We are on a journey, sojourners on this earth. Let us share with you the highs and lows of our lives. Heaven is a sweeter place now that we have two beautiful granddaughters waiting there for us.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Not Why? but What Now?

 “But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant…it was not you who sent me here, but God.”(Genesis 45:7,8)

As we studied the life of Joseph in our sermon series this spring, I was reminded over and over again that even though bad things kept happening to him, he always seemed to make the best of the situation and land back on his feet. As we wrapped up the series, these verses in Genesis 45 struck me in a brand new way.

Joseph could have harboured unforgiveness and been angry with his brothers for selling him into slavery and for all the bad things that happened to him as a result. Instead, whether as a servant in Potiphar’s house, a prisoner in jail, or second-in-command to Pharaoh, he asked God ‘What now Lord, what would you have me do in this situation?. He was obedient to share what God showed him even when it was bad news for the listener and he worked hard to be the best he could be regardless of the circumstances in which he found himself.

Joseph had every reason to become bitter and resentful, wondering why God had forsaken him or even if God had in fact forgotten all about him. But at the end of his life, he was very clear with his brothers. God was the one that had sent him to Egypt to preserve a remnant of the Israelites that would survive the famine throughout the land. God was at work through all of Joseph’s story. In the same way, God is at work in my life today even when I cannot see his hand.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you that you are always at work, even when I cannot see it and find it hard to believe. Help me to trust in your sovereignty today, knowing that you are truly good and that you are at work right now in this situation. Show me what you want me to be doing now. Amen.

Friday, June 28, 2019

A Prostitute and a Refugee

 …and she gave birth to a son….and they named him Obed…Salmon the father of Boaz, Boaz the father of Obed.” (Ruth 4:13, 17, 21)
Everywhere we look we are bombarded by advertising encouraging us to look up our ancestry to find out where we came from. When it comes to the genealogies in the Bible however, we often speed read our way through them. Which is why I was surprised when God stopped me at these verses in Ruth. 

We are familiar with the story of Ruth, a refugee who left her homeland with her mother-in-law because of famine in the land. God used her, redeemed her through Boaz, and gave them a son, Obed, who was the grandfather of the great King David.

But where did Boaz come from? Matthew 1:5 tells us that, “Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David.” That’s right, Rahab, the prostitute saved in the fall of Jericho, was the mother of Boaz!

God used a prostitute and a refugee to bring about his perfect plan of redemption in the lineage of his son. But too often in our own lives, we give in to the lies of the enemy saying that we are unable to be of any use to God because of our past, our background, or our weaknesses. Instead we need to learn from the story of Ruth and Rahab, that God wants to use us just the way we are!

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you that in your infinite wisdom you included both a prostitute and a refugee in the family tree of your precious son. What an awesome reminder that you can use anyone for your purposes, and that means that you can use me, just as I am. Help me to trust you to work in my life, regardless of what my past looks like or the mistakes I have made. Use me to make a difference for you. Amen.

Friday, June 07, 2019

Really God?

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials…though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.” (I Peter 1:6-8)

Really Lord? I read this passage as I sat in my recliner, recovering from my second major surgery in six months. Because the last surgery had been a back fusion, my mobility was severely limited and the list of what I could do was much shorter than the list of what I couldn’t. it was easy to revert to feeling sorry for myself. Have you ever found yourself in that place?

As I sat with my Bible open in front of me, the still small voice of my Heavenly Father whispered to me. I wasn’t suffering in the same sense as Peter’s audience who was being persecuted for their faith, but my physical suffering was just as real. And even though it felt like it had been going on forever, it really was only ‘for a little while’ in light of eternity.

Peter’s words reminded me of what was truly important, my faith,’of greater worth than gold’. As I shifted my focus off my current physical limitations back heavenward, I was reminded again that God was still in control, still at work in my situation, still worthy of my honor and praise.   

I thanked him for what was true in my life, for Christ’s finished work on the cross and my future with him, and then I began to rejoice. I had to chuckle because what seemed almost impossible had become a reality. I was indeed ‘greatly rejoicing and filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.’ I was still sitting in my recliner, unable to twist, bend, lift, reach, push or pull, but my focus had changed. The situation hadn’t changed, but my heart had, and that was what really mattered.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you that regardless of what I am facing in my life today, you are at work and I can trust you. Help me to focus on you and what I know is true instead of on the situation. Thank you that you love me, your son died for me, and I know where I will spend eternity. Right now, right here, I can greatly rejoice and be filled with the inexpressible and glorious joy that you alone can give.  Amen.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Never Surprised

..for the Lord is a God who knows.” (I Samuel 2:3)
“God isn’t surprised by this!” Anyone that knows me has heard me say this on more than one occasion. Whether a firm conviction or a declaration that God has this difficult situation in his hand, it is a reminder to myself that since God is a God who knows, he is never surprised, not even in whatever circumstance I currently face.

