Tuesday, December 15, 2015

WHAT ARE YOU WORTH?

     Discovery of gold brought fame to this part of Colorado in the 1890's. Millions of dollars of the precious commodity were produced and gold is still mined in the area. Winfield Scott Stratton, an itinerant carpenter with a passion for prospecting, was one whose persistence in searching for this treasure was rewarded. Stratton and others had to see the potential hidden in veins of quartz and gravel in the mountainous land.

     The quest of these individuals is a picture of God's search for man. The prospectors of the 19th century had to place such value on the treasure to invest labour, time and money with no assurance of success. Some left their families, homes, lands and work seeking riches.

     We have no understanding of what the Lord Jesus left to come to this earth. In John 17:5 He speaks of the glory He shared with His Father before the world was created. In Matthew 13:44 He gives the illustration of a man who found a treasure hidden in a field and sold everything He had to buy the field.

     How could He see such worth in us that He would leave Heaven, labour as a carpenter, then serve as an itinerant preacher so we can know the love of His Father for mankind? Since he gave us free will, Jesus has no guarantee that we will accept what He came to bring.

     In Matthew 13:46 He describes a pearl merchant who discovered an exceptional one and used all he had to purchase it. That must have been some pearl! Like the treasure hunter and the pearl merchant, Jesus has an eye for value. When we consider what He paid for us, we have to be worth more than we can imagine! 

     Father God gave His only Son. I cannot conceive of giving the life of a child, especially for ones who don't even care. And the Lord Jesus died willingly. Both paid the ultimate price. Jesus sees what others, including ourselves, cannot see. He sees great worth and beauty. 

     In Malachi 3:17 God speaks of the day when He will make up His jewels. As a child I loved the chorus - "Like the stars of the morning, His bright crown adorning, they will shine in their beauty, bright gems for His crown." To our God, each and every one of us is a gem of inestimable worth.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

HANDS AND FEET

     In warmer days, Kesti offers classes in therapeutic riding. Clients of various ages develop balance and co-ordination on horseback and have fun in the process. Even some older participants need help to mount a horse because of physical challenges. Several volunteers are always nearby to help and protect each one.

     A few days ago on Thanksgiving in the United States, Randy and Kesti, the owners of Christ Haven Lodge, welcomed a bus load of dear people to enjoy a scrumptious meal served in the dining room. Music, encouraging words, and a warm fire in the fireplace helped make a day that could have been difficult become special.

     We live in a world with many who are suffering physically, emotionally and financially. Jesus spoke of the Samaritan who cared for the man who was robbed, beaten and left for dead on the roadside. (Luke 10:30-37) The victim, a picture of beaten and dying humanity, was a stranger to the Samaritan. He tended the man's wounds, lifted him onto the animal he'd been riding, took him to an inn and paid for his care and accommodation. 

    The Samaritan's animal, Kesti's horses, the bus that brought folks to Christ Haven all had a part in God's huge plan to minister to people He loves. But He needs us - able-bodied followers of Christ with voices to share the good news of God's Kingdom, hands to do, feet to go where He longs to help, strengthen and encourage.

     We read in 1 John 4:17 that Christians in this world are as Jesus is. At times we may be more like the chap who prompted the account of the good Samaritan when he asked Jesus to define who our neighbours are... until we begin to understand how greatly we are loved. Then we aren't looking for a guide to what we ought to do. Secure in our Saviour's love we can be channels of His compassion, more than willing to do anything we can to help others overcome the challenges and difficulties they face.  

     

Sunday, November 15, 2015

NO SHODDY WORKMANSHIP

     No one likes to be "had". Sometimes we need to take a closer look. I have a sweater (known by different names in other cultures - You may call it a jumper?) that looks good on the outside. Inside it's something else. Lengths of yarn that have not been interwoven catch and snag. The manufacturer has taken shortcuts.

     I want top quality inside and out, but if I have to choose I will go for the inside. A house that looks great on the outside may catch a buyer's eye. If the builder has cut corners in construction and materials, it won't stand up over the years no matter how attractive the exterior is.

