Wednesday, May 15, 2013

ADVANCING FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT

     In spite of sporadic signs of reluctance in this part of the world, spring is settling in. Between lovely days of shrubs vibrant with colour, we've had snow, cold winds, hail... Nevertheless new lambs are munching with their mothers in green pastures, and everything that has life is growing.

     Often new life is not without struggle. A few years ago dedicated volunteers planted daffodils along two sides of the Centre for the Arts property. For each gorgeous bloom in that parade of yellow, a bulb was buried in the soil. It drew moisture and nutrients from the earth until conditions were right to produce a shoot that would grow up into the light, develop a green stem, leaves, a bud and finally a flower.

     The dark time when no progress can be seen is a crucial part of the process. Our dark times may be ones of uncertainty. Coping with unexpected changes or with unknown factors that will affect our circumstances is difficult. En route to the achievement of a goal there may be a long stretch of hard work with no significant results. Whatever we face, the period prior to stepping out into the sunlight of the desired outcome cannot be sidestepped any more than the bulb can bypass winter.

     Hope through times of darkness is like the core life of the flower hidden in the bulb. While hope is alive within us it can sprout and grow until we are encouraged and motivated to persevere. The Apostle Paul spoke of hoping for what we do not see. (Romans 8:25) In Romans 15:13 he said, "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (NKJV) Spring is a season of hope. The amazing new life and beauty of nature delight and inspire us to press forward. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A LESSON FROM A SPRUCE CONE

     My breath caught as I glanced out the window to spot a mouse on the driveway a few days ago. My brain received the impression transmitted to it by my eyes and concluded, "It's a mouse!" Then the head talk: "No, it can't be. Check it again. Oh, it's a cone."

     Some things are obvious; no room for argument. The first dandelion is what it is. Others could stand some prayerful consideration. Especially in the area of relationships what we think we know may or may not be true. If Lucifer has retained any significant strength, it is in deception. Jesus declared, "He is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44 NIV)

     If it were possible to untangle the web of a broken relationship back to its source how often would we discover some subtle suggestion he's made to one person against another? An outright lie or a half-truth, either has the potential to create suspicion that one has been wronged. From his innuendos in Eden to the present day, Satan has introduced thoughts to divide and destroy. The most crucial are those directed against man's relationship with God. Anything he can inject to dispel our trust and awareness of God's love delights the enemy. We can safely assume that a thought leading in that direction originated with him.
 
     A huge hunk of life's difficulties might be avoided if we applied the precept we've know since childhood, "In everything do to others what you would have them do to you." (Matthew 7:12 NIV) Every one of us would prefer that others take a second look before assuming that some accusation is true. If that spruce cone had a mind, even it might wish to be recognized for what it is rather than being mistaken for a rodent.