Monday, 22 April 2019
Sunday, 7 April 2019
My granddaughter, Hope, enjoying the snow.
I dreamed last night someone asked me why I would want to follow God. I said to him, “Imagine the best day you ever had with people you love. That is what God wants for all people. We will be one big happy family enjoying each other, enjoying God, having interesting work to do, eating wonderful food, getting to know the animals, traveling, sightseeing, singing, playing musical instruments, gaining knowledge,
One of the best days I’ve ever had was when our whole family packed a picnic and we drove up into the mountains to a park. There was an abandoned gold mine there, an old train trestle no longer in use, a river flowing by, and trees everywhere. I remember looking at my children and grandchildren and thinking, “I must always remember this beautiful day.”
The river was deep so my husband and son-in-law were jumping from the trestle. We walked over to the abandoned mine and found some rocks with gold dust on them, we walked among the trees and saw a large woodpecker. Simple things, but so very wonderful because we were all together discovering this park and enjoying the happiness of the children who were excited by everything they saw.
One of my sisters, who has a chronic illness and cannot work, told me she thought heaven might be boring. She couldn’t imagine having fun there. I said, “Look at what we are doing this minute. We are playing video games. We are enjoying ourselves, aren’t we?” She agreed we were. “I said, “If we can enjoy playing these simple games, I think the God of the universe will have interesting things for us to do.”
My daughter once told me she hadn’t wanted to be a Christian because she thought heaven would be boring. But now that she knows she will meet her deceased son in heaven, she can’t wait to get there.
I think the thoughts of being bored in heaven come from going to church and being bored as a kid, or even an adult, and perhaps by being a party/sex/drink/drugs lover. You know that won’t be going on in heaven so it turns you off.
But all those thoughts show a lack of imagination. If people will spend a lot of money to go see the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone Park for two weeks, then I think we will all enjoy heaven. Think about how most people love snorkeling or just swimming at a beautiful beach. All the things we love about nature will surround us in heaven. And the more we get to know God, the more we will enjoy his company. I’m sure the angels will be interesting to meet and get to know.
As the Bible says, we have no idea what awaits us in heaven.
But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—
1 Corinthians 2:9
Sunday, 31 March 2019
"Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid." John 14:27
Ellicots Commentary for English Readers:
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you."—The immediate context speaks of His (Jesus) departure from them (his disciples). (John 14:25; John 14:28
He will leave them as a legacy the gift of “peace.” And this peace is more than a meaningless sound or even than a true wish. He repeats it with the emphatic “My,” and speaks of it as an actual possession which He imparts to them. “Peace on earth” was the angels’ message when they announced His birth; “peace to you” was His own greeting when He returned victorious from the grave. “He is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14), and this peace is the farewell gift to the disciples from whom He is now departing.
Christ's gift of peace does not dispense with the necessity for our own effort after tranquillity. There is very much in the outer world and within ourselves that will surge up and seek to shake our repose; and we have to coerce and keep down the temptations to anxiety, to undue agitation of desire, to tumults of sorrow, to cowardly fears of the unknown future. All these will continue, even though we have Christ's peace in our hearts. And it is for us to see to it that we treasure the peace.
It is useless to tell a man, "Do not be troubled and do not be afraid," unless he first has Christ's peace as his. Is that peace yours because Jesus Christ is yours? If so, then there is no reason for your being troubled or dreading any future. If it is not, you are mad not to be troubled, and you are insane if you are not afraid.
Your imperfect possession of this peace is all your own fault. Conclusion: I went once to the side of a little Highland loch, on a calm autumn day, when all the winds were still, and every birch tree stood unmoved, and every twig reflected on the steadfast mirror, into the depths of which Heaven's own blue seemed to have found its way. That is what our hearts may be, if we let Christ put His guarding hand round them to keep the storms off, and have Him within us for our rest. But the man that does not trust Jesus is like the troubled sea which cannot rest.
A. Maclaren, D. D. writes:
Peace with the outer world. It is not external calamities, but the resistance of the will to these, that makes the disturbances of life. Submission is peace, and when a man with Christ in his heart can say what Christ did, "Not My will, but Thine, be done," then some faint beginnings, at least, of tranquillity come to the most agitated and buffeted.
Saturday, 23 March 2019
Photo by: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Balou46
I’ve been reading a book of sermons by Horatius Bonar. He was born in 1808 and died in 1889. He was a minister in the Church of Scotland but later joined the Free Church after the “Disruption of 1843.” Along with sermons, he wrote hymns and poems.
I came across a Bible verse that moved me so much and a sermon he wrote about that verse. Here is an excerpt from that chapter:
“He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew e out of deep waters.” Psalm 18:16
“He is the God of all grace; no, God is love; in him there is help, and with him is plenteous redemption. He it is that redeems (us) out of all (our) troubles. It is he who is above; it is he who sends from above; it is he who reaches down; it is he who rescues us out of many waters.