     When the prophet, Samuel, was sent to anoint the man who was to succeed Saul as King, Jesse's eldest son looked like the prime candidate. Eliab was not the one and God told  Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (ISamuel 16:7)

     Our loving Father sees us from the inside out. When we receive the Lord Jesus as our Saviour, God recreates the spirit within us. Our spirit is brand new and just like His. God looks at us and sees us forgiven and righteous, filled with His authority and power, made whole in every respect. Every attribute of His Holy Spirit is deposited in His child. The love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control of the Holy Spirit is ours.

     Our souls - our minds, wills, and emotions - are affected by what we encounter in the natural world. If those influences don't line up with what God has said in His Word, we are able to refuse them and choose to live in our spiritual inheritance. Our bodies experience the benefits of the good things He has provided if the Spirit is allowed first place. If we tune into the world and the enemy's message our physical man suffers.

     Father God is in the business of transforming believers' minds, wills and emotions. Paul encourages us to "be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12:2 NKJV) The Holy Spirit can enable us to live in victory as we allow the Word of God to do a work within us. Our God does not produce anything of inferior quality. In Philippians 1:6 Paul says we can be confident, "that He who has begin a good work in you will complete it." (NKJV) 

     As we co-operate with His Spirit within us, God will strengthen us to become all He has destined us to be. We won't look one way on the outside, but entirely different within. We can have the ability to live in this world according to  what we believe in our hearts. I want to be the real deal in this life, not ashamed when others catch a glimpse of what's inside of me.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

FOREVER

     Have you ever tried to get your mind around the idea of "forever"? Most dictionaries connect "for" with "relating to" or "in reference to", and "ever" with "always". This could imply that "forever" is not just "without end", but also "without beginning". The whole concept almost nudges my thinker to "tilt".

     Everything we know in this natural world has a beginning and an end. I love watching the antics of wee kittens, full of new life, tumbling over each other. Cute as they are, they will grow, mature and die.Our physical bodies will as well, but Jesus said, "whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:15 NKJV) 

     Eternal, forever, always existing... Always is more than without beginning or ending. It also has a middle, a now! In John 17:3 we read, "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (NKJV) We can know God now. We can enjoy a relationship today with Father who loves us and is able to help us with everything in this life,

      I wish I could adjust the "now" for some kittens that live down the road. A lady has fed their mother for at least two years and, last I heard, has still not been able to get close to her. The mom and her kittens eat the food that Carolee puts out for them. I would love to cuddle those little ones, but they run to a hiding place when I try to go near.

     Father God provides for our needs too, but that does not create an especially close relationship. If we can set aside anything untrue that we've believed about Him, anything that may cause us to keep our distance, we can enjoy a parent-son and parent-daughter bond right now. What He's prepared for us after this part of "forever" is over will be greater than we can imagine, but I'm claiming all that He wants me to enjoy with Him in the "now" phase. How about you? 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

THE LITTLE RED HOUSE

     I don't know what it is about this little house that draws me. It is almost hidden by the trees that have grown up around it. I often think of my first grade teacher when I walk past. That dear lady loved everything about nature. Nestled in the woods, it looks like her kind of house except...

     It is completely closed up. Every window is covered. There is a high wire fence, The gate has several padlocks. Even the owners must face a major procedure just to get onto the property.

     We know that the Lord Jesus was welcome at the home of his friends in Bethany. (John 12:1,2) I want my home to be open to the Lord and His friends, but the Bible does not just speak of homes made of wood and bricks and stone.

     In the last hours Jesus had with His disciples, He said,"If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him and We will come to him and make Our home with him. (John 14:23 NKJV) He was speaking of coming to live within us. In Revelation 3:20 we see Him knocking, waiting to be invited in.

     Why do people have fences and locked gates? Why do they board up a house? Why do they put up "No Trespassing" signs on their hearts when someone shares a message of God's love for them and invites them to receive Jesus into their lives as Lord and Saviour?

     Satan would like people to believe they will lose out if they open to Christ, but it is Satan who steals. His lies rob people of every good thing the King of Kings graciously longs to give. If they somehow came to know even a fraction of the treasure Jesus offers, the padlocks would be opened, fences torn down and doors flung open to receive Him into their hearts and homes.

