Monday, April 16, 2018

You Can Lay It Down

This week I received some news that hurt. My initial reaction was to push it away, pretend like it didn’t matter, try not to think about it. 

But as the day went on and the thoughts started creeping past my defences, the emotions started to bubble up inside me. 

Hurt. 
Anger. 
Pain. 
Frustration. 

The more I thought about it, the worse I felt -and the harder it was to let it go. 

Finally I turned to God and passionately prayed the lyrics of Oh My Soul that kept coming to mind. 

“I’m not strong enough, 
I can’t take anymore.” 

I may have said that out loud a few times too. 

But then, when I was finally silent, I heard the next few lines of the song. “You can lay it down, You can lay it down..” and “Let Him show you how you can lay this down.” ( J. M Hall & B. Hems) 

So, after much inward turmoil and battle, I did. 

I gave it all to God. 

And you know what happened? 

God did exactly what He promised. He took my pain and anger and bitterness and resentment and replaced it with His peace - the kind that passes all understanding. (Phil 4:7) 

I’m still amazed as I type this how, just a few days ago I was so upset and how now I have such incredible peace about the situation. He really does exactly what He says. He always keeps His promises. How great is our GOD!

Marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Psalm 139:14b

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

If You Seek Him, He Will Be Found Of You

Have you ever heard of King Asa? 

I must have learned about him when I was younger when we studied all the different kings in school, but I - much to my shame, had forgotten. 

Just recently, however, I stumbled upon his role in God’s story in 2 Chronicles 14 and 15. 

King Asa started out so well. The Bible says “And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God: For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves: And commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.” (2 Chronicles 14:2) 

Now if we read a little further we find out that King Asa had an army of 580,000 men. That seemed like a good sized army to me until I read on that an Ethiopian army was coming to attack him with an army of 1,300,000 men! 

What does King Asa do? 2 Chronicles 14:11 says: And Asa cried unto the Lord his God, and said, Lord, it is nothing with Thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on Thee, and in Thy name we go against this multitude. O Lord, Thou art our God; let no man prevail against Thee. 

And what is God's response? 
2 Chronicles 14:12 says: So the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled. 

Then God speaks this message to King Asa through Azariah: And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded: And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The Lord is with you, while ye be with Him; and if ye seek Him, He will be found of you; but if ye forsake Him, He will forsake you. 2 Chronicles 15:1-2 

Those verses really struck me. What a promise! And you know what? Those same words are still true today. The Lord is with you, while ye be with Him; and if ye seek Him, He will be found of you; but if ye forsake Him, He will forsake you. 2 Chronicles 15:2 

Shouldn’t this spur us into action? God promises that if we seek Him, we will find Him! He also warns us that if we forsake Him, He will forsake us. 

If you want to find out what happens to King Asa you can read his story in 2 Chronicles 14 and 15, but more importantly think about what these words mean for you. 

Do you seek God with every part of your being? 

The people of Judah did and they found Him too! 
And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and He was found of them: and the Lord gave them rest round about. 2 Chronicles 14:15 

Only in His presence is fullness of joy and pleasure forevermore! 
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11 

Nothing can compare. There is nothing fuller than full or longer than forever.

If you don’t know God it’s your own fault for He promises that if we seek Him, He will be found of us, but if we forsake Him He will forsake us - and that should fill us with terror.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Narrow Way

It was just a silly Subway coupon -  but the temptation I struggled with because of it was intense. 

It was spring break. The boys were home from school and Jason was in the Philippines. Since Dad was gone, I was even more determined to make it a special time for the boys so I planned play dates and outings, we built Legos and played at parks. We went swimming, spent a fun, rainy day at the beach and all in all had a grand time. 

As I was browsing through a coupon book one spring break morning I came across a Subway coupon. The boys and I loved Subway so I was happy to find one only to discover when reading the fine print that it wasn’t valid in Chilliwack. 

Now the coupons themselves could be ripped out and since it didn’t give any locations on the individual coupons I thought about just trying to use it anyway. “They could always say no.” I thought to myself. “Isn’t Subway, Subway? Why does it matter? It’s no big deal. Just try it, you never know, they might accept it.” 

It was so tempting. 

But then I remembered. 

I remembered my meeting with God early each morning. And even though I might be able to convince myself it wasn’t dishonest to use the coupon, God is perfect and the Bible says He desires truth in the inmost parts. 

Still I struggled. Did it really matter? No one would care. But I knew God did. And I knew that if I loved Him, and I did, I would obey Him too. No matter what. 

