and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

A Parent’s Love

       I’ve loved my daughter since the first day I held her in my arms- at two days old.  Even though I was scared, wondering if I’d be a good parent, just looking in her eyes made me want to share all the love I had with her.  Four years later we brought home our son who was 3 ½ and all I wanted to do was share my love with this child who had a troubled start and suffered loss in his life.  Two children: both my own by adoption, both dearly loved, both so different and with different beginnings.

       Boy, have I been frustrated as a parent!  Despite how I tried to instill certain morals, values and beliefs, in the end they have made their own decisions and some of those decisions have caused me great pain.  It has been very difficult to watch them get hurt or suffer for choices they made when I tried to advise them on better options.  It has been difficult to watch them accept worldly standards in morality, beliefs and values.  Some of their actions (given their standards) truly bother me, and sometimes, are very hurtful towards me, but they are adults and I cannot change them.

       Both my children have hurt me, mostly unintentionally but not always.  They’ve pushed the limits I set, lied to me even when I saw with my own eyes, and ignored me for lengths of time that I wanted to spend with them.  They’ve both gotten in trouble and had to figure out how to fix it.  In many ways as parents, we let go and hope they come back to us in the future.  There is no manual for the kids given to us, only the assurance that God knows what He is doing and it is best for parents and children both.

I still love them very much no matter what they say or do.  They are and will always be my children.

       Given my past history with the Lord, I believe He loves me ever more than I love my own children; and He is patient beyond measure.  He watched as I made bad decision after bad decision, wanting to be in control of my own life only to muck it up.  He watched as my standards caused me to choose actions harmful to myself or others.  He watched as I got angry at Him and ignored Him time and again.

Yet my Father still loves me very much, no matter what I’ve said or done.  I am and will always be His child.

For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rm. 8:38,39

Friday, October 03, 2014

The Little Green Man

       When I was young I had quite the imagination.  Still, when the phone would ring and I was told it was for me I would get nervous because it could be that creepy little voice of nightmares, the evil Little Green Man.  It was real and not my imagination.  And the voice would start out calling me by name and then telling me some horrible thing he would do.  I don’t remember much more, but I’m sure it scared me at the time, especially from ever going down any Texas Rd. where he lived just in case it was his!

       Meanwhile, on the telephone downstairs (back in the days when you could call your own house), one of my sisters was placing that call to me while they both laughed at my gullibility.  To me, it really was the voice of the Little Green Man.  I was sure of it.  Obviously I was wrong.  It wasn’t the voice of that non-existent evil troll, but my sister’s voice.

       Though God could choose to speak audibly to us His followers, He often speaks through His Spirit in us.  There are three main voices we hear: our mind, the enemy, and God.  Of course, He often speaks through His Word, but He said we could hear His voice. 

But you do not believe for you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice*, and I know them, and they follow Me. Jh. 10:26,27
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, "Today if you will hear His voice*, Hb. 3:7
the disciples heard God’s voice audibly. 2Pt. 1:17,18
(*voice- G5456- phone- sound, tone, voice/ uttered sounds, speech)

       So how do we know whose voice we are hearing?  Usually our mind will cater to our flesh and desires, the enemy will tear us down or lift us in pride, and God will always speak truth, urging us to holiness and humility.  One of the ways we get to know His voice is to spend as much time with Him as possible -draw near Him (Jm. 4:8), seek Him with all your heart (Jr. 29:13; Dt. 4:29)- not just talking but LISTENING.  We must also use discernment. “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.(Hb. 5:14)The simple believes every word, but the wise man watches his step.(Pr. 14:15)

Test all that we hear against the Word of God.

-Is it Scriptural, good Christian principles, and agrees with God’s names, character and nature?
‘God’ tells me to leave my husband. Nope. Not God. Against the above.
‘God’ tells me to make peace with someone who spoke lies about me to others. Pray. Probably God. Agrees with the above.
‘God’ tells me to say something mean to my enemy.  Nope. Not God. Against the above.
‘God’ tells me to love the person who just hurt me and ask for forgiveness for my part in it.  Pray. Probably God. Agrees with the above.

