Archives

a few honest questions

But avoid foolish questions, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law; for they are unprofitable and worthless.”  Titus 3:9

“What do you think about Calvinism? Don’t you think the Bible is confusing on the issue of election and calling?”  The young man asking me those questions had just been released from jail and was close to being sent back due to allegations of domestic abuse.  Though he sincerely loved studying God’s Word, his questions were a bit off-the-mark considering his tenuous circumstances.  I thought more appropriate ones might be, “What can I learn from this situation?” or, perhaps, “How can I repair the damage I’ve done?”

His questions weren’t wrong,  just not honest.  Often we ask contentious or frivolous questions as a tactic to avoid being honest, either with others, or ourselves.  Charles Spurgeon suggests a few questions that will help us be honest with ourselves:

Do I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?

Am I renewed in the spirit of my mind?

Am I walking not after the flesh, but after the Spirit?

Am I growing in grace?

Does my conversation (attitudes/lifestyle) reflect the love of God my Saviour?

Am I looking for the coming of the Lord and watching as a servant who expects his master should?

What more can I do for Jesus?

And here’s a few of my own:

“How can I glorify the Lord in my life/situation?

“How can I bear another’s burden? 

“How can I love my neighbor and be a reflection of Jesus to them?”

What questions are you asking?

Let’s pray together, that we may set aside obscure, frivolous, contentious, or ‘foolish’ questions, and seek to ask the honest ones–ones that will lead us deeper into God’s Word, draw us closer to Christ, foster peace with others, and bring glory to Him.

Beautiful Treasure

[Today’s song and post are dedicated to my MOM.  We spent the past couple of weeks together visiting grandbabies [her greats-], sharing smoothies, and worshipping  in church.  We sang this song to Jesus, Who has given me a beautiful treasure in a mother, and made us sisters too!]

There are so many wonderful names for our Lord and Saviour, Jesus.  Rose of Sharon evokes the wonder we discover in the fragility and strength, fragrance and beauty of the renown flower.  King of Kings reminds us that governments and rulers will always be under the reign of our Sovereign Saviour. And there’s so many more!

In the following worship song by Stephen Altrogge  (Sovereign Grace Music), we focus our attention, words, and praise on more of His worthy names and titles:

 

He is Jesus
by Stephen Altrogge

 

There’s a treasure great in beauty
Far surpassing earth’s great wealth
He is Jesus, Prince of Glory
Source of all grace, peace, and health
There’s a fountain ever flowing
Satisfying all who drink

He is Jesus, spring of joy
To all who hail Him as their King

There’s a power, holy power
Breaking bonds of captive men
He is Jesus, mighty Jesus
Holy warrior and sinner’s friend
There’s a Savior rich in mercy
Quick to pardon all our sins

He is Jesus, great Redeemer
Reconciling God and man

There’s a glorious Lord returning
And all will bow to Him alone
He is Jesus, King of nations
Reigning from His gracious throne
There is one to whom our praises
Will through every age ascend

He is Jesus, King forever
Whose wondrous rule will never end.

 

You can listen to this wonderful worship song in the Blue Music Box to the right.  Let us worship Him Who alone is Worthy!

What is one of your favourite names or titles of the Lord?

It’s Our Anniversary!

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine…”  Song of Songs 6:3

1 May, 1976

  

A lovely birthday, Sept 2009

At our daughter, Grace's wedding, 2008

Visiting Quebec City, 2005

Today is our 34th wedding anniversary!  We celebrate it with thankfulness and great humility, knowing that the Lord is the source of our relationship, as well as the sustainer! 

This is a little verse we’re holding onto for this year…and, Lord willing, many to come:

“…to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.”  I Peter 4:2

 

 

Spring Slides

I thought it would be fun to try out the WordPress slideshow feature today, using recent spring photos taken by John, and my daughter, Joy.   If you wish, you can play some tunes from the Blue Music Box as you watch, to create a more poignant mood. 🙂

 

 “The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come…”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

If you have trouble viewing the slideshow, I uploaded a wee sampling of pics below.  And if you can view it, let me know what you think of this new feature!

Thank you, Lord, for Your beautiful, good, and perfect gifts!  And above all, thank you for writing my name in your book of Life.  I pray that everyone who passes this way will learn You are Good, You are Love, and that through Jesus Christ, they too, can have the assurance of unconditional love and grace, and life eternal with You. Amen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Know Nothing of Calvary Love

“…live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  Ephesians 5:2

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”  I John 3:16

 

The older I get, the longer I walk with the Lord, the more I realize I know nothing of love.  Not romantic, friendship, or familial love (though some may doubt my understanding of those too :-)), but the unconditional, sacrificial, uncomfortable, painful, patient, serving, suffering and unselfish kind of love.  Calvary Love.

Amy Carmichael, lifetime missionary, author, hymn writer and courageous servant of the Lord, made this observation in her book, If:

If I hold on to choices of any kind, just because they are my choices..

if I give more room to my private likes and dislikes…

if I am soft on myself and slide easily and comfortable into the vice of self-pity and eliciting sympathy…

if I do not, by the grace of God, build a fortress around my inner man to protect it from my own soulish-ness…

if the praise of others elates me…

if the blame of others depresses me…

if I cannot rest when I am misunderstood, without defending myself…

if I love to be loved, more than to give love…

if I love to be served, more than serving…

            then I know nothing of Calvary love.

 

Amy Carmichael, You Are My Hiding Place, Devotional readings arranged by David Hazard.  Bethany House. Minneapolis. 1991. pps. 34, 36

Secure in Him

“He will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock”
Psalm 27:5

 

I’m feeling better, brain is working, and ideas are flowing again!  I see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! (Ps 27:13). 