Although His ways seemed impossibly narrow sometimes. He loved me and wanted truth in my inmost parts. 

So I relented. I put the coupon back in the book and took the boys to Subway anyway and paid full price. Because I knew, I knew that no sin, no matter how tempting was worth feeling separation from God over. 

And I know that if I did sin and I confessed my sin to God that He was faithful and just to forgive me of my sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness, because of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice on the cross, but why would I knowingly do anything to hurt God? 

And God knows us. He knows our frame, He remembers we are dust, and He is so patient and loving He reminded me who I was. I was the daughter of the One who was richer than all the richest people in the world combined. He loved me and gave Himself for me. He always provided everything I needed. I didn’t need to live like a pauper when my Father was the King of the world! I didn’t need to let a Subway coupon tempt me when my Father owned the cattle on a thousand hills and with His Son He freely gives us all things! 

And even when we are fickle and struggle over the silliest things God loves and leads and teaches and blesses. 

What a great God. What a loving Father. 

The next week what was in my church mailbox but a coupon book? And of course, it had the correct Subway coupons in it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Come to Him

Has God ever turned anyone away? 

Read your Bible. 

I have and I couldn’t find a single instance where God turned someone away. Instead He calls us over and over again to come to Him. 

Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Isaiah 55:1 

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:7 

But even with all the invitations to come there are still people who refuse to come. Jesus says in John 5:40 And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life.

And still God is patient. 

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 

But how do I know if I can come?

Spurgeon says:

"How unprofitable is the diligence which busies itself in finding out reasons why faith in our case should not be saving! We have God’s word for it, that whosoever believeth in Jesus shall not perish, and we search for arguments why we should perish if we did believe. 

But you fear that you may not be one of those for whom the promise is intended. Do not be alarmed by that idle suspicion. No soul ever came to Jesus wrongly. No one can come at all unless the Father draw him; and Jesus has said, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” 

No soul ever lays hold on Christ in a way of robbery; he that hath Him hath Him of right divine; for the Lord’s giving of Himself for us, and to us, is so free, that every soul that takes Him has a grace-given right to do so. If you lay hold on Jesus by the hem of His garment, without leave, and behind Him, yet virtue will flow from Him to you as surely as if He had called you out by name, and bidden you trust Him. Dismiss all fear when you trust the Saviour. He that believeth in Jesus is one of God’s elect." 

Come to Him. Run to Him. Don’t wait. 

For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:3 

For how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; Hebrews 2:3a 

"Did you suggest that it would be a horrible thing if you were to trust in Jesus and yet perish? It would be so. But as you must perish if you do not trust, the risk at the worst is not very great. 

“I can but perish if I go; 
I am resolved to try; 
For if I stay away, 
I know I must for ever die."

But one moans, “What if I come to Christ, and He refuses me?” My answer is, “Try Him.” Cast yourself on the Lord Jesus, and see if He refuses you. You will be the first against whom He has shut the door of hope. Friend, don’t cross that bridge till you come to it! When Jesus casts you out, it will be time enough to despair; but that time will never come. “This man receiveth sinners”: He has not so much as begun to cast them out." (C. Spurgeon)

Monday, March 12, 2018

Nothing I Can Do.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “There’s nothing I can do.” And honestly before I became a believer the phrase resonated in my heart too. “Nothing I can do. Nothing I can do. Nothing I can do.” 

And you know what? 

It’s true. 

We can’t save ourselves. 
We are spiritually dead. 
We are helpless, hopeless and lost. 
We can never repay the debt that we owe to God. 

But have you heard the good news? I heard it again yesterday afternoon in church. The pastor said: “Just because there is nothing we can do, does not mean that nothing has been done.” (Pastor J. Schoeman) 

But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 

Jesus paid it all when we could pay nothing. 

He bore our sins. 

..He was wounded for our transgressions, Isaiah 53:5a 

He was bruised for our iniquities: Isaiah 53:5b 

And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6b 

The chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5c 

God made a way where there was no way. 

God gave hope where there was no hope. 

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15  

Because of Jesus we can now have peace with God. 

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, 1 Peter 3:18a 

For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 

It’s the best news ever! 

Because of Jesus' sacrifice we can be saved! Our debt is paid! We can once again have peace with God!

And Jesus is calling us now. To turn from our own way and believe in Him. 

 “… The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Jesus) Mark 1:15 

 “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (Jesus) John 3:14-15 

And this good news is not just for us, but for anyone who believes! 

