Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My Times are in Your Hand

A New Year's Resolution by Matthew Henry  -  "My times are in Your hand!"                                                                                           Psalm 31:15

Firmly believing that my times are in God's hand, I here submit myself and all my affairs for the ensuing year, to the wise and gracious disposal of God's divine providence. Whether God appoints for me . . . .
                 health or sickness,
                                 peace or trouble,
                                                 comforts or crosses,
                                                                 life or death-- may His holy will be done!

All my time, strength, and service, I devote to the honor of the Lord Jesus--and even my common actions. It is my earnest expectation, hope, and desire, my constant aim and endeavor--that Jesus Christ may be magnified in me.

In everything I have to do--my entire dependence is upon Jesus Christ for strength. And whatever I do in word or deed, I desire to do all in His name, to make Him my Alpha and Omega. I have all from Him--and I would use all for Him.

If this should prove a year of affliction, a sorrowful year to me--I will fetch all my supports and comforts from the Lord Jesus and stay myself upon Him, His everlasting consolations, and the good hope I have in Him through grace.

And if it should be my dying year--then my times are in the hand of the Lord Jesus. And with a humble reliance upon His mediation, I would venture into the eternal world looking for the blessed hope. Dying as well as living--Jesus Christ will, I trust, be gain and advantage to me.

Oh, that the grace of God may be sufficient for me, to keep me always a humble sense of my own unworthiness, weakness, folly, and infirmity--together with a humble dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ for both righteousness and strength.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Like a Thief in the Night - A prayer from 1 Thessalonians 5

Oh, Lord, Your day is coming, unexpectedly and without warning, like a thief breaking into a home in the middle of the night.  People who do not know You (but think they know everything) do not realize that their self-made "security" - money, power, influence - will crumble instantly on that great and terrible day, and there will be no escape.

I can only thank You for Your mercy in bringing me out of the darkness, into Your light, even as I pray for loved ones.  Have mercy on them, O Lord, and open their eyes to see You, too.  Help our family to live as children of light, under the control of the truth.  May we view the circumstances of life with wisdom and circumspection, knowing that You are in control of all things, an d that we must live lives of faith and love.  Faith in You, at all times, no matter what.  Love for You, and for others, as your great commandment says.

Because of what You have done, dear Heavenly Father, we have an unshakeable hope.  You have not destined us for wrath - we are destined for salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us.  We live with Him, no matter what - even if we die physically, we live eternally. WHAT A GREAT HOPE!  Help us, Lord, to encourage one another with this hope, and to build one another up in this truth.

Lord, thank you for our pastor and elders.  May we as a family and a church continue to esteem them highly in love because of their work, for they are Your servants.  May peace reign among us.

Lord, give wisdom to our leaders, so they can discern the difference between the idle, the fainthearted, and the weak.  Help them to be patient with all, and give our leaders the wisdom and courage and grace they need to 

  • admonish the idle (those out of line) to get back in line
  • encourage the faint-hearted (those who fear and doubt) to be bold in faith
  • help the weak (those without spiritual or moral strength)
And, Lord, I pray the same for Rick, as the leader of our home.  Give him wisdom and courage and grace.

Help us never to repay evil for evil, for You have declared "Vengeance is mine, I will repay."  Help us to do good to one another always, and give us wisdom to know what that good would look like.

May we always rejoice.  May we pray without ceasing.  May we give thanks in all circumstances, knowing that no matter what happens, it is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us.  May we walk through the valleys and climb the mountaintops with FAITH and TRUST in Your plan, and in Your power to care for Your own.

Lord, help us not to quench the Spirit by sinning, for this would grieve Him.  We are so blessed, so very blessed, to be indwelt by the Spirit of the living God, so help us to submit to His control, walking with Him moment by moment, abiding in Jesus as a branch connected to the Vine.

Lord, help us never to despise prophecies.  Let us be thankful for the preaching of Your Word, and give us the wisdom to test everything we hear by Your Word, holding fast to what is good and discarding what is evil.  

Help us to abstain from every form of evil.

Heavenly Father, my God of peace, please sanctify us completely, separating us from sin unto holiness.  When Jesus Christ comes so suddenly and without warning, may our whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless through His work of redemption on our behalf.  

