Thursday, 31 August 2017

Under the Shadow of His Wings.

Photo by Michael Gordon

"Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young, God spread His wings and caught them, He carried them on His pinions.  Deuteronomy 32:11

This verse is speaking of how God led the children of Israel, but we can take it for ourselves. He will carry us on his wings if we ask him. He does this through our prayers when we tell him how heavy our burden feels. When we tell him how much we need him. He lifts us up, he holds our hand, he leads us beside still waters.

 "I once saw a very interesting sight above one of the crags of Ben Nevis, as I was going in pursuit of black game. Two parent eagles were teaching their offspring, two young birds, the maneuvers of flight. They began by rising from the top of a mountain, in the eye of the sun; - it was about midday, and bright for this climate. They at first made small circles, and the young imitated them; they paused on their wings, waiting till they had made their first flight, holding them on their expanded wings when they appeared exhausted, and then took a second and larger gyration, always rising towards the sun, and enlarging their circle of flight, so as to make a gradually ascending spiral."

I love the image of God being a bird who cares for us as the birds care for their young. There are so many references to this in the Bible. Jesus compared himself to a hen who calls her little ones to her.  

Photo by: Ks mini -

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling."  Luke 13:34

I once saw an amazing thing. I had walked to a pond near my house. It was close to sunset. A mother and father mallard duck were with their little ones in the middle of the pond. 

The mother quacked and started for the reeds. All the ducklings followed but one. One stayed back. The mother noticed, and after she had taken all the others to the shore, she went back and quacked some more. 

That duckling refused to follow her. So she leaped upward and landed on top of the duckling over and over pushing him under the water. She finally stopped; she turned towards home and the duckling meekly followed. Like most of us, he learned his lesson the hard way.

The mother mallard could have left that one duckling to go on its rebellious way, but she didn’t. She knew if she did, he would die. Like the shepherd in another story, she left her other babes at home and turned to seek and save her one disobedient duckling.

Here are some verses on finding shelter under God's wings:

 “How precious is Your loving kindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.”   Psam 36:7

“For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.”  Psalm 63:7

“Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.”   Psalm 17:8

“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.”   Psalm 57:1

“He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.”  Psalm 91:4

Friday, 25 August 2017

Jesus Enveloped in Sin, Within and Without.

Although I had known Jesus became sin for us, that he took our sins upon his heart, I didn’t think about the depth of that until I read these two verses explained.

 “And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly amazed, and sore troubled.And he said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch."    Mark 14:33,34

“He began to be greatly amazed, and sore troubled…”These two Greek verbs are as adequately expressed above as seems possible. The first impies "utter extreme amazement;" if the second has for its root "not at home," it implies the anguish of the soul struggling to free itself from the body under the pressure of intense mental distress."

Verse 34. – “None but he who bore those sorrows can know what they were. It was not the apprehension of the bodily torments and the bitter death that awaited him, all foreknown by him. It was the inconceivable agony of the weight of the sins of men. The Lord was thus laying "upon him the iniquity of us all." This, and this alone, can explain it. My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death.’ Every word carries the emphasis of an overwhelming grief. It was then that "the deep waters came in," even unto his soul. "What," says Cornelius a Lapide, "must have been the voice, the countenance, the expression, as he uttered those awful words!"

Jesus sweat drops of blood that night. He said he was at the point of death. An angel came and strengthened him or he might have died there in Gethsemane.
This was the sin within him.

From the time of his arrest until he died on the cross, Jesus was surrounded by sin of every type.

Cruelty, cowardice, envy, betrayal, mocking, hatred, torture, slapping, beating, lies, indifference, pride, unbelief, anger, and injustice.

This was the sin without him.

For a pure and holy person, being surrounded by evil must have been horrible. Realize also, he loved all the people there who caused him such pain. It would be like us having our parents or children abuse us. Some of us have lived through that, it’s true. Jesus did too on the night and day of his trial and death.

Someday, when we are in heaven, we will see what Jesus left to become one of us, to suffer untold agony and to die feeling all alone. 

Here are some extra verses: 

 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  2 Corinthians 5:21

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’—“   Galatians 3:13

“But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.  Isaiah 53:5

“Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”   Hebrews 9:28

Monday, 21 August 2017

The Last will be First.

I’m reading a book called, “The Parables of Jesus,” by George A. Buttrick. It was published in 1928. It’s a wonderful book that gives deep insights into the parables of Jesus. One that impressed me this morning was on the parable of, The Vineyard Owner and the Laborers found in Matthew chapter 19.

The story is of a man who needs laborers and goes early to the marketplace to hire some. He finds men standing around waiting for work and hires them. They agree on a wage of a denarius for a day’s work.  The man goes back many times during the day because he needs more help. Finally, he goes at 5pm and asks the men there, “Why are you idle?”  They answer him, “Because no one has hired us.” He says, “You go too into my vineyard.”

At the end of the day, the owner pays them all the same wage – a denarius. The ones who worked the longest were angry. They questioned why those who didn’t work as hard or as long got the same amount they did. The owner said, “Friend, I am not wronging you. Can I not do what I please with what is mine? Have you a grudge because I am generous?”

Jesus finished the story by saying this, “So the last will be first, and the first last.”
He told this story after Peter had reminded Jesus that he and the other disciples had left everything and followed him. “What shall we get for this?” was his question.
The author writes, “Life, lived abundantly, does not ask, “What shall we get?” God is not the Keeper of a ledger entering a credit or debit account, according as a man observes or fails to observe certain holy regulations…”God has subtler tests than the piece-measure and the time-clock. Everlastingly, the motive of a man’s life proclaims his worth.”