This is the God with whom we have to do! He is infinite in power and grace. To know him is life eternal; to rest upon his love and power is the true strength and solace of the soul! The knowledge of ourselves troubles us and casts us down; the knowledge of this God relieves us and lifts us up.
The great use of knowing ourselves is, not that we may be qualified for receiving and being received by him, but that we may become more and more dissatisfied with ourselves and more and more drawn to him who is altogether unlike us. That we may become more and more emptied of everything. That we may be in a state for containing him and his fullness.
For it is our emptiness that attracts and makes us suitable for his fullness and it is in knowing self that we are emptied of self. We decrease, he increases.”
Saturday, 16 March 2019
I’ve was reading about King Jehoshaphat of Judah, and found he had a pattern in making bad decisions. Even so, he was a wonderful champion for God.
“The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the ways of David and sought not to the idol Baal; but he sought the Lord God of his father, Asa. He walked in his commandments and not after the doings of Israel and its kings.” 2 Chronicles 17:3-5
Not only did Jehoshaphat follow God, but he sent teachers of God’s laws to all the towns of his realm. God blessed him with riches and honor.
But Jehoshaphat had a failing in his character. Instead of staying apart from the evil kings of Israel, he made treaties with them. He allowed his eldest son to marry the daughter of Jezebel.
One day, Ahab, king of Israel, asked Jehoshaphat to come and visit. He then asked him to go to war against the king of Aram. Aram had promised to give the city Ramoth-gilead back to Israel, but he wouldn’t do it.
Jehoshaphat said, “I am as you are and my people as your people; and we will be with you in the war.” Ahab’s false prophets had told the king he would win the war. But Jehoshaphat asked for a prophet of God, so they sent for Micaiah. He told them they would lose the war and Ahab would die. Ahab threw him in prison and they went to battle anyway.
Thousands of their people died fighting and the battle turned out exactly as the prophet of God had said. Jehoshaphat barely escaped with his life. When he returned home, Jehu the prophet met him and said, “Do you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this, the wrath of the Lord is upon you. However, some good is found in you, for you have removed the Asherah poles from the land and have set your heart to seek God.”
Why did Jehoshaphat help Ahab? I think it was because he considered the people in Israel his family, which they were by blood. And I think he felt his country was too small to fight against Israel and other countries so decided to make them allies. Israel was composed of ten tribes, whereas Jehoshaphat ruled over only two tribes, Judah and Benjamin. But this showed a lack of faith, for the Bible shows God doesn’t need a huge army to win a war. He doesn’t need us at all. He can do it all himself, if we believe.
After Ahab’s death, his son Jehoram ruled Israel. The king of Moab rebelled at paying taxes so Jehoram went out to fight them. He asked Jehoshaphat to go with him. You would think Jehoshaphat would have learned from what happened before, but he didn’t. He took his army with Jehoram. This battle was won by the hand of God.
After Jehoram died, his son Ahaziah ruled. “King Jeoshaphat of Judah joined with him Though they did not go to war together, they went into business building ships to go to Tarshish. Then Eliezer the prophet went to Jehoshaphat and said, “Because you have joined with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have made.” And the ships were wrecked on the way to Tarshish.
Jehoshaphat chose his eldest son Jehoram, the grandson of Jezebel, to be the next king. But he had been taught by his mother to worship idols. He immediately murdered his brothers so no one else could be king and he taught the people to worship Baal and other idols which included burning children alive as a sacrifice.
So, Jehoshaphat was a strong believer in God. He did follow him except in this one area of uniting with those who did not worship God. But the consequences of his decisions were, monetary loss, death for his people and then the death of his sons. He couldn’t seem to see the evil in the kings of Israel nor in his eldest son.
I believe his bad choices are in the Bible to teach us what can happen when we ally ourselves with unbelievers, either through marriage, war or business dealings. I think God made it clear how he felt about what Jehoshaphat was doing. This doesn’t mean he wasn’t saved. I believe he was, but it does show the terrible results of not trusting God enough and making decisions without consulting Him.
So, what is my Achilles heel? I would say I keep looking to people too much for love and attention. I have done that all my life and it has caused numerous problems. When I was a teen, I was desperate for someone, anyone, to love me. This led me into all kinds of trouble as you can imagine.
This carried over into adulthood where I made many choices out of God’s will because I wanted someone to love me. I am learning, slowly but surely, to find all the love I need in him. And what I like about this is his is a kind of love that never wavers and never ends; he is always there the moment I need him. People cannot give me the all-encompassing love I want, but he can and he does.
I’ll leave you to figure out what your Achilles Heel may be.
Saturday, 9 March 2019
My last post was about how we cannot know who is a Christian and who is not because it is a slow process brought about by the Holy Spirit. Jesus compared it to the growth of a plant. He said, " "The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head." I thought I would give some examples of this.
I was raised in a home that was religious. We went to church each week and had conversations about God. Because of this, I have always believed there was a God. I have always believed the Bible is a true book about him. I was attracted to God all through my childhood and teen years.