You are faithful.  You called us out of darkness into Your light, and You who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it.  

Thank You, Lord.  You will surely do all Your will.  You alone have the power to redeem sinners, and to conform them to the image of Your Son.

I stand in awe of You.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Prayer from 1 Thessalonians 3

I love to turn the Word of God into a prayer.  Here's today's musings:

Heavenly Father,

I am challenged by the strong love that Paul feels towards his spiritual children.  He can hardly bear the separation.  He thinks of them constantly, always remembering them in his prayers.

I am not that loving.  I am not that caring.  Even though I love my children, and my spiritual children, it is easy for me to build walls of self-protection when there's been little contact.  I put up my bricks and mortar to protect myself rather than reaching out selflessly to see how they're doing.  

Forgive me, Lord.  Help me to die to self, to bear the pain of separation without ascribing any motives.  Help me to suffer gladly on behalf of my loved ones.  Teach me to pour myself into the lives of those You have assigned to me - children and grandchildren, friends and family - even online friends that I've never met in real life.  Help me to remember that each one is made in Your image, that each encounter is an opportunity to love and serve in the name of Jesus.  May my desire be to establish others in their faith, and to exhort them to press on in Christ.

The tempter is real.  He hates You.  He hates your Son.  Consequently, he hates those who have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus.  He wants to trip us up, to cause us to fall into the pit of depression and despair.  We must not be ignorant of his schemes.  We must resist and stand firm, knowing that even though our human eyes see destruction, You are in control, and will bring beauty from ashes.

When I see evidence of faith and love in my children, it gives me great comfort in spite of the affliction and distress of my life.  I LIVE when I see them stand firm in the Lord.  I rejoice when I hear them speak of their love for You, my God, and Your ways.  This brings joy.  

I pray that we, as parents, as friends, will have opportunity to supply what is lacking in their faith.  As iron sharpens iron, may we influence others for Christ, just as they do the same for us.  

Lord, direct us.  Help us to serve wholeheartedly.  May our children increase and about in love for one another and for all.  May they have a heart to serve, to glorify Your name, to reach out to others.  Establish our hearts blameless in holiness before You, oh God my Father, so that we can rejoice at the coming of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Whole Church, whole gospel, whole world

The Church. The called-out ones.

Church is Music to my Ears

One of my most delightful memories is being admitted into the Junior Choir as a 5 year old, simply because I could read.  Our choir director would hand out lemon wedges for us to suck on, "to clear the voice".  Church meant music, singing, gowns, pomp and circumstance.  To this day, the sound of a good choir brings tears to my eyes.  I enjoy visiting our local United Church - the red carpet, beautiful pews, carved wooden railings, large balconies - all of these things stir my memories of a happy childhood.

Church is Childhood Memories

Another church of my childhood, St. James Anglican Church of Lac Beauport, Quebec, was built in 1890.  It was a place that was home to me when I was a child.  It was a place of weddings, of family gatherings, of holiness and the Book of Common Prayer.  It smelled of old wood and furnishings.  Hymn books were donated by my grandparents in memory of my uncle, Ray Matthews, who served and died as a pilot in the RCAF.

Church is a Place of Salvation

As a young wife and mother, I had plenty of questions about God and Eternity and cults and truth.  A friend took me to Erindale Bible Chapel to hear Helen Gillard speak about Christmas.  I peppered her with questions and she led me to the Lord.  That is the one and only time I ever visited Erindale Bible Chapel.  It is a special place for me, for it is where my journey as an exulting Christian began.

Church is Baptism and Discipleship

Emmanuel Baptist Church in Milton, Ontario, was the church where I first saw Christians take their Bibles to church.  They opened them and followed along as the Pastor preached his sermon.  They looked into Scripture during Sunday School class!  It was at Emmanuel that we were challenged and strengthened in our faith.  It was there that we were baptized as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Church is Rules and Regulations

The next church we attended was Velvet Hills Baptist Church in the Waterloo area.  It was at that church that we learned about division, discord among the brethren, toxic leadership, and authoritarian control.  Our daughter was enrolled in the Christian School at the church, and our lives revolved around meetings and activities related to the church.  There was no time for visiting family outside the church, and if we did so, we needed permission.  There was a "standard sheet" to sign, and many rules to follow.  We were in church on Sunday morning for Sunday School, then worship service; Sunday afternoon for choir practice; Sunday evening for another sermon; Tuesday for Prayer Meeting, Thursday for Soul winning, and Saturday morning for bus ministry.  We were slaves, and we loved it!  When the church split, we were devastated, thinking that there was no other valid church in the area.  They were the cream of the crop!  I look back and see that the Lord set us free.  It's not surprising to me that there no longer is a Velvet Hills Baptist Church.

