the ‘teacher’ for a long time, respect them and know they are usually right on.  Mistakes can always be made.  If a ‘teacher’ insists (or implies) they are always right, have more understanding and knowledge, hear from God more, have higher insight or revelation, better relationship with God, and such, be weary because this is indicative of a problem.  Again, it is our responsibility to be like the Bereans and be ready of mind but also check the Scriptures daily to see if what we read and hear is true.

Father help us to discern that which is flesh and demonic from that which is life and Spirit.  Open our eyes that we might see wonderful things out of Your law, direction, instruction.  Ps. 119:18

*Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1Jh. 2:15,16