Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Negotiation Table

“You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, Who is Lord of all.”
Acts 10:36

“’Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.’ For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Isaiah 1:18-20

We are at enmity with God. That is a fact no one can dispute if he’d take a moment and consider it. Our sinful and fallen state causes us to be God’s enemies and we have been waging war against Him since Satan’s first attempt to overthrow God’s will and sovereignty by enlisting Adam’s disobedience. We have gathered together armies of “self”, built bulwarks of idols, and have shot arrows laced with the poison of our souls at the heart of God Almighty.

At the time of Christ’s appearance on earth, Israel was wearying of war, was under subjection to Rome, and had assimilated into the Roman culture, adopting and accepting their practices and idols. But there was always within their ranks a minority of zealots who would revolt and upset the balance the Jewish leaders tried to maintain with Rome. These zealots threatened the comfortable existence the Jews of higher rank enjoyed with their oppressor, and they didn’t like it. When trouble would erupt, the leaders would go to their Roman overseers and negotiate peace with them, reassuring them the “problem” would be taken care of.

The Jews knew and believed the Torah’s prophecy of a Messiah that would come and deliver them, one who would bring “peace” to their nation. However, they interpreted prophecy incorrectly, assuming this Messiah would gather together a great army, driving their oppressor back to Rome and establish himself as a King in the manner of David. So, when Christ came with His message of peace, they expected something and someone completely different. Although Jesus fulfilled every word of prophecy that was foretold of Him, this “Lamb of God” was not what they wanted and their enmity to God was carried out on the Cross of Calvary. But, before this was fulfilled, Jesus established ambassadors, negotiators of peace, who would carry His treaty to the entire world.

The Apostles were the true “negotiators” of peace, the true Ambassadors of God’s love for Israel and for all who would listen and accept it, for they carried with them His “peace treaty” to end all peace treaties. God had wearied of Israel’s halfhearted sacrifices and their rivers of blood coursing down His altar. He would provide one final sacrifice, His perfect and spotless Lamb, as the last peace offering, one whose blood would cover the sins of all mankind and end the war between Him and His people. He would place His Son on the tables of negotiation, would offer Him to both sides, and redeem the world to Himself. This would be the message His Ambassadors would carry to the world.

All men have yet to accept this treaty of peace that God still offers. Wars still rage, men still hate, and idols are still being built. Treaties are proffered between nations, and always within their ranks are those who are ready to break them. Truces are made, then hatred is rekindled, and what they have attempted to erect is once again torn down. Today’s Israel is still trying to negotiate a “peace treaty” with her enemies, choosing to ignore the one God has given them - Jesus Christ.

But until the day comes that God withdraws His final offer of peace, a day He has ordained to end all wars and bring true peace, there will be Ambassadors who will continue to carry the Good News to a dying world. Faithful men and women who believe and trust the God Who has sent them, who will join together both sides of the rebellion and lay upon the table of negotiation their Champion, their Savior Jesus Christ, whose gleaming white banner of peace is made scarlet by His blood.

Charles H. Spurgeon once said, “God’s sovereignty is not threatened by mere man’s opposition to Him.” He Who is Lord of All could have ended all rebellion centuries ago with the breath of one word. But “He is slow to anger and abounding in love,” and He desires you meet Him at the negotiation table where the “good news of peace” that is written upon the heart of God is graciously offered.

Friday, May 29, 2009

How Sure Is Your Foundation?

Several years ago, my oldest son, Chris, gave me a 10-volume set of Charles H. Spurgeon's sermons. It took me a little over a year to read and study them and they have enriched my spiritual life in more ways than I can count. Along the way, I picked up a book by Spurgeon entitled, "Evening By Evening", which consists of evening devotions. This is the book I have been using to post a few of his devotions.

Today's message (or I should say "tonight's") is no exception. It is a timeless and telling message, in that it speaks of a problem within our church and Christian community that is escalating in a disturbing way. The enemy has not ceased his work, rather he is feverishly attacking and attempting to undermine the church foundation because he knows his time is short. I hope you read it and that it blesses you to examine and shore up the Foundation on which you stand.

In Christ,


"Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho." Joshua 6:26

"Since the man who rebuilt Jericho was cursed, much more damned are those who labor to restore false religions among us. In our fathers' days, the gigantic walls of unrighteousness fell by the power of their faith, the perseverance of their efforts, and the blast of their gospel trumpets. Now there are some who want to rebuild accursed, so-called religious systems on their old foundations. O Lord, be pleased to thwart these unrighteous endeavors and pull down every stone upon which they build.