Church is Compassion

Woodside Bible Fellowship in Elmira took us in when we were broken, bleeding, and wounded.  They showed compassion in so many ways, welcoming us to Bible Studies and surprising us with gifts of food and Christmas presents.  We were accepted and loved, even when we were unlovely.  We look back with thankfulness for a time of healing and rest.

Church is Community

We then attended two churches in the community in which we lived and raised our family.  We developed friendships and delighted in serving others with the gifts God has given us.  I'll have more to say about this in another post.

The point is, all of those churches were not the buildings - they were the people God sent into our lives to love us, to point us to Christ, to walk with us on the way, to challenge us and to bless us.  

It's wonderful to know that we are a part of the Body of Christ, that we are joined to other believers in the great communion of saints.  We are called to love God, and love our neighbour.  This starts with the church.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sermon and Sovereignty

The Sermon on the Mount is one of the most familiar passages in the Bible.  It starts with the Beatitudes - "Blessed are the poor in spirit", etc.  Notice that the blessed ones aren't the rich and powerful, the celebrity or the world leader.  The ones who are blessed are the mourners, the meek, the ones who long after righteousness.  These humble people are pure in heart, and they delight in making peace.  Even when they are persecuted and reviled, they remember to look heavenward, for they know there is a sure reward awaiting.

It struck me this morning that the fifth chapter of Matthew is not a bunch of disconnected admonishments.  Rather, it is all about the Sovereignty of God.  He is the One who chooses His people and ordains their circumstances.  He wants them to walk humbly before Him, letting their light shine to a cursed and shining world, and making a difference.  He wants them to be the salt of the earth.  Salt is used to enhance the taste of food.  Christians are supposed to enhance the lives of others!

Christ came to fulfill the law, and in this passage He makes it clear that the Pharisees' re-interpretation has been wrong.   I imagine Jesus gazing at the Pharisees while He reminds them that they are not quite as holy as they think they are.

God Sees Our Anger

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.  (Matthew 5:21-26 ESV)
The Pharisees were proud that they'd kept the law, but Jesus pointed out their error.  Even anger deserved judgment, and insults deserved the fire of hell.  Jesus was teaching them that it was the internal sins that matter.  The Sovereign God sees the heart, the broken relationships, the pride. He blesses the humble, the meek, the peacemaker, not the arrogant, angry and proud.

God Sees Our Lust

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. (Matthew 5:27-30 ESV)

 Jesus wants us to know how serious it is to look with lustful intent.  It's another mark of pride to think that you can lust, and nobody knows.  God sees.  He knows.  The Sovereign God provides everything we need for life and godliness.  He is able to provide a spouse for you.  Humbly wait for His timing.

God Sees Our Relationships

“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

God wants us to remain faithful in our marriages.  The Sovereign God has given you a spouse, and you ought to be faithful.  Yet the Sovereign God also sees when there is abuse and immorality, and He compassionately provides an escape for some.

God Sees our Hearts

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.
Do not ever be flippant about the things you say, for God is Omniscient and hears it all.  All of our speech should be made as if we were under oath to tell the truth.  The earth is God's footstool and heaven is His throne.  He is Sovereign over all.  Humble yourself before Him.  Watch your mouth!

God Sees our Desire for Vengeance 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
The Old Testament was limiting retaliation for a wrong to what was just and fair, but it was never meant to sanction acts of personal retaliation.  Jesus is asking the hearers to surrender all personal rights.