     

Thursday, October 1, 2015

MARVELOUS LIGHT

     The photos don't do them justice - black skies to the north and east, brilliant blue skies to the south and west. They presented a striking contrast of light and darkness.

     We read in Exodus of the time when there was light in the homes of the children of Israel, but darkness over Egypt, darkness that could be felt. (Exodus 10:21-23) Perhaps you've visited an underground cavern and experienced the complete black out when all lights are shut off for a moment. It is not a darkness that can be felt but it is total. The guide strikes one match and that tiny flame dispels the intense darkness. Light is powerful.

     The rebellion of Satan and of man brought darkness into our world. When the Lord Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane, He admitted to the religious leaders, "This is your hour, and the power of darkness." (Luke 22:53 NKJV) That power seemed to have reached its peak as Jesus hung on the cross and the land was dark from midday for three hours.


     Rather it was the ultimate victory of the One who came to bring light into the world. (John 12:46) Just as we choose to focus on the sunlight or the dark clouds, we are free to align ourselves with Christ who Peter describes as "Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." (1 Peter 2:9 NKJV) 

.....And not only light in terms of personal freedom from the dominion of Satan, but a source of light to those around us. Anyone enjoying the blessings of living with Christ can share all that He has given, the truth of His Word, with others. Like one match lit in an underground cave, a single believer sharing the gospel can be a powerful force against darkness in his or her sphere of influence. 

     

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A CONTINUAL FEAST

     No question... those of us living at this lodge have a continual feast, and it's not just food, although the food is great. At every meal we enjoy a feast for the eyes as well. Only our loving Father could bring dear ones from all over the world to this spectacular corner of His earth. The view from the dining room - forest, mountains, the sky's shifting colours... we are blessed.

     At the same time, as students at Charis Bible College, there is a table laden to nourish our minds. Course upon course of rich teaching from God's Word is served up. Isaiah spoke of receiving knowledge precept upon precept and line upon line. (Isaiah 28:9-10) In portions of just the right size, we can digest revelations of precious truth.

     As we develop skills in sharing what we've been taught we can also be fed as the Lord Jesus was. After ministering to the Samaritan lady at the well in Sychar, He was not anxious for the natural food his disciples brought to Him. Doing whatever His Father asked satisfied His appetite. (John 4:31-34) 


     David said, "The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Psalm 145:15-16 NKJV).  The chickadees feast on seeds in the pine cones, Every creature finds in nature its life-giving food. For man, God's rich provision for spirit, soul and body is always available.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

     This morning I begin the return journey to Colorado for a second year at Charis Bible College. Summer at home was great. I've enjoyed time with family and friends and my faithful house buddy, Mr. Whiskers. He is content at home on the quiet paths of our neighbourhood. 

     When I started off last year I had no idea of what my experience would be. It was over the top better than anything I could have imagined. Today I look forward to studying again with faculty and classmates I know and love. Still, even though the location and many folk are familiar, it will be a fresh adventure.

     Each day brings never before encountered happenings wherever we are. The hours pass like the miles as we drive down a highway and the journey of life unfolds. We have expectations of what is ahead, but no guarantees. We can move forward as long as we can see what is immediately before us.

     Centuries ago it was the same. The psalmist trusted God's word for direction. Psalm 119:105 states, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (NKJV) The author of Proverbs said our path will continue to get brighter as we travel on. (Proverbs 4:18) What a blessing that we can be led by the One who knows the road!

     David said, "All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth. (Psalm 25:10 NKJV) On a woodland path or a multi-lane highway we can enjoy the journey with our loving Guide.
     

Saturday, August 15, 2015

SEEDT-I-M-E AND HARVEST

     Are you noticing fruit and vegetable stands opening for business around the countryside? Gardeners and farmers in this area are beginning to see the results of months of diligent care as local produce and field crops come into their prime. They cultivated the ground, planted seed,and rooted weeds out from between the rows waiiting for the results of their labour.