For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing apart of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hb. 4:12
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but try the spirits to see if they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1Jh. 4:1
God, who cannot lie… Titus 1:2 (also Nm. 23:19)
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. Jm. 1:22

       We must discern the voices we hear or the thoughts we have, to know if they are our own, the enemy or of God.  
The following list from 2Cr. 11:3,4 also helps because it encompasses basically all things not of God.  I list examples to help in understanding…

We must watch that our thoughts are not deceived and corrupted by:
     another Jesus- an unforgiving, selfish, vengeful, mean, lazy, uncaring in actions, Jesus was 
                          none of these.
     another spirit- confusion, anger, bitter, covetousness, pride, condemning, money or status 
     another gospel- gospel of: self improvement, prosperity, name it claim it, etc

Don’t be afraid to hear God’s voice, just use wisdom and know God doesn’t lie so He would never go against who He is or His Word.

Thursday, October 02, 2014


       I sat once again slowly savouring the fluffy white sweetness of the dessert as it rolled around in my mouth feeling for the one whole almond, amidst the varying size pieces, for one of us to find… perhaps me.  My only hope was that someone would find it soon so that we could all relax and just enjoy the flavour of the wonderful Danish dish usually served at Christmastime and which I looked forward to more than the meal.  If we are not careful we can chomp on the whole almond and there will be no prize for the one who finds it.

       So every year it gets quiet during dessert as we sit and gently chew on our special rice pudding with cherry sauce on top (though I usually pass that by).  Occasionally a person pulls out a larger piece out of their mouth to make sure it isn’t complete before eating it- such poor etiquette! J   But it forces you to mull on the risalmande, savouring every bite, fully enjoying the texture and flavours of the dish.

       The Word of God is similar to the risalamande in that we need to take small mouthfuls at a time and mull on them a bit looking for those whole almonds or truths that will help us ‘win the prize’ of eternal life.  Sure, we can rush through the tasting, chewing and swallowing, but how will we get the full flavour and enjoy the texture of the dish if we are consuming it so fast?  What happens if we quickly chomp down on the whole almond thus losing it’s full meaning in our lives?

       For an example, I was reading Luke 16 the other day, slowly savouring the words looking for that nugget that would jump out to me for that day when I read these verses:

No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money*."The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed** him. And he said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted^ among men is an abomination^^ in the sight of God. Lk. 16:13-15 ESV
*treasure, riches **sneered, scoffed at    ^exalted: with power, in influence, set the mind on, aspire to ^^foul, detestable thing, pertaining to idols and idolatry

       Now, I’ve read this many times and various parts of the chapter have jumped out at me but that day I couldn’t help but think of how much society is like this, sneering and scoffing at those whose ultimate goal isn’t wealth, power and status.  Continuing to think on it, I pondered North American Christians today who also aspire to wealth, positions of power and social or spiritual status.  Have these things not become our idolatry even in the church?  I think they have as wealth can mean possessions as well as money.  We love our money and our possessions every bit as much as the world.

       Though we may be able to conceal this love from the world, or from our family and friends, ultimately God knows our hearts and knows all the idols that we have.  These things we aspire to, exalt in our own eyes, they are and abomination to God.  As I pondered further I looked around the room at all the stuff we have acquired over the years, stuff that cost money, much of which was unnecessary and I had to think how much more that money could have done for the kingdom of God just by sharing it.  Then I had to thing of the ways to apply this knowledge…

       This is how one savours the Word of God trying to find that daily morsel that will lead us to further understand the Truth.  This is what we call meditation (unlike the eastern forms which are cultic in nature), and about which the Bible speaks plainly.

This book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth,
but you shall meditate on it by day and by night,
so that you may be careful to do according to all that is
written in it
Js. 1:8

To meditate on according to the Bible:
   -the Law (Ps. 1:2)
   -on His promises (Ps. 119:148)
   -on His statutes (Ps. 119:48)
   -on His works (Ps. 143:5)
   -reading, exhortation, doctrine, and the gifts (1Tm. 4:15)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Five Crowns that May be Ours

       Many Christians look forward to receiving awards at the end of this fleshly world.  We know that we will be judged by Jesus Christ for our deeds, and that not of Jesus will be burned up while the ‘good’ or that of Jesus will remain.

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 any other foundation can no one lay than the one being laid, who is Jesus Christ. And if anyone builds on this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble, each one's work shall be revealed. For the Day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try each one's work as to what kind it is. If anyone's work which he built remains, he shall receive a reward. 1Cr. 3:11-14

       With that in mind, we will be different then, with different, spiritual bodies, ones that will never perish.  Jesus is coming soon to redeem us and the world.  For this we should look forward to and be ready.