  • Do you believe God is Sovereign?
  • Is He able to judge fairly?
  • Does He provide, as He promised?
  • Can He use our losses to further His Kingdom?
Our Sovereign God is a Righteous Judge, with all the resources of the universe, and all the wisdom.  As we humble ourselves and surrender our rights, He can use our circumstances to accomplish His great will.

God wants us to Love our Enemies
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:31-48 ESV)

God is Sovereign over all, and He is kind and good to all, sending rain on the just and the unjust.  I love how Jesus uses the tax collector as an example - I imagine Matthew was sitting there with a wry smile on his face.  Even the hated tax collectors, like Matthew, love their friends.  Jesus wants us to love our enemies, and to be perfect, just like Him.

God is Sovereign.  Look at all the ways we see God's Sovereignty in this passage.

God chooses the elect and ordains their steps.  He knows which ones will be peacemakers, and which will be reviled.  Great will be their reward in Heaven, and God is the One who will give it.

God works in all of our relationships, in marriages and divorces, in strained relationships and legal battles.  He is Sovereign over all relationships, over our friends and our enemies, our workmates and our relatives. 

God is Sovereign over all that happens in our lives - the things that might puff us up, and the things that might trip us.  We must walk humbly before Him all the days of our life.

God is the Sovereign Judge of all the earth.  There is no need to take vengeance on our enemies, for God will set all things right in the end.

Take comfort in His Sovereignty!

Heavenly Father, Your Sovereignty over all is such a comfort to me.  I know that all things work together for good to those who love You, who are called according to Your purpose.  Even tragedies such as death or a battle with debilitating disease, even trials that break our bones or our hearts or our banks… all things are under Your control. 

Nothing is ever a surprise to You.  Your love never fails.  Help us, Lord, to walk humbly before you always.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Out of Sync

My life has been upside-down this year.

I've been weeding and organizing -weeding out the many superfluous books that I have, and organizing what is left.  Until that task is completed, I'm afraid I will be neglecting my blog.  (Sorry.)

I've also begun a new medication that is designed to help me with the constant pain I endure.  I take it at 9 pm, and it enables me to sleep better than I have in quite some time.  However, now that I am sleeping better, I am not up before the chickens or the Critter.  That has thrown off my groove.

My normal routine has been to go to bed, toss and turn, wake up frequently, and give up sleeping around six o'clock in the morning.  I get up, make coffee, and go to my "Bible Study Desk".  I call that one my "Bible Study Desk" because it is then distinguished from my "Computer Desk" and my "Craft Desk".

Anyway, if I start at my BSD, sipping coffee and reading God's Word, I take notes and usually have something to share with the world.  Hence this blog.

But since I started the new medication, I've been sleeping in.  I get up around 7 or even as late as 8, and Christopher is already up and at it.  This means that he is trying to play a game before his mother gets after him to feed the horses and chickens and dogs and cats, and bring in the wood, and take out the ashes and the compost.  Because he is in the Great Room where my Computer Desk is located, I mosey on out to check on him and to bark orders his way, then  I sit down to quickly check my email.

I don't visit my BSD.

I haven't been reading my Bible much.

As a result, I haven't been blogging.

(Did anyone miss me?)

I do have a plan.  I want to work very  hard at re-organizing the library.  I have given away 30 boxes of books, and will have more to give away at the end of this week.  I have to move a few books and dismantle a shelf in order to open up the cluttered area and make it into an inviting space.  I'll need lots of help from children to do so.

Once the library is clean, I have to start my seedlings.  I'll put them on a shelf in front of the south-facing window, which is perfect for that.

After that is done, I plan on getting back in sync.  I'll set my alarm if I have to, so I can get up before Critter and get back to reading and journalling and writing.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you'll know that I deal with daily pain.  Moving books and organizing makes the pain worse, but it will be OH SO WORTH IT to have a delightful space for our family library.  I'm keeping all of our favourite books.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Short Term Memory

How soon we forget.

I am one of those people who has a photographic memory, or at least I used to, back in the day.  In the middle of an exam, I could close my eyes and visualize my notebook, or the exact paragraph of the textbook where the answer to the question lay.  Even today, over 40 years since I graduated from high school, I can remember notes to self or phone numbers I've written them down once or twice.