     Many years ago our neighbour let my brother help plant potatoes. They prepared a trench and set the pieces in the soil. Harold talked to Paul about the eyes needing to be looking up and that each piece should be about 12 inches from the next. He explained that the sprout would grow up through the brown earth and become a plant that needed room to get big.

     Paul was in Harold's garden the next morning digging up those pieces to see if what he'd been told was happening. He believed what Harold told him and he wanted to see the change. He had to realize that, hidden below the surface, the seed would grow. All he could do was wait until it developed enough to appear above the ground. That takes patience.

     James taught believers that we have to be patient like farmers waiting for their crops. (James 5:7) Our seed is the Word of God. It has life in it. Proverbs 4:22 speaks of God's words being life to those who find them. We track down a passage that relates to our need, read it and meditate on the meaning. That's the seedt-i-m-e... and time is necessary.

     Most often we don't see an immediate answer, The words are like that hunk of potato in the ground. We think about the promise and begin to understand its meaning with our minds. The Holy Spirit helps our understanding grow until we know the truth of it in our hearts. Even after receiving the assurance of faith, time may pass before we see the answer.

     Father, give us patience to let the seed of Your word grow in our hearts.If we rest in Your truth and let our faith grow, we can be as sure of seeing that need met as the farmer is of reaping his harvest.

     

Saturday, August 1, 2015

GAINING GROUND

     Each spring I love to plant a garden patch under the beech tree with rosy impatiens. Once they are established it's easy to just let them be. Not a wise plan. Seems like anything good in this world has something contending against it before long. When I checked on the impatiens every bit of what had been bare earth between the plants was filled with healthy green weeds.

     Unless we resist whatever unwanted stuff comes along it generally seems well able to take over. We need to know what we are fighting against and what resources we have to combat it. From the moment mankind relinquished our God-given authority to Satan he has brought negative forces against us in every area of our lives. 

     Centuries ago the prophet, Hosea, told God's people they were destroyed because they lacked knowledge. (Hosea 4:6) and we're in the same fix today. We struggle in our own strength against physical, emotional and spiritual circumstances not knowing the remedy has already been supplied. 

     The Lord Jesus took every sin and every sickness on Himself. With Christ as personal Saviour and Lord we are empowered with His strength to overcome the attacks of the enemy. If we recognize that the case Satan presents is a lie, we can stand in faith, secure in the truth of God's Word and confident of the best solution.

     There is a large rock covered with moss on our hiking trail. To me it demonstrates that even with all the strength of God's Kingdom available to us, if we remain passive, the negative things of this world will settle on us.

     Colossians 1:13 declares that we are delivered from the power of darkness. I am able to pull the weeds that grow up around the impatiens, but I have to use my ability and pull them out. Believers in Christ are equipped to defeat evil power if we will act in faith. In God's strength we can continue to move forward and live in the land Christ purchased for us.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

ALWAYS FLOWING

     The sound of rippling water drew me to the edge of a culvert built under our hiking trail. The tiny stream flows down the slope to the river in the valley. From the river to the Great Lakes to the oceans it carries life all along its route.

     In this country, for the most part, we take water for granted. We would be shocked if it did not run when we turn the tap. It's easy to expect water on demand when we are so tuned into this natural world.

     The life-giving water of the spiritual realm is equally available to us. It takes resisting the distractions of the world to tap into this life source and quench our thirst. In the Gospel of John 7:37-39, we're told that rivers of living water will flow from the Holy Spirit within those who believe in Christ.

     Like the natural water cycle, through the Holy Spirit, there is a continual cycle of God's mercy and love to anyone needing refreshment. As Christ's followers allow the Spirit of God to flow through them they can share the living water Jesus spoke of in John 4:10 with others. 

     So many who long for a cool refreshing drink haven't heard that it is available and free for the taking.Seasons of drought or floods may come in our natural world, but in the Kingdom of God there is always a steady, gentle flow to bring life to the thirsty. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

WHO'S ENTITLED?

     My friend sent pictures of the fuzzy-antlered young buck helping himself to the leaves on her shrub. His on-camera expression showed no concern. I could imagine him saying, "What's the problem? Had a hankering for fresh greens. They're just right. Some reason I shouldn't eat these?"

