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Showing posts from June, 2010

Ripe, But Not Sweet

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As summer wends its way toward fall, we anticipate the fruits of a harvest kissed by rain, and warmed by the sun. We watch our gardens for ripening fruit and vegetables, tasting the joy almost before it becomes reality.

Ripe is good—or so I thought until this morning's devotional.

Amos is having a vision. God shows him a basket of ripe fruit. But there is nothing sweet here. The Lord says: "The time is ripe for my people, Israel; I will spare them no longer" —Amos 8:2, NIV.

He then goes on to describe the depths to which He will drive his people because of their persistent rebellion. It's not the kind of harvest anyone eagerly waits for.

But there is worse to come.

"'The days are coming,' declares the Sovereign Lord, 'when I will send a famine through the land—not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but…

A Little Bit of Nostalgia

Last Sunday, as I drove north with my brother, the weirdest feeling passed over me. This was the first time since our parents passed away back in 1991 that we had traveled to Timmins together. In fact, my brother hasn't been north since 1996, when he took a few days just to come up by himself.

In the past, we eagerly anticipated pulling up in front of the house on Elm Street to be greeted by mom and dad and to feel the familiar sentiments of being "home." Now, for the first time, Wayne was coming to my new home, an old world with a new beginning. Today we will go to the cemetery where mom and dad are buried, not because of nostalgia, but for a much more practical reason. When I was there in the spring there were "things" growing on the headstone and I warned my brother that when he came up we needed to go back there and clean things up. Coming home is different now.

Wayne brought up a couple of suitcases of photos that he's been looking after since I went o…

Cause and Effect

This morning's editorial in The Toronto Star: Brutal Spectacle Failed a City and its People, reveals a nasty truth. A friend of mine mentioned to me that we all would have been a whole lot better if the G8/G20 leaders had held their meeting on a cruise ship in the middle of the Pacific. It would have been much easier to isolate them (and probably cheaper to protect them), Toronto would not have such a mess to clean up this morning, its citizens would have been a lot less inconvenienced or terrorized, and Canada would not have such a shameful blot on its history as it has this morning after the events of this weekend.

Have we proved once again that politicians are so far removed from reality that they really are clueless when it comes to the consequences of their actions? They come; they go, oblivious to the mess they leave behind.

Sadly, history repeats itself. This morning I read the first three chapters of the book of Amos. If anything reminds me of the folly of leadership remov…

Show Me the Door

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They aren't accustomed to going outside. However, it was such a beautiful day, all was quiet in the neighbourhood and they'd had a few brief forays to get a feel for the territory. It was time to face a brave, new world.

Abby and Lou Lou Belle went outside into the backyard this afternoon.


Abby's not quite as bold as Lou, but she did the rounds of the yard, racing for the patio door when startled by an unusual sound. I thought that she might get confused and too frightened to know the way to safety, but she was unerringly accurate.

Good spiritual lesson there. It's too bad I'm not always as smart as the cat!

This sweet hymn by Gloria Roe (1938-      ) expresses the lesson well:

Be calm my soul, faint not with care
Though burdens deep our hearts would tear;
He is the Lord, all He commands,
He holdeth me safe in His hands.


Be calm my soul, melt not with fear,
Though shadows dark press in so near,
Yet in despair I see His light;
Lead me, O Lord, with wond'rous sight.


Be ca…

Adopt, Don't Assault, a Police Person

In case no one has noticed, the G8/G20 summits have invaded southern Ontario. The biggest topic of discussion (other than the fake lake the federal government built to entertain the press) is the huge police presence and security precautions that have been put into place both in Huntsville and Toronto.

Most of the comments about the security are less than positive and some are downright nasty. Those who are anxious to protest everything under the sun are particularly verbal about  the measures the government has taken to protect the world leaders who are going to be present over the next four days. People with agendas want access to those with the most political clout to present those agendas. And they are visibly annoyed to be denied the right to stand face-to-face with the power brokers and politicos.

They threaten unfriendly protests (some even violence) and expect to share personal space with the most powerful people in the world? Does anyone see the incongruities to that?

Little…

Ontario Vice

I gave up two vices this morning. Nothing that anyone would consider really bad, just time consuming and counterproductive. These two reasons are the most important. I complain that I don't have time to do more valuable activities then waste my time playing games on FACEBOOK. I say "waste" advisedly because the games aren't bad, in fact for some they might be stress relieving. So this is not a judgment call on anyone else who plays them. They don't, however, in the words of a famous friend, get me where I want to go.

One of the things most neglected during these game-playing episodes is my writing. I need to stop procrastinating and get back to expressing what God lays on my heart and mind to express. It's too easy to ignore the work and the urge to lose myself in something less labour-intensive. The Lord didn't gift me with gamesmanship, he gifted me to write and write is what I need to do if I am to be obedient to his call on my life. 

You always have …

Stopped By God

I had just gotten into my reading this morning when I was stopped dead in my mental tracks by this little verse: "And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple" —1 Kings 8:11, NIV.