So why is my memory so bad when it comes to relationships?  Why is it so easy to forget the promise I made nearly 40 years ago, to love my husband until death do us part? I do love him - don't get me wrong.  But it's very easy for me to be discontented or frustrated in our marriage, simply because my husband is so different from me.

Barnabas Piper would understand.  He wrote about his frustration with his wife when she critiqued a bit of writing he had done.  When she gave her honest opinion that it should be scrapped, Barnabas became sullen.  He forgot that his wife is his greatest supporter and encouragement.  His memory failed him.

Barnabas wrote,
 Memory isn’t only what happens to come to mind as we turn our thoughts to past events; it is a purposeful act of looking back. It is intentionally recalling the moments that led to this reality.
Purposeful.  Intentional. 

 Memory must be controlled.  

So when I go to bed alone, again, I must remember that my husband loves me, that he considers me his best friend, and that he is not intending to cause me pain when he stays up reading while I go to sleep.  I must remember that he is a night owl and I am a morning lark.

When I do not get an answer to a question I've asked for the sixth or seventh time in a row, I must remember that he is a thinker and he's pondering what to say.  Just because I am quick to respond, doesn't mean he has to be.  God made him a deep thinker, and that is good.

Our Personalities are Different

Rick Thomas wrote about a simple way to figure out what type of person someone is.  The article makes the case that the Bible's assessment of our personalities is not very flattering - we have a problem with the deceitfulness of sin.  This problem does not end when we become Christians, although the Holy Spirit dwelling within works in our lives to sanctify us daily.

Personality is not the Point

The point is this:  We are to die to self, daily.  We are to grow in Christ, daily.  We are to exhibit the Fruit of the Spirit as we love God and love our neighbours, moment by moment, hour by hour, every single day.  The best way to do that is to sharpen our memories, holding fast to what is good and rejecting what is evil.

Sharpen the Memory - Look Back on Life Through Biblical Lenses

This world is broken, but it's also beautiful.  When I look at life I must see the greatness of the Creator as well as the fallenness of mankind.  I must use my transformed memory to look back and see how the Lord has been good, working in our family, showing His power and His great love.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.(Romans 12:2 ESV)

My husband bought me this beautiful ring, simply because he loves me.  It has 12 tiny diamonds set in the edge (one for each of our dozen children).  The inside of the ring is filled with hearts - 14 of them!  The perfect number to represent the two of us and our large family.

I have made a promise to myself, that every time I look at this ring on my finger, I will remember.

I will remember that

  • God brought us together!
  • God has blessed our marriage.
  • Our relationship matters - to God, to our family, to the world
  • My husband loves me.
  • I love my husband.
  • We are in this together, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health
  • We are a reflection of Christ, the Bridegroom, and His Bride, the Church
  • We are together until death do us part.
I will remember.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Blind Could See

The tenth chapter of Mark tells the story of all sorts of capable, intelligent, educated people.  Each of the people of groups that encountered Jesus were quite sure that they were on the right track.  In fact, they were so sure of their own correct viewpoint that they were willing to speak up and challenge Jesus.

They couldn't have been more wrong.

The Pharisees had it all together.  They had spent years and years studying the Law, and thought they knew it all.  They wanted to trick Jesus, so they asked Him a question about divorce.  He set them straight.  They didn't realize, but they were dead wrong.

The disciples had it all together.  They were the ones walking with Jesus every day.  They knew how important He was, and how necessary His ministry. So they kept the little children away.  They thought they were helping their Master in ministry, but they were dead wrong.

The Rich Young Ruler had it all together.  He kept every jot and tittle of the law, and had from his youth.  He thought he could inherit eternal life and keep his earthly wealth, but he was dead wrong.

James and John had it all together.  They were part of Jesus' inner circle, and they just knew that someday they'd have a special place in heaven.  They thought that following their Master meant accolades and honour, but they were dead wrong.

The people of Jericho had it all together.  I imagine there was quite a bit of excitement when Jesus came into town!  Everyone would line up to see Him and to hear Him speak.  He was a celebrity at this point in His ministry, and everywhere He want, great crowds followed.  There was no time to bother with some blind beggar, sitting by the side of the road.  The crowds were dead wrong.