     In our culture people do have a problem with those who think they have a right to whatever they feel should be theirs whether they've earned it or not. In God's Kingdom it is impossible to earn all the good things He has prepared for His family. His blessings are ours for the taking. 

     Unlike this world's system, our accomplishments do not qualify us to receive from Him. It can be a challenge to let go of this way of thinking. We accept the Lord Jesus as Saviour by faith. Then we strive to be good enough to please Him in our daily lives. All He asks is that we receive His love and respond, loving Him in return.

     Father God has not hidden what His children are entitled to. A human father outlines in his will what he is leaving to his family. Our heavenly Father has stated in writing all that He provided for us. It is ours because of who we are, not because of what we've done.

     God's Word says clearly that every born-again child of God is a co-heir with Christ. We read the promises but hang back from receiving not having the confidence to claim our birthright. If we study His new testament to discover who we are and what is ours in Christ, each one can step into an incredible inheritance.

     My friends did not appreciate that four-legged visitor munching their bush. I don't applaud lots of things Mr. Whiskers does, but I have to admire his ability to enjoy what he feels he has a right to. I could use a bit more of that as I move forward in the ways of God's Kingdom. How about you?

(Deer photo courtesy of Janet Beavers)

Monday, June 15, 2015

DINNER PLANS

     Some of us like things to work according to schedule. I have a touch of that. When I invite friends for dinner and tell them the time we will eat, I prepare what I can ahead and plan the rest of the cooking so things will be ready to serve when I promised. Even with minor glitches I can usually be reasonably close. If my guests don't allow for hiccups in their doings and come late, some things may be a tad over-cooked; some may be mush.

     In the account of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath, (1 Kings 17:9) God tells Elijah where to find the lady who will prepare food for him during the famine. When he arrives at the gate of the city there she is gathering sticks for a fire. God arranged the invitation, and the guest and hostess were both right on schedule.

     A dinner isn't crucial, but in our lives, plans and timing do matter. God cares about every detail. From the positioning and movement of each element of our universe to the number of petals in a particular type of flower we see design and purpose. And it is man that Father God cares most about in all of His creation.

     For each of us, He has an awesome plan. We have no problem in messing up the "whens" and "wheres". What a blessing that He is patient and, in His love, will wait so He can be gracious to us. (Isaiah 30:18) Our lives can be all that He wants them to be. If we are willing to take a close look at the invitation and follow its directions we will be guests at the most amazing banquet ever planned. (Revelation 19:9)
 

Monday, June 1, 2015

WASHING AND WEEDING

     With warmer days due to continue for a few months any excuses for not tending to things that need to be cleaned up inside and out fizzle. Indoor projects took priority my first week back in Ontario. I began tackling outdoor jobs the second week. The state of the gardens in spring proves that things left to themselves do not get better. Even the rhubarb whose nub pokes through the ground with the first bit of warm sunshine will go to seed unless we keep cutting its stalks.

     The perennial beds are the trickiest. Before the tulips lose their petals, I can be sure to find an eager weed that grows tall and produces lots of yellow flowers blooming wherever it finds a spot of bare earth. It's easy to pull out, but gets its revenge by leaving an orange stain on jeans, tee-shirts, any fabric it manages to contact.

     A weed like that sneaks into the garden and gets established before we realize the threat. At first there's just one. It's attractive. Then its offspring appear in amazing numbers and the battle begins.

     Our enemy operates the same way. He brings something against us that appears harmless. Not recognizing its potential we give it ground until it threatens to take over. God's Word tells us the land is ours. He gives us all we need to obtain it, but we have to fight.

     In the world and in our personal circumstances, we face opposition. Ultimately everything satan brings against us backfires on him, but until all evil forces are finally bound, we have to be alert and willing to keep on weeding out any insidious element that tries to take root.

It's not what Father God intended for us, but it's the way things will be in this world until the Lord Jesus assumes His rightful position here and the enemy is bound forever.

Friday, May 15, 2015

COMMENCEMENT

     Commencement, a term we don't hear often, was used by a member of the faculty at the third year graduation exercises this past week. In high school we looked forward to commencement each year. Awards were given for all different sorts of achievements, but I don't recall anyone commenting on the meaning of the term and I had not really thought about it.

