and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Difficult Times

       For the past year a Bible study friend of mine has been going through very rough times.  She lost her Mom last year near the holidays, most of the in between stuff is not mine to say, she has been fighting health problems since this March, there are a couple new stressors on her life since then, and her Dad just passed away this latest holiday.  Why does her life seem like such never-ending difficulties?  Did she do something wrong?

       It’s weird how we often think first about what we did wrong to make bad things happen in our life.  Certainly our own poor choices may bring bad repercussions that last decades, but I don’t think God is ‘the giver’ of anything that isn’t good.  Having said that, He certainly allows us to go through terrible times when He finds in important in His plans- usually for our growth… 

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights… Jm. 1:17

        Will God use all the good and the ‘bad’ things that happen in this life to His advantage such as helping us grow?  My life is proof that growth often comes from troubled times.  And I see this dear friend standing stronger in the Lord this year after all she’s been through.  So does God allow these things to test and try us?  Let’s see what the Bible says about difficult times, starting with Jesus’ promise of troubles:

I have spoken these things to you so that you might have peace in Me. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. Jh. 16:33

My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into different kinds of temptations*, knowing that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing. Jm. 1:3,4  (*trial, proving, or temptation)
in which you greatly rejoice, yet a little while, if need be, grieving in manifold temptations*; so that the trial of your faith (being much more precious than that of gold that perishes, but being proven through fire) might be found to praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 1Pt. 1:6,7
And not only this, but we glory in afflictions also, knowing that afflictions work out patience, and patience works out experience, and experience works out hope. Rm. 5:3,4
Beloved, do not be astonished at the fiery trial which is to try you, as though a strange thing happened to you, but rejoice according as you are partakers of Christ's suffering, so that when His glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1Pt. 4:12,13

Lord, help us to press in to You whenever hard times hit us, so that we may find strength in Your arms, peace and joy in Your presence, and hope in Your love.  And my we continue to go from glory to glory, maturing in all the trials of life, until we reflect Your image.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Surprising Question

       Sitting at the Thanksgiving table with my son’s brother, I was finally able to catch up with what he was doing in his life and his new journey into post secondary education.  It was a few minutes later I heard my son’s voice beside me saying something like, “Mom, I have a question and I want an honest answer without a lot of religious talk.”  Well, that peaked my interest because it seems like neither of the boys are interested in the ‘God stuff’.  His question was similar to one the disciples asked Jesus long ago as they left the Temple one day.

And what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world?  Mt. 24:3

       My son asked if I thought the end of the world would be in our lifetime.  Well, the answer most people give, even among some Christians, is that people have been saying the end is soon for a very long time and it hasn’t come yet.  My personal belief is that it will surely come in our lifetime (my generation or theirs).  I also admit I could be wrong...  Would I predict a date?  Never.  It’s not my place nor has God told me a specific date.  But the Lord does speak about birthpangs.

Fake Christs, wars, rumours of wars, nations & kingdoms against each other, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes;
All these are the beginning of sorrows. Mt. 24:8 (also Mr. 13:8)
For when they shall say, Peace and safety! Then sudden destruction comes on them, as travail upon a woman with child. And they shall not escape. 1Th. 5:3

       So Jesus speaks of these things that we say ‘have been happening for a long time’, but says they are the beginning of sorrows or birth pangs.  Now, I haven’t experienced that myself, but I have been told (and seen on tv) that when the baby is ready to be born, travail or labour begins.  In the early stages, contractions are longer apart and lighter (10-20min apart, lasting 30-60s).  Then in the active stage the contractions become regular and form a pattern of increasing frequency that is progressively stronger (3-5min apart, lasting 60-90s).

       At the transition stage “pushing”, the hardest and most intense contractions happen.  They are much closer, (1-3min apart, lasting 90-120s).  Friends say it feels like the contractions are one on top of another.  Fortunately, this stage lasts the shortest time or probably women would give up bearing children altogether!

       So if we go by that logic, then we should be looking at the timing, frequency, duration and strength of the fakes, wars, rumours, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes…  I cannot quote you what I have read, but it all points to faster timing and frequency, longer duration and stronger and bigger ‘issues’.  Think about beheadings, natural disasters, diseases (ebola), wars, wickedness increasing…  Eventually it’s going to get so bad that if the Lord didn’t shorten it, no one would survive (Mt. 24:22).