But though I am grateful for that part of my upbringing, I was also taught God was strict and we needed to not sin in order to go to heaven. I wanted to be a Christian, but knew I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t understand grace and being converted.
When I was 18, I gave birth to my first daughter. As I held her in my arms, I knew I wanted her to be saved and I knew I needed God’s help to raise her. For the first time, I put another person before me. I learned what love was.
That year my grandmother gave me a book called, “Patriarchs and Prophets.” I read it and was moved by the picture of God by the author. Then I had a dream.
I dreamed I was drinking and partying with my friends. We were outside walking up a hill on a sidewalk. All of a sudden, the sky went black. I turned around and saw a rainbow spanning the dark sky. I knew Jesus was coming back and I wasn’t saved. I wouldn’t be going to heaven. I felt terrified.
When my daughter was two, I went to California to visit my parents. My mother and grandmother took me to an evangelistic meeting. The night he spoke about Jesus’ love, I went forward and gave my life to him. My grandma and mom were crying with joy and I was very happy and at peace.
Not long after that I had a dream. I was standing in front of my parent’s house with my daughter. I saw Jesus coming in the clouds. I felt great joy and knew I was saved.
All through these years (I am now 68) I have been learning about God. There have been times I was very angry at him; there are the many times I have seen his wonderful works in my life. I have learned to admire and love God.
My two daughters were raised by me to believe in God. We took them to church and they attended a church school. When they were teens, they decided not to be Christians. My oldest daughter told me she thought heaven would be boring so she didn’t care if she was saved or not. But she believed there was a God, and prayed when she needed help.
Then 8 years ago, her oldest son died at the age of 21. She needed God desperately in this time and has stayed with him. He has been her help, comfort and courage.
My grandsons have also had years of the Holy Spirit working on their hearts. When they were teenagers, they told me they were atheists, like their step-father. But after years of listening to my husband and other family members, they both believed in God. My grandson who died was praying and wanting to live a better life. He died by drinking way too much, falling asleep face-first on a soft sofa and never waking up. But he was accepted by Jesus as he was. He is saved for eternal life.
My nephew, who was mentally ill and killed himself 2 years ago, was at first an atheist. But my sisters and I talked with him about God for years. He had many questions we tried their best to answer. When schizophrenia took hold of him in his last year, he phoned me and visited me in order to ask me all about God.
Thankfully, I had gone through a time of having doubts about God’s goodness and I could answer his doubts as God had answered mine. A few days before he died, he told me, “I’ve made up my mind about God. He is the one true God and I’m giving my life to him.” I was so very happy. I had no idea what he had planned to do. But I do know God accepted him as he was, mental illness and all. The only time he talked normally was when it was about God. Other than that, he talked about how the government was after him and people were following him every place he went. He said he put us at risk by just visiting us.
I give these examples to show how true it is that people are either becoming Christians or are not becoming Christians. It shows how for years the Holy Spirit works on a person’s heart and then, seemingly all of a sudden, they ask God into their lives.
I am so thankful for God’s patience and mercy. I thank him for accepting us where we are; that we don’t have to become a great person before he comes to us. I’m thankful he came to save sinners, not the righteous! What a God he is, full of love, compassion and forgiveness.
Monday, 4 March 2019
Clouds seen from my balcony.
I have made the mistake of judging who is a Christian or not. I have thought or said, “Well, they can’t be a Christian if they did or said that.” It is really an awful thing to think that I am the judge of the world, but I used to.
I recently read the following excerpt from the book, Mere Christianity, by C.S.Lewis. I thought it explained exactly how our thoughts should be of people. It is so natural for humans to judge other humans. We do this on how they look, what they say and how they live. And it is actually important we do that in perhaps the workplace or when choosing friends or a partner in life, but not when we think of God’s work on the human heart. Here is the excerpt:
“The world does not consist of 100% Christians and 100% non-Christians. There are people (a great many of them) who are slowly ceasing to be Christians but who still call themselves by that name: some of them are clergymen (preachers). There are other people slowly becoming Christians though they do not yet call themselves so. There are people who do not accept the full Christian doctrine about Christ but who are so strongly attracted to him that they are his in a much deeper sense than they themselves understand.
There are people in other religions who are being led by God’s secret influence to concentrate on those parts of their religion which are in agreement with Christianity, and who thus belong to Christ without knowing it. For example, a Buddhist of good will may be led to concentrate more and more on the Buddhist teaching about mercy and to leave in the background (though he might still say he believed) the Buddhist teaching on certain other points.
Many of the good Pagans long before Christ’s birth may have been in this position. And always, of course, there are a great many people who are just confused in mind and have a lot of inconsistent beliefs all jumbled up together.
Consequently, it is not much use trying to make judgements about Christians and non-Christians in the mass. It is some use comparing cats and dogs, or even men and women, in the mass because there one knows definitely which is which. Also, an animal does not turn (either slowly or suddenly) from a dog into a cat. But when we are comparing Christians in general with non-Christians in general, we are usually not thinking about real people whom we know at all, but only about two vague ideas which we have gotten from novels and newspapers.”