None of Them Could See

The Pharisees could not see that they were trying to trick the Omniscient.
The Disciples could not see that they way to eternal life is to humble yourself, like a little child.
The Rich Young Ruler could not see that his treasures were weighing him down, blinding him to eternal wealth.
James and John did not see the lesson of their Master who was a Servant to all.
The People of Jericho did not see that the person of interest to Jesus that day was a blind and helpless beggar.

Blind Bartimaeus

And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”(Mark 10:47-48 ESV)
Bartimaeus Could See

  • Jesus was present
  • Jesus was able
  • Jesus was merciful
  • Jesus was the Son of David
Bartimaeus saw more than any of the others mentioned in this chapter.  He was poor and blind and needy, but rich in faith.  Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?"

Let Me Recover My Sight

Bartimaeus, the one who could see through eyes of faith alone, wanted to see the world.  Jesus had mercy on him.

And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.  (Mark 10:52 ESV)
Go Your Way

Jesus told Bartimaeus to go his own way.  The only way Bartimaeus wanted to go was after Jesus.  He followed His Master on the way.


  1. Things are not always as they seem.  People who have it all together in their own minds, don't necessarily have it all together.  Man looks at the outward appearance.  The Lord looks at the heart.  He considers the humble children and the blind beggars (the poor and needy) to be infinitely valuable. As followers of Christ, we should do the same.
  2. Afflictions aren't always terrible.  I'm sure nobody would choose to be blind, to have to sit at the side of the road and beg for enough money to buy a bit of supper.  Yet God, in His infinite wisdom, blessed Bartimaeus with blindness.  He gave him eyes of faith, which are infinitely better than eyes that can see the material world.
  3. Even Spiritual Leaders can miss the mark.  The Disciples walked with Jesus every day, yet made some serious errors in judgment.  The Bible warns us to guard against pride - and Christians can stumble and fall just like anyone else.  Be careful, Christian, to guard your heart.  Consider yourself to be a Servant - a doulos - a Slave to the Good Master, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Bartimaeus was a Street Preacher

He called out loudly, "Have mercy on me!"  Everyone knew he was yelling.  Everyone saw what happened.  Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM) has a section on Street Preaching that's worth checking out.  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Put a Knife to Your Throat

When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
observe carefully what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
if you are given to appetite.
Do not desire his delicacies,
for they are deceptive food.
                      ~Proverbs 23:1-3 ESV

Someone might read these words of wisdom and think, "I'll be careful next time I sit down to eat with a ruler.  Not going to happen any time soon.  It's not like the Queen of England or POTUS will invite me to tea at Buckingham Palace or the White House."


You are a slave.  I know it is hard for some people to comprehend, but the Bible is clear in Romans 6: You are either a slave to righteousness, serving Christ, or a slave to sin, serving Satan.  You may not know it.  You may not believe it.  It's true, nonetheless.  Read Matt Slick's article, The Methodology of Satan, to understand more.

So, when you sit down to eat, you sit down with a Ruler.

The question is, which Ruler are you thinking about as you observe what is before you on the table?

Daniel was offered all sorts of delicacies, but he resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food.  He paid no attention to the King of Babylon.  He was thinking about the King of Kings.

Every time I sit down to eat, I resolve to think about my Ruler.  It is a battle I must wage in my mind.  I've struggled with weight issues all of my life, from the time I was about 14 years old.  A broken leg left me immobile for weeks, and I gained about 30 pounds.  Since then, my weight has been an issue.

A few years ago I lost nearly 50 lbs, and kept most of it off for a couple of years.  It slowly started to pile back on and I was thinking I'd have to do something about it, then I broke three bones in my foot.  Three months later I am sitting here with an extra 30 lbs.  I can blame the broken bones, the wheelchair, the lack of activity... but the truth is, I should have paid attention.   I should have made wiser choices, knowing that this would be a struggle.  I chose to ignore the tighter clothes, the flabby belly - I chose the excuses (It's Christmas!) and refused to face reality.

I chose to ignore the voice of my Saviour.  I wanted to eat those delicacies.