The author proposes the early workers are those who greet each day with strength and resolution. They perhaps have great talent, a keen mind and a healthy body.  “But others drag crippling chains of inheritance, or beat against confining walls of circumstances. Who will hire them? They would like to serve God, but cannot serve him as they would like to. “No man has hired us.” But their intention is accepted as their deed!”

 “Though they cannot claim saintliness, though in unrealized hopes they must be content to offer hospitality to the prophet and saint, they are not forgotten in the appraisals of the kingdom: “He that receives a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward.”

After reading this chapter, I thought of what I said to my husband once after we had been members at a church for a long time. “We aren’t like most of these people. We are damaged goods. We could never be an evangelist or preacher.”

We had both been horribly abused when we were children. Because of that, we both had a lot of emotional problems. Sometimes I felt like I was hanging on to God by my fingertips. What help could I be to someone else? And my hubby had anger issues because of all the beatings he endured. Neither of us were the picture-postcard of a Christian.

Reading this parable explained, I understand now that it is okay to be the last in the vineyard! Hallelujah! I’m happy with that position. I’m glad God is pleased with whatever I can do for him, even if it is very small.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Nehemiah Tells Us How to Enjoy A Holy Day.

Whether you believe the Sabbath is on Saturday or Sunday, it is a day considered holy. It should be considered that since God has made it so.

 “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”  Exodus 20:11

 “So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”  Genesis 2:3

I was reading Nehemiah, and noticed that Ezra told the people how to act on a holy day. The priest had read the law to all of Israel and the people began to weep because they saw how badly they had been acting. They saw the beauty of God’s laws and were sorry they had not followed it.

Then Nehemiah…said to them all, “This day is holy to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a holy day. Do not grieve.”

Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.”   Nehemiah 8:9-12

I think this is example is very important. Yes, we need to acknowledge our sins, but then rejoice immediately by a feast celebration and go on to do good to others by sharing our food. It would be wonderful if every church did this on Sabbagth; celebrate with a meal and give food to the poor.

Sadness saps our strength, 
Joy strengthens us. 
Choose joy.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Lazy Eye.

Hi Everyone, I saw my eye surgeon and I am seeing double because I have a, “lazy eye,” along with the cataract. Apparently, my left eye cannot keep up with my right eye. It lags behind. Lol  It is kind of disconcerting to see cars on top of each other – the same car, I mean.

This is a photo by the Marine Corps. This is a bit like double vision, but it isn't quite so faded in the background.

I’m very happy it wasn’t a mini-stroke. But I’m still going to continue taking a low-dose aspirin every day. Old people like me are supposed to do that; so says the teeny-bopper-emergency doctor.

My mom is in the rehabilitation facility again, but she is refusing to exercise. She says all she wants to do is stay in bed and sleep. I’m afraid she is depressed, but I have to admire her spunk in saying a big "No" every time they try to get her to exercise. I don’t blame her at all. She is 90 yrs. old and just wants to rest. I think she will be booted out soon for insubordination. Lol

Well, if she is, she will go to live in a beautiful nursing home and I'll be there almost every day, just like now. I really enjoy visiting her.

I asked her nurse to get her a psych consult to see if they can help her with depression. She is eating, but not much. I read to her and buy her chocolate bars,  and she likes that. I actually got her to go outside for a “wheelchair bocce” game today.  She wouldn’t play, but she did say she enjoyed watching the others play. This was a good sign. They served ice cream and lemonade afterwards. The people at this place have been very kind since we have come back.

Meanwhile, back in the spiritual realm, God has been a rock, a strong tower, my shield and sword. I have found shelter under the shadow of his wings. I don’t fear evil, for he is with me. His rod and his staff comfort me. The Bible does not lie. As long as we pour out our hearts to him, all the promises of his comfort and strength come true.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”   Isaiah 41:10

Thursday, 3 August 2017


I just finished reading Joni Eareckson Tada’s book, 31 Days Toward Overcoming Adversity. It is a wonderful book, full of wisdom. She writes about our walk with God, and how we should consider the hard times. Here is an excerpt:

“Okay, so there was the Lord Jesus giving Paul his route. “The road I want you to take, Paul, is the one that’s going to Rome. Keep heading in that direction no matter what. You can’t miss it.” 

With Jesus Himself as travel agent, you’d expect a first-class trip, right? Not so. For two years on that long road to Rome, Paul faced more than his fair share of bypasses, ruts, hazards, and roadblocks. The journey featured constant trouble, murderous plots, and imprisonments.

Then there was the long detour when a hurricane tossed him around the Mediterranean for fourteen days. Until his ship finally hit a sandbar. And broke into pieces. After which he managed to swim to an island. After which he was bitten by a poisonous snake. An easy road? Hey, the Roman Road was no freeway. 

The tolls were unbelievably high. And yet this was the very road Jesus told him to take! Ah, but Paul trusted his Friend. Though the road was rugged — even vicious at times — Paul trusted. If the Lord Jesus had set him on the road to adversity, then he knew that, no matter what, it was the best road to heaven he could possibly find. No matter what happened to Him — smooth passage or storm — live or die — he was completely safe.”

It took me a long time to realize my life would not be trouble-free as I walked with God. Everyone in this world of sin suffers in one way or another. 

As Paul says, Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." Romans 5:3-5  

I take heart in the knowledge that the people of the Bible suffered also and yet found hope in God. He is our only hope in this world.