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Showing posts from July, 2015

All God's Children

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When I was in my early teens the grandmother of a good friend told me that it would have been better if I had never been born. She explained her opinion by saying that my birth had been too hard on my mother. Since I came so fast that I was almost born in a taxicab, I knew that the actual birth wasn't the issue. And I wasn't a bad kid. So I assume that raising a baby when you are past forty was what she was referring to.

It's all, as they say, "water under the bridge." But I guess the recent discussion about post-birth abortions ("infanticide" to most of us) was what got me thinking about that long ago incident with my friend's grandmother. The "logic" to post-birth abortions is that if a baby is deemed to present a hardship to the family, its death is therefore justifiable. I'm sure glad my mother and father didn't consider me a hardship, and therefore disposable, because I came late in their lives!

Sadly, recent news about th…

O, My Heart!

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Few of us would know what it feels like to be pursued by someone intent upon wiping us off the face of the earth. David knew the feeling. Early, in the days before he became king over Israel, Saul chased him around the countryside with a vigor and determination that would have been more appropriate if applied to his dedication to the Lord. Saul came close to meeting his goal on several occasions, only to be thwarted by God. David was protected from Saul’s fierce anger.

But most of us know what it means to be pursued by other enemies besides the physical ones. Sometimes those enemies even live inside us. The popular saying, “Follow your heart” is the subject of Jeremiah’s words: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (17:9). We can’t even trust our own hearts to not lead us into trouble. Doing what “feels good” isn’t necessarily what IS good. David would write, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me” (Psalm 51:1…

The Crosswalks of Uncertainty

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A friend was driving me home yesterday after we had gone out for lunch. As we waited for the light to change, an SUV, ignoring the red light, raced through the intersection, just missing a child who was crossing the street. The driver did not even slow down. The incident reminded me of the times I have come close to being struck at the same intersection by drivers watching oncoming traffic but not paying any attention to the pedestrians using the crosswalk.

With yesterday’s incident fresh in my mind, this verse from Psalm 54 was especially meaningful this morning: “Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life” (54:4).

I have a neighbour who often responds to my greeting: “How are you?” by saying, “Well, I got out of bed this morning.” And most of us have heard the old chestnut: “I checked the obituaries in the paper this morning and my name wasn’t there so I guess I’m okay.” As we age we seem to spend more and more time looking over our shoulders wondering when death i…

An Attitude of Gratitude

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There were several things that stood out as I read Psalm 50 this morning. But three verses in particular reminded me of a weakness in my life that needs constant nourishing.

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (50:14, 15).

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (50:23).

We naturally focus on the promises. Deliverance in the midst of trouble and salvation are good things which we can anticipate receiving from God. His deliverance of us brings Him glory. How He provides for us is a jumping-off point in our witness to others. When people hear from us what God has done in our lives He is glorified.

But there are two other items mentioned that glorify God: 1. lives that are lived to honour Him and, 2. thankful hearts. The first is covered by the phrases “perform your v…

Taking Pleasure

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It’s a verse that most of us know by heart. We’ve repeated it over and over, claiming its promise for everything imaginable.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). To delight is to take pleasure in, or to be pleased with; in this case to take pleasure in the Lord or to be pleased with the Lord.

I can think of a lot of things that would qualify as “the desires of my heart.” And I am sure that over the years I have claimed all kinds of things based on this verse. But this morning, after I had read through the chapter several times and stopped to think about some of the other verses, I returned to verse 4 again. In fact, I returned to it several times. I made this note beside the verse:

The relationship between the believer and the Lord is what ultimately leads to the desires of the heart being fulfilled. And what desire is better than an intimate relationship with the Lord?

The eternal circle. Finding my pleasure in an intimate relati…

The Four Corners

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North, south, east and west—the four “corners” of the world. Those of generations long since past believed that the earth was flat. If you traveled far enough in any direction you were bound to fall off the edge. We know better now. The corners are curves and they intersect somewhere, creating a never-ending connection, a circle of life and history.

Psalm 36 reminded me of God’s never-ending circle and the wonderful fact that He has all the “corners” covered.

Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O LORD” (vss 5, 6).

Love

Faithfulness

Righteousness

Judgment


It’s all there—the complete package, all inclusive.

Other parts of the psalm describe these elements, as essential to our spiritual well-being as the classical elements are to our physical well-being, a needful as earth, fire, water, and air.

How precious is your steadfast lo…

God Keep Our Land

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Just a couple of days ago Canada, my home country, celebrated its 148th birthday. Tomorrow our neighbours to the south will celebrate their Independence Day. So I thought it was interesting that my reading this morning should take me to Psalm 33:12, which says: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage.” Of course the psalmist was referring to Israel as God’s covenant people, but both Canada and the US were founded on Christian principles and continue to EXPECT divine favour as privileged first-world nations.

How quickly we forget the fate of an Israel that abandoned her God.

Over forty years ago, Francis Schaeffer wrote a little book called Death in the City. Even back then he preached the message that his beloved Europe was under the judgment of God for having abandoned Him. He gave the lectures upon which the book was based while on tour in the US. and applied the statements he made about Europe to North America.

Our drift away from…