Praise the LORD!  My sister-in-law, Becky, was pronounced CANCER FREE this week by the doctor and medical staff that have been treating her over the past 9 months!!  She was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer last May, and underwent extensive, painful surgery and difficult chemo treatments!  Undergirding all the medical treatment, was constant prayer for healing and comfort! ! [I posted some thoughts and battles about her cancer HERE and HERE.] 

Can we praise the Lord, even if we don’t understand the trial, or why it happened? Is our security in our understanding?  I hope not.  I hate cancer.  I don’t understand why it strikes so randomly.  As I pray for others with cancer, like Kate McCrae and Matt Chandler, I wrestle with a lot of ‘whys’, but my security and peace aren’t based on having all the answers.  Paul David Tripp says in his book on Psalm 27:

You are not secure because you have control or understanding.  You are secure even though you are weak, imperfect, and shortsighted.  You are secure for one reason and one reason alone:  God exists and he is your Father.  He will never leave your side.  He will never fail to provide.  He will make good on everything he has promised.  And he has the power to do so.  He is Lord.”

So, in our weakness and lack of understanding, let us run with prayer and praise to our loving Father, and find shelter in His rich mercy, mighty power, sovereign rule, unsurpassed grace, and unconditional love.

What “whys” is he asking you to relinquish to Him?

Blessing in the Thorn

Many have died and many more are suffering in Haiti, and throughout the world. Many of our loved ones are going through really difficult times.  For today, I chose to encourage and minister with grace, rather than force any pat answers to suffering.  Perhaps a reminder of Christ’s love will minister to you, through this song from Phillips, Craig, and Dean :

Blessing in the Thorn

I read about a man of God
Who gloried in his weakness
And I wish that I could be
More like Him and less like me
Am I to blame for what I’m not
Or is pain the way God teaches me to grow
I need to know

When does the thorn become a blessing
When does the pain become a friend
When does the weakness make me stronger
When does my faith make me whole again
I want to feel His arms around me
In the middle of my raging storm
So that I can see the blessing in the thorn

I’ve heard it said the strength of Christ
Is perfect in my weakness
And the more that I go through
The more I prove the promise true
His love will go to any length
And reaches even now to where I am

But tell me once again

When does the thorn become a blessing
When does the pain become a friend
When does the weakness make me stronger
When does my faith make me whole again
I want to feel His arms around me
In the middle of my raging storm
So that I can see the blessing in the thorn

Lord, I have to ask You
On the cross You suffered through
Was there a time You ever doubted
What You already knew
?

When does the thorn become a blessing
When does the pain become a friend
When does the weakness make me stronger
When does my faith make me whole again
I want to feel His arms around me
In the middle of my raging storm
So that I can see the blessing in the thorn

I want to see the blessing in the thorn.

 

You can listen to this from the blue Music Box.  This version is from their CD, Where Strength Begins, Phillips Craig and Dean.

Christmas All the Year

[I first posted this a year ago…]

Anyone who knows me very well, knows it’s quite difficult for me to let go of the Christmas season.  I love the joy prevalent throughout December, the carols on the radio, lights on the trees, and even the meager focus the media and society gives to the Birth of our Lord Jesus.

But, like the renewed Ebenezer Scrooge,  the gift of God’s Son should be carried in our hearts every single day.  We must enjoy His birth, His life, His death, and resurrection each moment–and the more we see ourselves, the more we recognize our need and our thankfulness for Him.  Spurgeon puts it like this:

To a renewed soul, every day should be the birthday of the Saviour.  Amid all that is humilitation, there is much that is honourable in the circumstances of the birth of our Immanuel.  Whose birth was ever ushered in by a long train of prophecy or longed for by such a multitude of hearts?  Who but He can boast of a forerunner who marked Him as the coming Man? When did angels indulge in midnight songs or did God ever hang a new star in the sky before?  To whose cradle did rich and poor make so willing a pilgrimage and offer such hearty, unsought acts of worship?   Well may earth rejoice, well may all men cease their labours to celebrate the great birthday of Jesus.

Immanuel, “God with us”, in our nature, in our sorrow, in our lifework, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather, we with Him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph, and Second Advent of splendor!”

Amen!  Let Christ reign in your heart everyday!!

Merry Christmas to ALL!

O Holy Night!

Today’s title hymn took on special meaning for me last week when I heard my sister-in-law, Becky, sing it in her church.  I’ve referred to Becky in past posts as she’s struggled with cancer and its difficult ramifications.  It was a little over 6 months ago when she underwent surgery following a diagnosis of Stage 4 colon cancer.  Presently she’s going through a routine of chemotherapy and wondered if she’d even have the breath to sing .

Her concerns were quickly put rest;  beginning with a whisper, her strength and volumn escalated as she reached the first chorus!  Her voice of praise reverberated through the sanctuary and we “heard the angel’s voices!”  As she continued and we tearfully listened, the Lord was glorified for His birth, His redemption, His faithfulness and healing!!   We couldn’t record her vibrant singing,  but the moment was etched on our minds, and echoes still in Heaven.

Listen to a couple of beautiful renditions of this hymn on the blue Music Box [1] and worship with us–and Becky!!

 

O Holy Night!
Written by Placide Cappeau
Music by Adolfe Adam

 

1. O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;

Chorus

Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine

 

2. Led by the light of faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here come the wise men from Orient land
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend.

Chorus

Christ is the Lord, O praise His name forever!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!

 

3. Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother,
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.

Chorus
 
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

 

 

[1]  Mercy Me, The Christmas Sessions, and Mark Harris, Christmas Is CD