       My point in all this is the Lord Himself says we don’t have to be troubled/ frightened about the end, “…See that you are not troubled…” (Mt. 24:6)  Remember, Jesus has overcome the world (Jh. 16:33), death and the grave (1Cr. 15:55-57)

Therefore watch; for you do not know what hour your Lord comes. Mt. 24:42
Watch therefore, praying in every season that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things which shall occur, and to stand before the Son of Man. Lk. 21:36
Therefore let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us watch and be calm. 1Th. 5:6
Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is the one who watches and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame. Rv. 16:15 (words of Jesus in red)

What we have to do is three fold: 
Don’t be worried… Be ready
-be born again, pray, continue to repent & ask forgiveness daily
Don’t sleep
-(lie down to rest/ sleep/ be indifferent)
-keeping garments speak of covering nakedness/ shame/ sin- done with the robe of righteousness given to us by Jesus because of His redemption.  (Is. 61:10; Rv. 7:9; 19:7,8; 22:14; Zc. 3:1-5)

Monday, October 13, 2014

We’re Sure We’re Right

       There are very few things in the world to which I would verbally fight for, but when I “know” I am right, that is one of them.  I’m not so sure why my hackles go up when it happens, but I suspect it has to do with feeling their disagreement is like they are calling me a liar.  Still­, I’ve noticed we, as Christians, are often so sure of our own stance on issues being Biblically right that we argue tooth and nail, often even illogically so.  Some people even go so far as to quote what other teachers and authors say, as if it comes close to God speaking?

       The truth is, only God (Father, Son and Spirit) is 100% accurate as to Biblical truth- the rest of us make mistakes; so no one Christian denomination has it all right, and no single individual has it all right.  The important thing is that the basic doctrines concerning God’s nature and salvation (the essentials) are accurate.  Everything else is secondary, imo. 

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures; 1Cr. 15:3,4  …our Lord Jesus Christ. (v.57)

  1. Jesus Christ died for our sins.
  2. as it was written in the Scriptures
  3. He was buried
  4. He rose again the third day
       For now, I won’t write about the typical debates such as if dancing, drinking alcohol, or watching movies can be godly, eating pork, acceptable clothing, women in ministry etc, but will focus on Christian never-ending debate topics:  pre-trib. or post- trib. rapture if any rapture, church organization, elect- predestination or not, the fourth kingdom in Daniel 2, spiritual gifts, if works are important or not, sprinkle splash or dunk baptisms, mansions or rooms in heaven, where the anti-christ will come from, etc.  I think often our rules in any debate are:

  1. I'm always right.
  2. If you think I am wrong, refer to rule #1.

Again, Jesus never lies, but we are human and thus prone to mistakes.

(about Jesus) He who did no sin, nor was guile found in His mouth, 1Pt. 2:22
for all have sinned* and come short of the glory of God, Rm. 3:23  (*hamartao-miss the mark, err, do wrong, wander from God)

       When we are good naturedly debating the non-essentials, then we should stop if feelings are being improperly stirred up.  And just to clarify, I think it is very poor behaviour to debate non-essentials in front of non-Christians.  It makes them think we can’t get along or aren’t loving.

Let not any filthy word go out of your mouth, but if any is good to building up in respect of need, that it may give grace to the ones hearing. Ep. 4:29
Let your speech be always with grace, having been seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. Cl. 4:6
contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. Jude 1:3 (-contend for the faith originally delivered)
       Our ultimate goal in any communication shouldn’t be to be right, but rather to further the kingdom of God on the earth through the love and acceptance that Jesus showed.  Jesus didn’t spend a whole lot of time debating non-essentials, only spoke of that which was important.  We should approach every non-essential issue with a mind to learning more.  Sometimes I wonder if we should even bother debating anything (non-essential)…

But avoid foolish questions and genealogies and contentions, and strivings about the Law, for they are unprofitable and vain. Tt. 3:9

Sunday, October 12, 2014



     We have so very much to be thankful for in this great country of Canada, and even more so as a follower of Jesus Christ.  I think we have so much, we forget to be thankful for the small things, and sometimes the things that seem negative really cause other things we should be thankful for to rise up.

     Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise; be thankful to Him,
     and bless His name. Ps. 100:4
     In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1Th.
     always giving thanks for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
     Ep. 5:20
     Thanks be to God for His unspeakable free gift. 2Cr. 9:15
     And everything, whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
     giving thanks to God and the Father by Him. Cl. 3:17

Lord, on this day of thankfulness, I'd like to thank you for a few of the many things You have done in my life.

Thank You for healing my lungs and that very first deep breath I remember taking last year.
Thank You for bringing my niece-in-law to You and restoring her marriage.
Thank You for bringing my son's brother into our lives and the two new friends You've given me.
Than You for my hubby which still puts up with me after 26 years...
Thank You for the neighbour who listens to me often, cares enough to ask important questions and shares her life with me.
Thank You for giving my strength and courage to move ahead in Your plans to me despite my own feelings.
Thank You for common sense and understanding.
Thank You that my ears hear music, my voice can sing songs, my eyes see the sun set and smiles on the faces of my children.
Thank You for two feet that keep moving every day.
Thank You for life, and breath, and a beating heart, and even pain which lets me know that something is wrong in my body.
Thank You that every time something 'goes wrong' in my life, You find a way to make another thing 'go right'.

And now, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name.
1Ch. 29:13