I noticed this verse for the first time shortly after my son was born. He was our ‘Rainbow Child’, a child born after a stillbirth or miscarriage, and we were thankful for this gift from the Lord. I had just chosen his life verse which is found earlier in the book, “I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD…”(1 Samuel 1:27,28), and then I saw this verse.

I knew at that moment that God knew, he had seen all the tears from my earlier miscarriage and he was not surprised by my heartache. In the same way, he knew that we would have the gift of our son, and in subsequent years, two daughters would also be added to our family.

Decades have passed but the truth of this verse hasn’t changed. God is still the God who knows and he was not surprised by the news we received this week of the sudden death of a friend or the brain tumour diagnosis of a co-worker. Because of that truth I can also know that God will give grace and strength to our friend’s widow and the family of our co-worker. My fears that threaten to overwhelm me are instead replaced by faith in my heavenly father who can do all things.

How about you? Do you need to remind yourself today that God is not surprised?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Even on the days that I am overwhelmed with the challenges that I am facing, thank you that you are never surprised by any of them. You are truly the God who knows and as a result I can trust that you are not only with me on the journey, but you will also give me the grace and strength to make it through. Help me to trust you with that today.  Amen.

What situation do you find yourself in today in which you need to be reminded that God knows all about it and isn’t surprised by it? Take some time right now to thank God that not only does he know all about it, but also that he is right there beside you walking through it together with you.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Intentional Living

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)

A friend and I were struggling to know how to encourage a mutual friend who was nursing her husband through the final stages of cancer. Since it was early December, she suggested that we recruit a group of women to encourage her with meaningful gifts of blessing along with our daily prayers for her strength and grace in a difficult time and daily visit her throughout the twelve days of Christmas.

None of us could have managed this alone, but together we made a huge difference in one couple’s life that was going through a life-altering circumstance. As I reflected on this again not long ago, this verse in Hebrews came to mind. Together my friend and I had been considering what we could do and God in his infinite goodness showed us how we could make a difference.

A wise man once said that if you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. On our own, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the needs of those around us and become immobilized. But this verse reminds us that we need to be intentional about how we live our lives. ‘Let us consider…’ implies that we need to think about it, pray about it and ask God to show us how we can encourage one another ‘…to love and good deeds’.

Aiming at nothing ensures that nothing will happen. But as we invite God into the process and live our lives with intentionality, we will see that he is already at work and we get to be part of what he is doing.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you that I can be someone who lives my life with intentionality, making a difference in the lives of the people you place around me. Help me today to consider how to do that and to be a difference-maker. Show me where you are at work so that I can join you there. Amen.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

But God

 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20)
Have you ever been so overwhelmed with everything that seems to be going wrong in your life that you wonder how it can possibly work out for good? Or maybe you are holding a grudge against someone that has done you wrong and nursing feelings of planning to get even with that person?

Joseph’s brothers had every reason to be afraid of what was going to happen now that Jacob had died (Genesis 50:15). After all, they had sold him into slavery and let their father believe that he had been dead all these years. But God had intervened and now Joseph had the upper hand.

Instead of punishing them for their actions, his response must have surprised them. “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God…” Joseph recognized that God had been at work in his life all along right from the start.

God had gone before them and brought him to Egypt so that he could now save the Israelites from starving in Canaan. Not only were they now safe in Egypt, but they had been given the best pastures for their livestock and in fact all of Egypt had been provided for through Joseph’s wisdom.

His brothers had meant to harm Joseph and teach him a lesson, but God had worked it all for good so that all of them would not only survive but multiply. How often do you see only the harm intended, but God has other plans for you?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the reminder that even when it seems like nothing is going right, you are still at work. Even when others mean to harm me, your plans are greater than that. Help me to see those places in my life today when it looked like my life was headed for disaster, but God turned it out for good. Amen.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Following the Shepherd

 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out of all of his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” John 10:3,4

We were enjoying a summer barbecue in the backyard of friends who lived on a farm. Right behind us the sheep were grazing, oblivious of us eating our dinner. As we visited, we talked about the fact that we are often referred to as sheep in the scriptures.

To illustrate, our host called out to the sheep. Much to our amazement, every single sheep, stopped where it was and looked up to see what he was going to do next. They were ready to follow! I’ve never forgotten that evening.

The sheepfold in Israel was an enclosure that provided protection for the sheep at night. It had an opening where the Shepherd would lie so that predators would have to go over him to get to the sheep. In the morning, he would stand at that opening and call out his sheep and because they knew his voice, they would follow him up into the hills.

In the same way that the sheep were poised to see what the shepherd wanted of them, I too must be mindful of the voice of my good shepherd. Am I listening for it all the time? Do I stop everything and listen when I hear him, asking what it is he wants, where he wants me to follow?

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you that you are my Good Shepherd. You not only provide for my every need, but you also lead and guide me in the way that I should. Help me to always be on the alert for your voice, poised to follow you in the direction that I should go. Amen
Moving Forward:
Do you recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd when he speaks to you? Are you willing to drop everything and follow him? Perhaps you have heard him speaking, but haven’t been willing to follow. Make today the day that you say, ‘yes, I will follow’.