Thursday, April 4, 2019

What God starts, he will finish!

I don’t know where this day finds you, what the circumstances are to which you woke up this morning, or to what degree you are experiencing the crushing weight of life's sorrows. I don’t know the hopes which you have held close to your heart, the dreams you have cherished, or the goals you have worked toward with all your heart, that all seem a distant pipe dream at this time. But I do have some idea of how it feels.

Oswald Chambers says this: “If our hopes are being disappointed just now, it means that they are being purified. There is nothing noble the human mind has ever hoped for or dreamed of that will not be fulfilled.”

Friends, God is not dictated to or limited by our circumstances; he sees the grief and pain we feel but, in his sovereignty over all of life and creation, he has allowed our lives to fall into the lines in which they exist in this present moment. But (and God has many great ‘buts’!), our circumstances do not hinder, even for a moment, the good work that he has begun in our lives; they do not hinder our God-given purposes. In fact, the very circumstances we woke up to this morning will be used for your good, and mine, too, as we continue to love him and turn our hearts to him.

So what is the good work that God has begun in you and me?  

It is the work of salvation. When we surrendered our lives to him we became new creations, as the apostle Paul says. We are different than we were before we knew him, and now we are filled with the desire to know him, to have his character, and to be found pleasing to him in our internal and external lives. But this work is not done. Every day we continue in this renewing process of being formed in the image of Christ. The final consummation of this work in which we will be made perfect and wholly complete will happen when we enter fully into Christ’s presence.

This good work of God is happening right now, wherever and however you are. He is purifying you, as Mr Chambers says, pruning away what is dead, but every hope and dream that is of God will remain; you will see the fulfilment of it.

Stay steady, dear friends, and trust that God knows and sees every detail. Trust also the good work he is doing in you through them.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Fifth Advent: God’s Wild Pursuit

Who doesn’t light up at the sparkly-eyed expectation and thrill of children on Christmas Eve?! 
I remember lying awake all night as a child, the relief of sleep coming only in short and shallow doses before excitement woke me up again. It was the longest night of the year!     

For children, Christmas is a time to dream. It's a time to linger over wish lists and make one's greatest desires known, not just to moms and dads, but to the universe. Christmas speaks to them of the possibility of the things they long for but are beyond their grasp, of hopes and dreams coming true, of the impossible becoming possible. 

Friday, December 21, 2018

The Fourth Advent: Peace on Earth

The fourth candle of advent turns our focus to the peace that was proclaimed hundreds of years before Christ’s birth by Isaiah, and then again on the night of his birth by a chorus of other-worldly beings that emerged from the heavens. Their announcement was made to a company of humble shepherds keeping watch over their flocks of sheep in the hills near Bethlehem. 

It’s hard to imagine what such a proclamation would have meant to the ancient Israelites, but we can we envision “peace on earth” today? We are constantly made aware of volatile situations around the world that have the potential to erupt at any time; there are desperate people fleeing the poverty and violence of their homelands; families are hunkering down in refugee camps, and moms and dads are clutching their children tightly in war-torn and bombed out cities. Seeing the images in the news and watching videos of raw footage online can make the idea of peace seem far-fetched, even ludicrous.

But before peace can come between men to create good will towards each other and a peaceful world for people to live in
, peace must live inside of man. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Five Ways to Have a Christ-Focused Christmas

Lullaby Lark | 5 Ways to Have a Christ-Focused Christmas 
Today I'm guest-blogging with a fellow blogger Erin over at Lullaby Lark on 'Five Ways to Have a Christ-Centered Christmas' for moms and dads with young families. My littles are all grown up now and they're bringing their own sweet littles home for Christmas with them, so we're figuring out how to do this all over again in this new stage of life we're in! In the meantime, I hope you'll head over to Lullaby Lark and take a few minutes to read this post. It's insight and wisdom gained from the experiences of many Christmases as we raised our five babies. I trust there'll be something for you to glean and help you keep your focus on Jesus throughout the Christmas season!                           

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Third Advent: the Grace of Christmas Joy

Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Let earth receive her King! 

Let’s be real – there are days when the stuff we have to deal with has the power to sap the joy out of the entire week. Our own worries, stresses, disappointments, pressures, conflicts, and sadnesses have that capability, let alone circumstances around the world that we cannot help but be affected by. And for many people, the Christmas season – a time when joy is supposed to be at a premium – is often when the lack of it is intensified.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Second Advent: Love Goes to War

“A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.” Rev 12:1,2

“and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7

There is a scene described in the twelfth chapter of the book of Revelation that takes away my breath every time I read it. It’s a version of the Christmas story that we do not see depicted on Christmas cards and it brings to mind those surreal battle scenes from the Lord of the Rings movies. It’s the passage that I turn to when I start to lose sight of God’s love for me and the bigger picture of what is really going on around me. 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Awakening to the Wonder of Christmas, Advent Week One

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us)." 
Matthew 1:23 

For more than 700 years God’s people waited to see the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy of one who was to be born to a virgin and known by the name Immanuel, the one who was to inherit the throne of Israel’s greatest king, David. Now, the announcements of the child who was conceived in a young virgin woman fanned into bursting flame the hopes that had been smouldering for eons.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

A meditation for confession and redemption

Father in heaven, gracious maker of my being, of all that is seen and unseen; the giver of all that is good, and the sustainer and light of life.

You are the one who is deserving of every ounce of praise and glory and honour I can eke out of these bones, and it is to you that I come in this hour. 

I come naked in my frailty, in my humanness, in my failure, and in my need of you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

An offering of presence in my neighbourhood

Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash
In the parable of the good Samaritan Jesus provided a provocative answer to the question, “Who is my neighbour (that I must love as I love myself)?” What Jesus revealed in his story is that there is not a person in this world to whom we can point and say, “He or she is not my neighbour.” The literal answer, though, is that our neighbours are the people who live next door to us, across the street, and down on the next block. 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

When seasons change, things may get ugly

This was last week. Last week fall was my favourite season. The colours were at their best, and everywhere you looked there was another glorious scene to salivate over. But then October faded and cued November's cold rain and powerful gales. Today, in my yard, I am fighting despair as I stand almost knee deep in leaves.

Yesterday I could feel the elation of last week seeping out as I drove past a patch of bare forest, naked and brown. I felt sorry for the trees, all stripped of their radiance. Then the thought struck me that the woods were simply in transition. This is temporary, and how lovely is it going to be in our next season, when all that brown will be blanketed in dazzling white and be made beautiful once again?!

Transition in life is often a time when things don't look very pretty. It's an in-between stage where, like the trees, your old wardrobe is being taken away before you get your new clothes.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Roll Call: Who is present?

“At the very beginning God created the heavens and the earth as the place of his presence …. The Scriptures, from beginning to end, tell the marvelous story of God returning his presence to all creation. It was always God’s intent to be with his creation in the fullness of his presence.” David E. Fitch, Faithful Presence 

Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash
Being present in our own lives has become increasingly challenging; there is so much noise all around, so many opportunities and activities available to us, and so many distractions make it so difficult. Being aware and tuned into God’s presence around us can be doubly challenging. I suspect, though, that if we were not distracted to God and what he is up to around us, then we would be present in our lives as well. This last week the prayer I’ve been repeating several times a day is simply, “Help me to be present to your presence.”