“And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Jesus) Mark 16:15-16

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The War of the Mind

Did you know we are in a war? 

Paul writes to the Ephesians: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12 

One commentary explained it like this: “You are in a spiritual battle. If you are ignorant or ignore that fact, you probably aren’t winning the battle.” D. Guzik 

Many of the battles begin in the mind. If Satan can just get you to dwell on lies rather than the truth he can quickly cause you to stumble. He knows full well that today’s thoughts result in tomorrow’s actions. 

We are not the victim of our thoughts. We have a choice. When a thought comes our way we can chose to let it in or push it away. 

To defend ourselves against the lies of Satan we need to renew our minds with the truth of God’s Word. 

When anxious thoughts want to creep in through the door of our mind we push them out with the truth that ..God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 

When a proud thought comes knocking we need to remind ourselves that ..the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; Psalm 100:3a   

When we start to listen to the lies that we have no worth or value and are unloveable we need to combat that with the truth that God loves us so much He sent His own Son to die for us. 

But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7 

God tells us not to think like the world thinks or be swayed by the opinions of others but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. 

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2  

And it’s not just about not letting the trash in, it’s also about filling our minds with whatsoever things are true, and lovely and praiseworthy. 

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Phil 4:8 

And when the war of the mind seems overwhelming we have the promise that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. 

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Phil 4:13 

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32 

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: John 14:6a

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Quest for Happiness

I read this quote recently: 

"Beware of destination addiction: a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job, and with the next partner…" Robert Holden PHD 

How often have we fallen into that trap? Thinking that the next thing would finally make us happy. Advertisers prey on this all the time, whether it’s beauty products, clothing, tools, or vacation destinations; they all promise happiness, but do they ever deliver? 

We think happiness comes by focusing on self. We make everything about us and try to spoil ourselves into a state of happiness. No expense is spared, but happiness remains elusive.


I think one of the reasons the rich and famous are the most miserable of all is that they’ve tried it all and still haven’t found true happiness. They’ve spent thousands to make their bodies perfect, live in incredible mansions, have their choice of friends, are famous, eat the fanciest foods and drive the most exotic cars. Partners are easily replaced when
romantic love dims, and no place on earth is out of their bounds to visit, yet true happiness is never attained. 


Did you know that Solomon, the wisest man on earth also pursued happiness? He writes in Ecclesiastes 2:10a …And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy… In the next verse he writes.. behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:11b) 


So what’s the secret? 


Can we ever be truly happy? 


What if I said we are looking in all the wrong places? That happiness has nothing to do with how beautiful or wealthy or problem free we are, but everything to do with the One who made us? 


Think about it for a moment. Doesn’t it make perfect sense that the only One who can fill our hearts with the true happiness we crave is the One who made our hearts in the first place? Psalm 139:14 says I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.  


Only when we abide in His presence will we ever experience true happiness. 


How can we come into the presence of God?


There is only one way: Jesus. 


For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 1 Timothy 2:5 


Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. John 14:6 


Come to Jesus, come to Him with your sorrows and sins and disappointments. Turn away from your sins and empty, self-centered life, and turn to Him. Through Him we have access into the presence of God. The One who made us and in whose presence our hearts will find the true happiness it so longs for. 


All that the Father giveth me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out. (Jesus) (John 6:37) 


What does it mean to abide in God's presence? It’s not just about sitting at His feet an hour every morning – even though that's a good start, but it’s abiding in Him and communing with Him all day long. It’s singing songs in your heart, praising Him with your lips and speaking to Him in prayer all throughout the day. It’s enjoying close communion with Him and listening to His Holy Spirit as He guides us, teaches and comforts us. It’s asking Him for direction and trusting His provision. It’s being unafraid of trouble because you know “Whom you have believed” and He is completely trustworthy. It’s knowing He keeps every single one of His promises that He has given us in His word and trusting and obeying Him even when we don’t understand and can’t see clearly. 


And then as we abide in His presence we can say with the Psalmist:  In thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11b

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Return to Me

Ever since our fall in Adam we’ve been running - running away from God. Yet the further we run the more we come to experience that without God there is no hope, without God the only thing that awaits us is eternal death and despair. 

Instead of running away from Him, God is calling us to turn around; to return to Him and look to Him to be saved. 

Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. Isaiah 45:22 

He Himself has made a way for us to be saved by sending His only begotten Son, Jesus, to pay the price for our sins. 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17  

Jesus is the only way back to the Father. 

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. John 14:6 

And because of His perfect obedience and sacrificial death on the cross we can return to God. 

Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. Malachi 3:7b 

Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Turn ye unto Me, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. Zechariah 1:3 

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:7 

We return to God by turning away from sin and turning to God for forgiveness. 

Another word the Bible uses for this turning is to repent. 

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matthew 3:1-2 

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Mark 1:14-15 

When we turn to God we don’t come with our own righteousness or our own good works – for we have none. 

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; Isaiah 64:6 

When we come, we come as the prodigal son. 

I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto Him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before Thee, Luke 15:18 

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. Luke 15:20 

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: 1 John 3:1a

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Love of God

This morning I was walking around my kitchen feeling out of sorts. The house was messy, I felt rushed, flustered and tense, and things weren’t going according to plan – my plan that is. As a matter of fact, the whole week I had felt like I couldn't seem to catch my breath - or my footing. 

Just at that moment, God brought the song to mind 'His arms are open'. Grabbing my cell phone off of its customary spot on the microwave I searched for the song until I found it and turned it on. 

As I listened to the words of how God’s arms were open, that the chains were broken, and that we weary and ashamed could lay our burdens down, I was overwhelmed by God’s great love for me. And not only for me but for all the lost, broken and hurting people in the world. 

The Bible says:
Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 

I (God) have spread out My hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; Isaiah 65:2 

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:7 

For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? Ezekiel 18:23

And he arose, and came to his Father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. Luke 15:20

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: 1 John 3:1a 

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelations 21:4 

Return to Him. Come to Him. Run to Him. His arms are open.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Only Way

The only way into the presence of God is through the mediator Christ Jesus. 

For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 1 Timothy 2:5 

The gospel is good news. It is good tidings of great joy! 

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11 

And it’s not just good news for us, it’s good news for our children, and for people all around the world. 

For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. Acts 2:39 

And He (Jesus) said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:15-16 

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Isaiah 52:7 

He (Jesus) came unto His own, and His own received him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: John 1:11-12 

 “The command is, “Believe and live;” attend to that, whatever else you do.”” (C. Spurgeon.) 

Behold, I (Jesus) stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. Revelations 3:20 

While it is said, To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. Hebrews 3:15 

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him; Hebrews 2:3

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Forgiveness

Forgiveness has been on my mind this past week. 

It’s easy to mentally agree with a concept but then another thing entirely to actually put it into practice - trust me. 

But this past week God has given me an opportunity to practice forgiveness. 

Now, before you start mentally analyzing my personal life, wondering who in the world I need to forgive, I will stop you right there. This was actually a business transaction that involved only non-Christians. (The situation is not yet completely resolved but I feel like God is teaching me perseverance as well so I will continue on trusting in Him and obeying what He teaches me in His Word.) 

As I was mulling over the situation I found myself in, I quickly realized that although the circumstances were completely out of my control, my response to it wasn’t - and that’s what mattered. And if in our responses we strive to reflect our Savior - that makes all the difference. Then a bad thing can even turn into a good thing. 

What does the Bible teach us about forgiveness? 

Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. 

Matthew 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 

We don’t forgive other people who sin against us because on our own we are such good, wonderful, gracious, forgiving people - because we're not. We don’t forgive because the people who sin against us are so repentant or so deserving of our forgiveness. 

We forgive because HE first forgave us. 

We forgive because in Christ, God has forgiven us for every bad thought, word and action that we have ever done in our entire lives. 

Think about that for a minute. 

To have every bad thing you have ever done or ever will do completely forgiven. 

Isn’t that just incredible! 

Psalm 103:12 says: As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us

You know that if our sins were written on a list, that list would be miles long. And much to our shame we don’t even remember a tiny fraction of them. Psalm 130:3 says: If Thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? and in 1 John 1:10 it says: If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 

Whatever people have done to us cannot compare to our lifetime of sin against God. 

Yet, because of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice on the cross on our behalf He forgave us and so we are called to forgive. 

And then as we share His forgiving love with others something beautiful happens. 

We reflect Him. 

And direct other to Him. 

And that is a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A New Heaven & A New Earth

There are some days I just need to read and reread and remind myself of these truths:

Revelations 21:1-5
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. 
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 
And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 

This past week we spent some time on top of a beautiful mountain with amazing views, and yet, none of what we see here can compare to what God has prepared for those who love Him.