     To finish one course and graduate to another level is great, but a commencement is a whole new beginning. That's exciting! 

     In nature things don't just graduate. The wild flowers produce seeds, drop them to the ground and a wee plant sprouts. In the spirit a new life begins when the seed of God's Word finds good ground in a heart open to His love. Not just a fixed up life, but a totally new one. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

    The person who existed before was crucified with Christ, buried with Him, resurrected with Him and seated with Him in the heavens. (Ephesians 2:6) Every single thing that could have grieved God and bound someone with guilt and condemnation is gone from the record as if it never happened. A new life begins.

    From the moment of our spiritual birth, we have a fresh start. The Gospel is about our future. God's love and mercy is renewed to us each morning. (Lamentations 3:22,23) 

     It's a treat to see little creatures beginning their adventure of living in the spring although we know their lives will just follow a natural cycle. Love that at the end of each day, we can anticipate a commencement in the morning, a brand new beginning with Christ, assured of His mercy and grace for eternity.

(Photos of the barrel cactus and goslings courtesy of Janet Beavers)   

Friday, May 1, 2015

CAN'T IMAGINE

      "You find out who you are in Christ in your first year at Charis." All it took was this simple statement by a graduate student one morning at breakfast. The Holy Spirit used those words and a whole new way of life opened up to me.

     It was July 2014. I had come to Woodland Park, Colorado to attend the Summer Family Bible Conference at Charis Bible College. The teaching was great. I met wonderful people. It was interesting to visit a part of the continent that was new to me, but it was just a visit. Life with family and friends in my Canadian village was good. Ranch land, pine forest, a cabin in the mountains, college at this time in my life... none of this was on my radar.

     In every way all of it has been better than I could have dreamed. Paul tells us no one has seen or heard or even thought of the things God has planned for those who love Him. (I Corinthians 2:9) The preparations are in the works before we are born, throughout our lifetimes and eternity.

     The almost too good to be true news is that God does not love only the ones who love Him. He loves every single person drawing breath. Many are struggling to find what will fulfill and satisfy. Those who choose to receive His love and allow Him to lead them can embark on an adventure they  never could have conceived.


     God knows each of us better than we know ourselves. He knows what will bring us joy and peace. The sun has not set on this precious day of grace. There is still time to enter into the relationship He welcomes, time to come to know and love Him, time to experience life better than we could ever imagine.

         

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

RE-CONNECT

     A few days ago an unusual silence fell in this bunkie. Nothing was running. The CD player, alarm clock, microwave all had blank faces. At 7:00 p.m. it was still daylight so there was no reason for lights to be on in any of the nearby buildings. I texted a friend to learn the power was on everywhere except in this cottage.

     With a high amp hair blower I have been known to trip a breaker if the wrong combination of things electrical happens to kick in at the same time - in this case, not guilty. If there has been pioneer blood in my ancestral line, it petered out before I came on the scene. Lights, warmth, hot water, my computer, music, hair blower, curling brush, large appliances... love them all.

     A break in the line that conducts power into the bunkie was the culprit. No matter how much power the source contains, if the electricity can't get from there to where we need it, nothing works.

     The power of God is unlimited. That supply is available to each one of His children to keep every single thing we need running. The conduit is faith. Fear, doubt, unbelief, resentment, jealousy, unforgiveness, many different things can cut off the flow. Help us, Holy Spirit, to be aware of any hindrance we should deal with. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for giving Your life. In You we have the perfect solution to clear out anything that could prevent the power from coming through.     

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

THE BETTER THING

     One afternoon in spring break I visited Cave of the Winds. The views at the top of the site were spectacular. No wonder the enemy took the Lord Jesus high up on a mountain to tempt Him with the kingdoms of this world. (Luke 4:5-8) To look down on God's creation from such a vantage point is exhilarating. 