There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. But the glory of the heavenly is truly different, and that of the earthly different; one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 1Cr. 15:40-44

Behold, I come quickly. Hold fast to that which you have, so that no one may take your crown. Rv. 3:11 

The crown of righteousness
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. 2 Tm. 4:7,8

 The incorruptible crown
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.  1Cr. 9:24,25

The crown of life
Blessed is the man who endures temptation, because having been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Jm. 1:12
Do not at all fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the Devil will cast some of you into prison, so that you may be tried. And you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful to death, and I will give you the crown of life.  Rv. 2:10

The crown of glory
I exhort the elders who are among you, I being also an elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. Feed the flock of God among you, taking the oversight, not by compulsion, but willingly; nor for base gain, but readily; nor as lording it over those allotted to you by God, but becoming examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a never-fading crown of glory. 1Pt. 5:1-4

The crown of rejoicing
For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy. 1Th. 2:19,20

       The only crown that matters in my opinion... 

                               The crown worn for us out of love…

The crown of Thorns
And stripping Him, they put a scarlet robe around Him. And plaiting a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! Mt. 27:28,29
...who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God. Hb. 12:2

The Crowns Jesus deserves (no picture adequate...)
And I saw Heaven opened. And behold, a white horse! And He sitting on him was called Faithful and True. And in righteousness He judges and makes war. And His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head many crowns. Rv. 19:11,12 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Should I Worry? ;) The Do Not's

       As stated yesterday, strength and courage are what we need to have in the walk of obedience to the Lord.  Without help from the Lord this might be difficult if not impossible to do as we often face challenges that go against our personality and preferred behaviours.  For instance, I prefer staying in the background, but the Lord tells me to step out and be in the forefront.  I’m not one who likes confrontation, but the Lord sometimes tells me to do so.  Boldness is not easy for me, but the Lord brings situations that require it at times.  That is why I appreciate this verse for it is a great reminder to step out in faith and trust God with the results.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Js. 1:9 ESV (afraid from MKJV)

       This is said to Joshua who is in charge of the people of Israel as they go into the Promised Land to take it over from the inhabitants.  It was a tough job and I’m pretty sure not all of the people enjoyed fighting.  Joshua had to lead these people into a difficult situation by first getting them across the Red Sea.  But the promise would only be fulfilled as they (both Joshua and the people Js. 10:25) stepped out of their comfort zones and followed God’s will.  For that, they needed strength and courage, but then they needed to abstain from two behaviours- fear and dismay.

Do not be afraid:
to tremble, dread, fear, oppress, prevail, break, be terrified, cause to tremble
Some people are risk takers and others are not, so how do we stop being afraid?  Only by relying on the Lord for ALL that we need to step out, and then do it anyway remembering:
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment. He who fears has not been perfected in love. 1Jh. 4:18
When I am afraid I will trust in You. In God I will praise His Word; in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do to me. Ps. 56:3,4
For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2Tm. 1:7
Do not fear; for I am with you; be not dismayed; for I am your God. I will make you strong; yes, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness.
For I, Jehovah your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Is. 41:10,13
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. Is. 43:1

Do not be dismayed:
to be shattered, be dismayed, be broken, be abolished, be afraid
Fear can be pervasive and it can stop us from doing what God wants and what we need to do.  That is why it is important to know our powerful and mighty God, and to remember we are His children whom He favours.
And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it. Do not fear, nor be dismayed, for Jehovah God, my God, will be with you. He will not fail you nor leave you until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of Jehovah. 1Ch. 28:20
And he said, Listen, all Judah, and you people of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat! So says Jehovah to you, Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude. For the battle is not yours, but God's. 2Ch. 20:15
King Hezekiah to the people. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of the king of Assyria, or for all the multitude with him. For there are more with us than with him. 2Ch. 32:7

       So in all the Scriptures from yesterday and today, the reason we can be strong and courageous and also not fear or be dismayed is because we do not step out on our own for there is one with us who is stronger than all others and He resides in us. (1Jh. 4:4)  He is our strength, our song, our Rock, our salvation, who holds and upholds us, and whose love is forever with us.  He supplies us with everything we need to do the work He has called us to do.  He is with us, will not leave us and battles for us. “…I will be with you. I will not fail you nor forsake you.(Js. 1:5)

And Jehovah is He who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not fail you nor forsake you. Do not fear; nor be dismayed. Dt. 31:8

Being afraid and dismayed are both burdens and wrongs, and we need to lay them aside, stepping out in faith to do the work God has called us to do.

Therefore since we also are surrounded with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight* and the sin* which so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith… Hb. 12:1,2
     *burden, encumbrance  *err, do wrong, sin