Friday, July 19, 2013

AN OUTSTANDING GUIDE

     I'm home after a grand week's vacation on Canada's east coast. We toured parts of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island with others "from away" -Canadians, Americans, New Zealanders and Irish. In the days together we shared bits about life where we live, especially with those we broke bread with - all interesting and enjoyable folk - but, Olive, our guide, had lots to do with the holiday's success.

     A resident of Halifax, this lady is graced with people skills, a gift for story-telling, and an abundance of knowledge of the history, people and places of the Maritimes. She's tops in administration and organization as well, marshalling her brood on time to wherever they need to be. Popular with entrepreneurs of all sorts of enterprises, as her group we felt welcome wherever we went. We saw places and things we'd have missed without Olive.

     Travellers weigh the advantages and disadvantages of a tour versus going on their own. In human terms one or the other works best depending on circumstances. In the realm of the spirit, the guided tour wins hands down. When the One who knows the end from the beginning promises to instruct me and teach me in the way I should go (Psalm 32:8), why would I flounder around on my own? Why chance missing the awesome things God has for me?

     The great thing is our Guide is available 24/7. He cares about every minute detail and concern in our lives and has knowledge of events and times we humans cannot know. One day I found myself praying the right holiday, the right time, the right price. I hadn't even been thinking of a holiday! That morning I received an email from a special friend who was thinking of a holiday and praying about a travel companion. The Holy Spirit spoke my name to her. Our loving Guide made the connection and we had fun days together.

     Among tour guides for the eastern provinces, Olive stands out. For everyday living, wherever we are, the precious Holy Spirit is willing to be our guide for the entire journey, right through eternity. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

THE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT

     Aunt Frances' lemon loaf is a family favourite. You beat two eggs and blend 1/2 cup of softened butter and one cup of white sugar with the eggs. Gradually sift 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, one teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt into the batter alternately with 1/2 cup of milk, adding contents of the sifter first and last. Stir in the grated rind of one lemon and bake it in a loaf pan at 350 degrees for one hour. When you take the hot loaf from the oven, drizzle over the top 1/4 cup of white sugar dissolved in the juice on one lemon.

     The sweet and sour combination is yummy and every ingredient is needed, but if you skip the baking powder you will have a flat, tough loaf. The baking powder gives it life. It makes it rise. 

     I'm thinking that faith is to life what baking powder is to that loaf. In Ephesians 6:14-17 Paul lists what we need to have victory. He cites salvation, God's Word, truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, but the one he stresses as most essential is faith. Faith gives life to all the promises. In Hebrews 11:6 he says it's impossible to please God without faith. So we can know about salvation, deliverance, healing, peace, joy, strength for each day... all the good things God has provided for us, but we need these to be real in our lives.

     It's as simple as W. B. Leggett's children's chorus: "Faith is just believing what God says He will do." And Father God not only gives the gifts but the faith to receive them. In order to rise to experience the promises, stir in faith and each and every one of them is ours for the taking.