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Showing posts from October, 2016

Horsepower

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Today we don't think much about horsepower—as in the actual power of a horse!  But in Biblical times what the mighty steed was capable of was pretty awe-inspiring. Fans of Ben Hur will remember Charlton Heston's great chariot race.

These days we measure horsepower by what is under the hood. But even then, the fastest automobile is humbled compared to the power generated to launch missiles or space shuttles.

But we get the message when the psalmist writes: "His [God's] pleasure is not in the strength of the horse..." (Psalm 147:10). One horse power, or many, as beautiful as those may be, do not reach His highest standard. What's under the hood doesn't impress Him. Rocket fuel can't hold a candle to the sun. None of it holds up all the time, under every circumstance.

And I chuckle at the next part of the verse: "...nor his delight in the legs of a man." I was out this morning for a lovely walk through my new neighbourhood. I am grateful God h…

Snow White

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My friends in the north have already had their first skiff of snow. When I went downstairs to make my coffee this morning I noticed that the car had frost on it—the first of the season. The inevitable is happening. Winter happens. Be it mild or fierce, it is sure.

Just as surely comes the inevitable need to face a much bigger issue than frost and snow flurries. At some point in life every one of us has to face the offenses we have committed against God—what the Scripture calls sin.

One of the ladies we worked with in Caracas was always quick to remind us that David, often held up as a godly example, was not perfect. If Elizabeth knew nothing much else about the Bible she certainly knew the story of David's sin against Bathsheba and her husband, Uriah.

God did not seek to hide the sin of one of His own. In recording David's sin, and its consequences, the Almighty also provided the backdrop for a wonderful description of the remedy for that sin.

Psalm 51 describes David's j…

Happy The Home

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In 1979, a gal by the name of Lillian Heron gave me a copy of the New International Version of the Bible. I have pretty much worn its cover and its pages out over the years. It has become my favourite copy of the many I have. I suspect it is my favourite because the print is large and the margins are wide, allowing me to write notes throughout.

When I come to Proverbs 3, just about all thirty-five of the verses have an asterisk beside them. At some point I went through the chapter and put a mark beside all the benefits of wisdom that the chapter mentions. Proverbs is a book of wise advice, but this chapter specifically focuses on the good stuff that comes when godly wisdom becomes a chief characteristic of a believer.

Today as I sit in my new office with a new desk and a new chapter in my life's book before me, I was reminded of the words of Proverbs 3:33: "...he blesses the home of the righteous."

This new place is a great gift (even if the smoke alarms go off in the m…

Ready to Follow

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Some of the best known verses of the Bible are found in Psalm 37. We cling to Psalm 37:4-5, claiming its promises particularly when faced with decisions that need making or challenges that need facing.

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this."

In their context these verses are words of encouragement to those who are surrounded by evil and might be tempted to cave to the status quo, or wonder if it is worth it to follow God when it seems like the odds are on the side of evil men rather than on the side of good men.

Surrounding the verses we usually claim are these: "Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit you…

The Real King-Maker

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It would be safe to say that our friends to the south are feeling some anxiety as November approaches. I don't blame them. How do you choose when there appears to be no choice? And we in the north have our problems too when it comes to those in political and economic authority who have lost contact with the real world of their constituents—if they were ever connected at all!

Well, Isaiah has an observation for all of us who are feeling a little, or a lot, overwhelmed.

"Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told to you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
He [God] sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
 and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
He brings princes to nought
and reduces rulers of this world to nothing.
No sooner are they planted,
no sooner are they sown,
no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,

Faithful

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It kind of snuck up on me. The deep greens of the bush beyond the town became yellow with the occasional tinge of red without me really noticing the change. With all the busyness of sorting and packing, I had to consciously stop to smell the crispness in the air and mentally process the arrival of Fall.

And here we are at Thanksgiving weekend.

The list is long of things to be thankful for. But this morning God's faithfulness rises to the surface of my mind along with this old hymn:

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Chorus: Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, me…

Hear Him Roar!

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It was, to my mind, an unfortunate choice of title. A very popular author has published a 12-day devotional entitled Making Sense of God. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he probably didn't think through the implications of that title: what it suggests about him and what it suggests about God. If he had written six volumes of 2,000 pages each on the subject he still would not have met the mandate suggested in that title. It wouldn't put a dent in our understanding of God. A 12-day devotional doesn't cut it and to suggest that it could is presumptuous even if the author really didn't mean it.

Isaiah sums it up: "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts'" (Isaiah 55:8, 9).

Paul follows up with this in Romans 11:33, "Oh, the depths of the riches of the wis…

Blessed

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I remember that Sunday as if it were yesterday. The pastor's wife, Mrs. Wood, was in charge of the Sunday School department of which I was a part. I think it was the Primary Department so I was somewhere between six and eight years old. My task for that particular morning was to recite Psalm 1 from memory. I did it—and got a prize for doing it (I still have that bookmark)! To this day I can recite that chapter of the Bible. That experience, (among others) makes me an advocate for Scripture memorization in Sunday School. If kids don't remember anything else they learn in Sunday School, make sure they have the Bible in their heads. Sooner or later, it will filter down to their hearts as the Spirit of God works in their lives. The Lord promises that His Word will never return to Him without accomplishing what it was sent to do (Isaiah 55:11).

Psalm 1 begins with any preacher's ideal three-point sermon.

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked o…

Ever Dwelling, Ever Indwelt

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I attended a funeral this morning—another one. They seem all too frequent these days. And while this one was again a triumphant celebration of a life well-lived and the assurance of a glorious meeting with Jesus, it was still a sad event. For those left behind even the promise of a "some day" reunion comes wrapped in the black ribbon of grief. I spoke with another friend who just days ago lost her grandson and leaves soon for yet another funeral. There are no words for that kind of pain...

...except His words.

Battered by circumstances and emotions beyond his control, David writes: "...in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock" (Psalm 27:5).

Just prior to this verse David asks a favour of the Lord. He says: "One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to …

Be Still

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Change. It's never easy to deal with. Whether those changes are minor or major, they bring with them certain consequences. Some of us deal with those consequences without too much trouble. Others struggle a little more. But we all struggle.

When Abby and Lou Lou came to Canada from Venezuela, I was told that, once released from their carriers, they would likely find some place to hide and stay hidden for up to two weeks. When we released them, they ran to the nearest closet. That was expected. But, much to everyone's surprise, within 45 minutes they were out making themselves at home as though they had always lived in their new quarters. The change caused some stress, but not much.

Jesus knew that His disciples were about to face a huge change in their lives. In fact, there would not simply be one change, but several, to be confronted. He was heading to the cross and that would be traumatic for them. After all, they had walked with Him for three years. And they were still cli…