     Jesus of Nazareth, the man, knew the inspired words of the prophets. Satan's offer could not entice Him. Jesus was not about to worship any other than His Father God. Had He accepted He would have forfeited an infinitely greater Kingdom for a temporary one. Worse, He would be estranged from the One who forty days before identified Jesus as the Son He loved. (Matthew 3:17)

     We face that choice continually. Do we want the world or Father's love? If a device existed, some supernatural weigh scale, on one side of which we could place everything of this world, when God's love was placed on the other, the world's stuff would zing into space at the impact.
 
     What does every living being crave? Just show a bit of affection to any pet. Our dogs, cats, all animals we care for, thrive on it. How much more a child? In the natural realm any adult who has sacrificed love for success may one day agree. Only genuine love satisfies.

     In the spiritual realm there's no question. The enemy's offer includes zero love. Satan wants worship to gratify himself. Father God embodies love... unconditional, selfless love, and if that was not enough, He also "gives us richly all things to enjoy." (1 Timothy 6:17 NKJV) He leaves the choice to us. Why not choose the better thing?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

ABUNDANCE

     Now and then a day of snow; cold temperatures at dawn and dusk, relative warmth midday... that pretty much describes the way of winter in the mountains of Colorado this winter. Sunshine and blue skies outnumbered grey ones many times over. Except for those brief patches of snow and bitter cold the season has been kind to both man and animal.

     With hunting banned in this area, the deer graze without fear in the woods and wide expanses of pasture land. Father God provides for the wildlife. At the lodge the horses and pets are sure to have plenty of food. Some folks may not be diligent looking after the creatures in their care, but our Lord never neglects His children. He has said that even if a mother could forget her baby, He will never forget us. (Isaiah 49:15)

     At my usual snail's pace as I begin to learn something of God's love, I'm discovering that He takes joy in supplying way more than we need. In Isaiah 55:2 He says, "let your soul delight itself in abundance,) (NKJV) 

     If there is more than enough food for the mule deer and the horses, for us there is an extravagant supply of forgiveness for every sin, healing for every affliction, deliverance from every power of darkness, grace to cope with every difficulty, strength and wisdom to overcome every challenge - and through it all, His joy is available regardless of what we face.

     Help us, Father, to rise above any mentality of lack, and to live in the fullness of Your abundant provision.

     
     
     

Sunday, March 1, 2015

THE BEST FOUNDATION

     Each day driving to and from school I catch a glimpse of two structures that are so different. They might be a quarter of a mile apart. I finally made time to stop and take a picture of each of them. The first was set up to show the materials and technique used by a company that builds log homes. The second is an old barn.
    
     Someone had a specific goal when he built that barn. Now it is in disrepair. The roof is caving in. It is not being used for anything. I feel sad when I see a building that represents a person's hope and effort, but has come to ruin. That man did not just envision it. He bought property and materials, developed a plan and completed it. It probably served its purpose well for a time, but it didn't last.

     Life is short. We want to zero in on what matters most and do it well with the long term in view. If the base on which we're living is firm and strong and the best materials are placed accurately on that foundation we will stand.

     In his letter to the Ephesians Paul called believers "members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone." (Ephesians 2:19b, 20 NKJV)

     The apostles and prophets recorded the truths revealed to them by the Holy Spirit. As we meditate on their words, the Holy Spirit gives us revelation of those same truths so that we know that we know what is ours in Christ. That understanding equips us to live in the victory the Lord Jesus died to provide. We've been given a sure foundation on which to build. I'm grateful for that foundation and I desire to build wisely upon it.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A FORETASTE

     I am loving February in Colorado. One heavy snowfall, then sunshine and warm temperatures midday on either side of that snowy day... so good. Chickens scratching in the dirt;  Maddie, our lodge mascot, soaking up the warmth of the sun on the porch... neither would be the norm in Ontario in February.

     Nevertheless, it is February, and Colorado, U.S.A. or Ontario, Canada, it is still winter on this portion of our globe. We can't expect to be through with coats, hats, scarves, gloves and boots for the rest of this month or the next, but we can look forward to what's coming. Days with soft air, warm enough for light clothing, are ahead.

     Difficult seasons that we work through are less overwhelming when we know they will end. Paul shared even better news in 1 Corinthians 2:9. With Christ, not only will we overcome our trials, but our future will be amazing, way better than what we enjoyed before the battles.