But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. 1 Corinthians 2:9

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelations 21:1-2

“From the smoke and pain and heat it is a relief to pass into the clear, clean atmosphere of the eternal morning where the breath of heaven is sweet and the vast city of God sparkles like a diamond in the radiance of His presence.” (Moffatt)

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. Revelations 21:3

This is the greatest glory of heaven, and the ultimate restoration of what was lost in the Fall. “I do not think the glory of Eden lay in its grassy walks, or in the boughs bending with luscious fruit-but its glory lay in this, that the ‘Lord God walked in the garden in the cool of the day.’ Here was Adam’s highest privilege, that he had companionship with the Most High.” (Spurgeon)

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  Revelations 21:4

Man comes into the world with a cry; and goes out of it with a groan, and all between is more or less intoned with helpless wailing... But the Halleluias of the renewed world will drown out the voice of woe forever.” (Seiss)

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Col 3:2

And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. Revelations 21:5

Monday, January 22, 2018

Love

I feel like I should read this every morning.. 

 J.C. Ryle 
“Practice love diligently. It is one of those graces, above all, which grow by constant exercise. Strive more and more to carry it into every little detail of daily life. 

Watch over your own tongue and temper throughout every hour of the day, and especially in your dealings with children and near relatives. 

Remember the character of the excellent woman: “She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31:26) 

Remember the words of Paul: “Do everything in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14) 

Love should be seen in little things as well as in great ones. 

Remember, not least, the words of Peter: “Love each other deeply”; not a love which just barely is a flame, but a burning, shining fire, which everyone around can see. (1 Peter 4:8) 

It may cost pains and trouble to keep these things in mind. There may be little encouragement from the example of others. But persevere. Love like this brings its own reward.” 

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 1 John 4:7-8

Thursday, January 18, 2018

It's All About Jesus

This morning I read this quote while scrolling through my social media newsfeed:

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Jim Rohn 

Although I wasn’t sure I agreed with the statement, it did get me thinking about who did I spend time with? I also decided to do a little research and see what the Bible had to say about this. 

Some of the Bible verses I found were these: 

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. Proverbs 13:20 

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 1 Corinthians 15:33 

Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding. Proverbs 9:6 

Then I thought about who were the five people that I spent the most time with. I immediately thought of those who I lived with. My husband and three sons. 

Have they affected who I am? 

 Yes. 

Because of my husband, I have become a more logical, levelheaded thinker. I want to say smarter too, just because I do believe and like the fact that he is very intelligent and I hope that some of that intelligence rubbed off on me! Also, I know for a fact, that in the eleven years we’ve been married I’ve become a much better communicator. I remember when we were first married and had a disagreement about something I would just shut down. I would walk away from the problem, try to bury my thoughts and emotions and refuse to talk about them. (Now if that’s you too, just know that, that kind of behavior gets you absolutely nowhere.) But overtime, I learned from Jason to articulate my feelings and frustrations and discuss them calmly, which was much more likely to lead to a quick resolution.

Jayden our oldest son is a deep thinker with a tender heart. I know that his sweet deepness has made a big difference in my life. 

We sometimes call Justin, our middle son, “Opa.” He’s the super responsible, little old man in a five year olds' body, making sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. I see a lot of myself in him. 

Alexander is a tiny, cheerful boy with a zest for life that far surpasses his diminutive stature. Every morning I smile in anticipation as I crack open his bedroom door because I know I will be greeted by a belly laugh or an exuberant shout of joy. He makes my day brighter. 

But then I thought about Who really had the greatest influence on my life and I realized it wasn’t my husband or my kids or my friends. 

It was JESUS. 

The Lamb of God (John 1:29), the Saviour of the World (John 4:42), the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), our Counselor (Isaiah 9:6), our High Priest (Hebrews 4:15), our Friend (John 15:15) 

The One whose feet I sit at every morning, (Luke 10:39) whose Spirit abides in me (1 Corinthians 3:16) who is always with me (Matthew 28:20) and who never leaves or forsakes me (Deut 31:6). 

The One who transforms me by the renewing of my mind. (Romans 12:2) And the One into whose image we are being changed into. (2 Corinthians 3:18) 

 The One who gives me the water of life that becomes a well of water in me springing up into everlasting life. (John 14:4) 

The One who lights my candle and enlightens my darkness. (Psalm 18:28) And then, in turn, HE makes me the light that not only gives light to all who are in the house but also gives light to the world. (Matthew 5:14-15) 

Jesus. 

Is that who you are spending your time with? 

 It matters. 