The scene: The newly finished temple just prior to Solomon's dedication celebration. The ark of the covenant had just been brought into the Most Holy Place and as the priests withdrew, the Lord descended in the form of a cloud.

When was the last time God was so obviously present with us? When was the last time the spiritual leaders of my church couldn't function for no other reason than God had come and taken their place?

I don't remember such a time, but I want to, dear Lord, how I want to.

If I had been Solomon what would I have done? The people are standing there watching the descent of the cloud. Their spiritual leaders are rendered useless by the presence of God in His temple. Solomon speaks—and in his preamble it…

Secure

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One of my favourite writers visited my blog today so I scurried over to her site to return the favour. I've added Jan Ackerson to my blog roll so be sure to visit her at Glory Be. Jan's a master of the pen (or keyboard) and I know you'll enjoy what she has to say.

I started reading Song of Songs this morning. I'm not much into romance but there are so many delightful word pictures that remind me of how much God cares for me. One of those is this one from chapter 1, verses 6, which says: "His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me." And since a picture is worth a thousand words, or so they say, I thought between the verses and the picture that follows, you'll get the message, loud and clear.

God loves you.

I picture a baby rather than a bride, a dependent child held securely, who has complete trust in those arms to shelter, defend and embrace for all time.

That's love—that's God's love embracing me.

Two Thousand Minutes

When was the last time you said: "I really should call ______________?" Every once in a while there are certain people who come to mind that need to hear from us. No business to do, no specific issues to discuss, just a call to say "Hello, how are you?"

I thought about several people last night that I really should call, friends who are alone, who are going through tough times, who need a long-distance hug, who are related and with whom I haven't talked for a long time.

No excuses. I have two thousand "free" minutes on my phone plan every month anywhere in Canada and the US. I can call and talk for a long time with two thousand minutes.

This morning's verses reminded me of the value of friends who stay close, even when "close" isn't physical.

The "preacher" writes: "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has …

Lemon by Cordelia Strube—The Review

Well, I finished the book I posted about yesterday. It's titled: Lemon and was written by Ryerson professor, Cordelia Strube.

It's a little ironic that I started reading Ecclesiates in my devotions this morning, the morning after I finished reading Strube's book. Far from being even remotely Christian, the story echoes Soloman's words as he begins to write: "'Meaningless, meaningless!' says the Teacher. 'Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless'" —Eccesiastes 1:2, NIV.

Lemon, or Limone, as she was named as a baby, is a teenager with more issues than a white rat has babies. Strube brilliantly develops her character. The girl doesn't know who her father is, has more "mothers" than she knows what to do with, all of whom have issues of their own. The book is a treatise on dysfunctionality at its highest level. There isn't a "well" person anywhere in sight.

Lemon had built up enough defenses behind which she hides …

Turning Lemons

I've been thinking through ways to build bridges to people who don't know the Lord. Since I love to read I was intrigued by an invitation in the local newspaper inviting people to join the public library's book club. The advertisement listed the name of the book that was to be discussed at tomorrow night's meeting. So I went over to the library a couple of weeks ago, added my name to the list of participants and borrowed the book. I'm hurrying to get it read in time and I confess it's been heavy going. The book is called, Lemon and was written by Cordelia Strube. It is not what I would normally pick up as recreational reading.

Lemon is brilliantly written, but it is raw. Lemon, or Limone, as she is supposed to be called, is a fractured teenage girl. I won't review the book for you because I haven't finished yet. But even though it has been tough reading, I am determined to finish and I confess that now, three-quarters of the way through the book, my inte…

Froggie's Voice

A little frog in a huge pond surrounded by multitudes of bigger and louder frogs doesn't seem to stand a chance of having his wee croak heard above the clamor.

So why bother to croak at all?

Can a frog not croak even when it seems no one can hear him?

Perhaps on the fringes of the pond, far away from our little frog, his voice will not be heard. Then again, there are those other frogs close by who will surely hear our froggie's voice. Perhaps they will listen and believe his words. Perhaps their croaks will change in pitch, delivering a different sound to the frogs that sit in crowded solitude around them. In turn those others might believe  and pass the word until at last, the sound of one little frog's voice reaches the outer fringes of the big pond.

So I ask the question again: Why bother to croak at all?

If the frog is focused on reaching the fringes with his tiny voice, he might become discouraged and not croak at all, his ardor dampened by the impossibilities. But i…

Lessons from an Ant

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Proverbs 4-6

I knew I didn't have the right picture* to go with my choice of Scripture for today, but a visit to stock.xchng fixed that problem. You can download free pictures from this site, Here is the result.


I'm reading through Proverbs at the moment and here are today's verses:

"Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little more sleep, a little more slumber, a little more folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man" —Proverbs 6:6-11, NIV.

Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow. right? Only because tomorrow might be too late. Circumstances change. What is possible today might not be possible tomorrow.  Then there is always the reality that tomorrow might never come for me, or …