     Father God has great things for us. "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." (1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV) We can imagine spring's pleasant changes, but the blessings He's getting ready for His kids are over the top.

     The warmth Maddie enjoys on the porch is not yet here to stay. What Father has planned is for eternity. Paul says those things are designed for the ones who love God. Our love is no more than a natural response to His for us. Like warm sunshine in February, in His goodness to us now we receive a foretaste of what's to come. The full measure will be ours in the next season.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

LOVE AND BE LOVED

     Mr. Whiskers was born Oct. 29, 2003. From the get-go he wanted to be an outdoor cat and he got his way in December 2004. By December of any year in Ontario, there usually is snow on the ground. I always made sure the path around the garage was shoveled to his safe door. Like a prince his needs have been cared for from the time he was a wee kitten.

     In July my life changed completely. Business concerns involved in a major move you just deal with, but what do you do with a cat if you happen to love him? I took him with me in the car from the time he was tiny, but he never did enjoy traveling. In any case, pets are not allowed where I live now. The result - I'm paying living expenses in two countries.

         A dog might have objected to being abandoned by a life-long companion. My ginger puss waits on a green mat outside his present caregiver's bedroom door looking forward to each new day. He knows Jayne will see to his wants for the next sixteen hours. No worries.  

     God was pleased as He completed each aspect of creation. He cares about land and sea, plants and animals, but it was man He created in His image to love and have fellowship with. Many of us have as little comprehension of His love for us as Mr. Whiskers has of mine for him. 

     While life is going well we may live from day to day oblivious that this One who is greater in every way than we can begin to understand desires a close loving relationship with each and every one of us. Lift our gaze above the mundane, Holy Spirit, that we may realize and receive the love Father offers. Far beyond Mr. Whiskers agenda of keeping every thing ticking in line with his wants for the next several hours, our need to love and be loved can be satisfied for eternity beyond anything we can imagine. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

RECEIVING

     My travelling buddy, Carolyn, drove the last five hours of our journey from Ontario, Canada to Colorado, U.S.A. through blowing snow. That was a gift. She also drove most of the rest of the way. We both love driving so maybe my giving up the wheel was a gift to her, but it also gave me time to read school assignments. I was blessed.

     Sometimes it can be hard to receive. In Acts 20:35 Paul quotes Jesus as saying, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." (NKJV) Often it is also easier. Our pride doesn't suffer on the giving end. It can when it's our turn to receive. From toddler to adult the familiar response is, "I can do it myself."

     From the moment Adam stepped out of line in Eden the battle was on. His decision gave the enemy the opening to disrupt the loving relationship between Father God and man. Adam knew he was wrong and immediately tried to justify his actions to the One who only wanted to protect him.

     Ever since, we humans have struggled to make things right ourselves -  some through religious exercises, some by good works. Still, the greatest need of our human condition is one we cannot meet ourselves.

     Father never stopped loving us,but guilt and condemnation kept us from receiving His love. What an amazing gift is offered through the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus to each one who can bury pride and be willing to receive.

     In Romans 5:18 Paul says, "as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life." (NKJV) Not only in giving, but also in receiving, there is great blessing. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

ROCK SOLID

     After four months in Colorado I'm still amazed at the huge rocks plunked here and there, and puzzled trying to figure where they came from. Too large to get pushed up to the surface by frost; some not near the base of a cliff they could have fallen from.

     Nothing budges them. They rule. If you want to build something, build around them. They are not about to relocate. If a seedling finds enough soil to sprout in a crevice, the tree it produces also has to find its own way to contend with that boulder.

     I love the way Abraham believed that what God had promised would come to pass regardless of the circumstances he could see; circumstances that said it was impossible. His faith could not be shaken. Romans 4:21 states that he was fully persuaded that God would do what He said.

     On this first day of 2015, let's determine to know in our knowers that God is good; God is love and He loves every individual unconditionally and uniquely. Every promise that He has given us is rightfully and definitely ours. With rock solid faith we can face the new year certain that as we trust in Him we cannot be moved.