I Chose to Pay NO Attention to His Voice

Listen with undivided attention!
I know I can pay no attention to my King, and succumb to the wiles of the prince of this world, who seeks only to destroy my health and my testimony.  His food is deceptive food - designed to kill.  "Just a little tasty treat," he hisses.  "You can diet tomorrow.  You know it tastes really good.  And after all, God made all things, so this is His gift."   His words are twisted lies.

My Lord Jesus only wants what is best for me.

I am His slave, and He loves me.  He wants me to hear His voice, and He wants to give me life and health and strength to serve my husband and family at home.  He wants me to learn to mortify the flesh and exercise self-control.  He wants me to stop making excuses.

Dear Lord Jesus, Ruler of my Heart,
Teach me to put a knife to my throat in the face of my enemies - lust, appetite, delicacies, driving desires.  You fasted for 40 days and nights in the wilderness.  Teach me how to deny myself.  Help me to resist the devil so that he will flee from me.  Keep my heart and mind turned toward You, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. I want to keep my eyes on You, to keep my ears tuned to Your voice, to listen to You with my whole heart and with undivided attention.  May it be, dear Lord.  Amen.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


I'm still hopping around the Bible, following a modified version of Professor Horner's Bible Reading System. This morning I read Revelation 4, Ecclesiastes 3, and Psalm 27.

Revelation shows us the glory and beauty of our Lord who sits on a throne of glory, surrounded by redeemed elders, crowned with gold.  Around the throne are four creatures that see all that is revealed.  They are fierce as lions, loyal and steadfast as oxen, rational and made in the image of God like man, and swift as an eagle in flight to obey their God.  They never cease to praise God's holiness and power, for He is worthy.  I read the passage.  I am in awe.

Ecclesiastes reminds me that there is a time for everything, and that I am not in control of what will happen.  I was born; I will die.  I've planted and plucked, I've killed and I've healed.  I have broken down walls and built them up.  I've wept and laughed, and mourned and danced. 

The thing that strikes me about this list is that my God is the One ordaining my steps.  I've lost things - not of my own volition - and prayed that God would help me as I seek them.  I've been silent, and I've spoken up.  I am acutely aware that what happens to me is planned perfectly by my God, who loves me, and who deserves all praise.

There is nothing better for me to do than to rejoice in my work and take pleasure in all of my toil.  I can rest in Him.  I can sink down into Him.   I don't control anything, but I know the One who does.  He is good, and He is right.

Psalm 27 reminds me that the Lord is my light and my salvation.  He is my stronghold in times of trouble, and my guide on the weary path.  He is the One who gives me confidence, and He is absolutely lovely.  I long to be with Him, and I have His promise that I will dwell in the house of the Lord, forever.

I wonder what it will be like, the sea of glass before the throne.  Is it simply figurative, or will I see it?  I long to gaze on the beauty of my Lord, and look upon His goodness.

Trials will come.  Death is inevitable.  I'll experience the pain of false witnesses rising up against me, and the crooked ways of my enemies.  But my God will never forsake me.  I only have to sink into Him, to trust Him, to wait for Him.  When I ponder the message in these passages, I am strong.  My heart takes courage.  I wait for the Lord.

In this season of beginnings, the time of goal-setting and resolutions, many people are changing their habits.  Instead of a list of things they seek to do and to be in this new year, they've been choosing a word that could change their life.  Ann Voskamp chose IN.  Others have chosen words like FAITH, or DELIBERATE, or JOY.  So many different words.  So many different people.

I thought about my one word for 2013. 
It's SINK.  It has to be SINK. 

I considered the word REST, because my heart wants to rest in Jesus, to desist from having to check off my list and from evaluating my walk with God according to my daily accomplishments.  It's too easy for me to feel proud about DOING and despair about NOT DOING.  God loves me, not because of my work, but because He has chosen me to love.  I want to rest in that.

More than that, though, I want to sink into that truth.  I want to be enveloped by God's love as it overwhelms and surrounds me.  I think of Jonah, in the center of God's will as he thought he was drowning, yet God was ordering his steps.  I think of Peter, stepping boldly out of the boat in faith, then losing focus and sinking with fear.  Jesus reached out and caught Peter's hand… He does the same for me. 

I'll write more about my word as I continue to think about what it means to me.  For now, it's my ONE WORD for 2013.   SINK.