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16

Monday, January 8, 2018

A Resolution Worth Keeping:

Ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil I have loved writing. From age five onwards I filled papers and notebooks with thoughts and ideas and stories and poems and even recipes. I also kept diaries and journals and for many years wrote New Year’s resolutions. These included drinking more water, eating less chocolate, not fighting so much with my sister and being kinder; but inevitably, a week into the New Year I would have broken them all. 

As I was thinking about New Year’s resolutions these past few weeks, there was one that I decided was really worthwhile keeping and I had been doing it for ten years now. 

Time with God. 

Sitting at His feet. 

Praying to Him and then listening as He spoke to Me through His Word and by His Spirit. 

Our wedding texts was Matthew 6:33 
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you

If you only make one resolution this year, chose that one. 

When I started ten years ago during our first months in Haiti, I simply found an old tattered notebook and began to write down Bible verses that I had memorized as a child and as a teenager. Then I would read them over and over again until they were very clear again in my mind and in my heart. 

Psalm 119:11 says: Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee

Over time more and more verses or snippets of verses came to mind and I would type them into Google and find the references and copy them down correctly. Over time I started reading books of the Bible and writing down any verses that stood out to me. So I filled journal after journal. 

When I shared them with a friend in Haiti she encouraged me by saying: “If the God of the universe is speaking to you, should you not take notes?” 

Did you know that reading the word of God is more important/worthwhile than eating food? Job says in Job 23:12b: “I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” And Jesus said: “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4b 

And did you know this about the Word of God? 
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. Isaiah 40:8 

I think it's definitely worth spending our time reading the eternal Word of God.

Solomon writes in Proverbs 2:1-6 
My son, (My daughter) if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. 

And I’m not writing this so that you feel guilty that you don’t spend time at the feet of Jesus, but rather to encourage you - for in His presence is fullness of joy at His right hand there are pleasures forevermore! 

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11 

Ernest Boyer, Jr says: “God is not a belief to which you give your assent. God becomes a reality whom you know intimately, meet everyday, one whose strength becomes your strength, whose love, your love. Live this life of the presence of God long enough and when someone asks you, “Do you believe there is a God?” you may find yourself answering, “No, I do not believe there is a God. I know there is a God.”

For I know Whom I have believed, (2 Timothy 1:12b) 

Mary also knew the value of sitting at the feet of Jesus: 
And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard His word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost Thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:39-42 

Just to know Him and to make Him known – It is enough. 

But they, when they were departed, spread abroad His fame in all that country. Matthew 9:31

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Secure in His Promises and Love

I woke up sick yesterday morning. There’s nothing like feeling fragile and vulnerable when you have three little people dependent on you and your better half is somewhere far away. Thankfully the two older ones were able to go to school so I just had their younger brother to take care of, and he didn’t get sick till later that night when I was starting to feel a little better. 

That night as I was laying in bed scrolling through my facebook newsfeed I came across an article from John Piper that said: “If you wake up feeling fragile, read the Bible until you find a promise strong enough to carry you through the day. God is always faithful and He will come through for you again.” 

Now, if you’re going to have a social media account at all, at least follow whatsoever things are good, true, lovely and of a good report and un-follow the rest. (Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Phil 4:8) 

As I lay there alone in the dark, I thought about some of the promises I had memorized in the past and suddenly the Holy Spirit flooded my mind and heart with God’s Word. (But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26) 

The first verse He reminded me of was Psalm 138:8a: 
The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: 

What a beautiful promise. 

Next was Psalm 18:30a 
As for God, His way is perfect: 

What a comfort! Even when we don’t understand what’s happening, to know that God’s way is perfect brings incredible peace! 

Then Psalm 36:5-6 
Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and Thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; Thy judgments are a great deep: O Lord, Thou preservest man and beast. 

God is so great that all we can comprehend of Him is but a small whisper. What comfort and joy and awe we can find in the greatness of God. 

I then spent some time just thinking about God. Isn’t it great that our God never gets sick or hungry or tired? 

Psalm 121:3 says: 
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: He that keepeth thee will not slumber. 

Psalm 121:5 says: 
The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand

and Psalm 121:7 says: 
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: He shall preserve thy soul. 

Then He reminded me of 2 Cor 12:9a: And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. 

And Psalm 29:11: The Lord will give strength unto His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace

And so I fell asleep. Secure in His promises and love. 

The next morning when I was feeling quite a bit better I thought about what Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; 

Don’t wait for the storms to come before realizing your house is built on sand, don’t wait for the bridegroom to arrive before realizing you don’t have oil in your lamp! 

Matthew 7:24-27 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. 

 Matthew 25:1-13 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh

Psalm 95:7b-8 Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.