It should be a serious business with us to be thoroughly purged of every error that may have a tendency to foster an ungodly spirit. Then, when we have made a clean sweep at home, we should seek in every way to oppose sin's all-to-rapid spread abroad in the church and in the world. This last can be done in secret through fervent prayer and in public through giving a strong testimony. With judicious boldness, we must warn those who are inclined to believe false teachings. We must instruct the young in Gospel truth and alert them to the sinful practices of religion in past times. We must aid in spreading the light more thoroughly through the land, for false teachers, like owls, hate daylight.

Are we doing all we can for Jesus and the Gospel? If not, our negligence plays into the hands of the enemy. What are we doing to distribute the Bible? Are we spreading abroad good, sound Gospel writings? Luther once said, 'The devil hates goose quills,' and, undoubtedly, he has good reason: ready writers, by the Holy Spirit's blessing, have done the devil's kingdom much damage. If the thousands who read this brief word tonight will do all they can to hinder the rebuilding of this accursed Jericho, the Lord's glory will speed among the sons of men.

Reader, what can you do? What will you do?"

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Is This The United States of America?

Recently, a San Diego Pastor held a regular Bible Study in his home for fifteen people. According to the news story from WorldNet Daily, they have been issued a citation for holding an "illegal religious assembly" by the County and threatened with further fines and sanctions if they do not cease their activity and secure a "permit". This is a clear violation of our First and Second Amendment rights in regard to religious assembly. The Pastor and his wife are being represented by the Western Center For Law and Policy. Please read the article at

I will be closely following this story and will let you know of further developments. We should also be in prayer over this!

In Christ,


Tuesday, May 26, 2009


"Continue in the faith." Acts 14:22
Once again, I would like to share Spurgeon's devotion with all of you. It is meant to encourage each of us, to persevere as we await our precious Savior. I hope it blesses you.

"Perseverance is the badge of true saints. The Christian life is more than a beginning in the ways of God. It is also a continuance in the faith as long as life lasts. It is the same for a Christian as it was with the great Napoleon. He said, 'Conquest has made me what I am, and conquest must maintain me.' So, under God, dear friend in the Lord, conquest has made you what you are and conquest must sustain you. Your motto must be, 'Excelsior' (still higher). A true conqueror, who will be crowned at the last, is the one who continues until war's trumpet is blown no more. Perseverance is, therefore, the target of all our spiritual enemies.

The world does not object to your being a Christian for a time, if it can tempt you to cease your pilgrimage and settle down to buy and sell in Vanity Fair. The flesh will seek to ensnare you and to prevent your pressing on to glory. The flesh says, 'It is weary work being a pilgrim; come, give it up. Am I always to be mortified? Am I never to be indulged? Give me at least a vacation from this constant warfare.' Satan will make many fierce attacks on your perseverance; it will be the mark for all his arrows. He will strive to hinder you in service. He will insinuate that you are doing no good and that you need to rest. He will endeavor to make you weary of suffering. He will whisper, 'Curse God, and die' (Job 2:9). Or he will attack your steadfastness by asking, 'What is the good of being so zealous? Be quiet like the rest; sleep as the others are, and let your lamp go out as the other virgins do.' Or he will attack your doctrinal sentiments by asking, 'Why do you hold to these denominational creeds? Sensible people are becoming more liberal; they are removing the old landmarks. Get with the times.'

Therefore, Christian, wear your shield close to your armor, and cry mightily to God so that by His Spirit you may endure to the end."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Please Remember Them....

I hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. While you are celebrating in your own way, please remember the veterans this day is set aside for, who gave their lives to insure our freedom.

See you next week!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Was Obama Ever Told "No"?

Barack Obama reminds me of a spoiled child who, while growing up, always got his way and was never told "No!" by those raising him. His life was void of a father to properly instruct him and a mother to gently nurture him, and his grandparents were thrust into the position of parenting. My feeling is that they did a very poor job of it and we are seeing the results of their attempt today.

Giving up their lives, providing for Obama, and his grandmother working hard to see him advance his education are all admirable things. No one can deny that. But just because he was coddled by them does not mean they instilled within him any meaningful values. All one has to do is examine with whom he aligned himself throughout his life and how they influenced him, and his philosophies and ideologies that malign and denigrate every aspect of God's moral law. By doing so, we are able to see the real man who holds the highest office in our nation. If his grandparents did try to guide him in the right direction, they failed him by not closely guarding against his wanderings and his associations. The end result was the creation of a bully on the playground.

Yesterday, the Congress chose to resoundingly vote "NO" to Obama's request for $80 million to close the Guantanamo prison in Cuba until he gave them a clear and distinct plan on how he was to handle 240 detainees that want to wipe every American from the map. Today, Obama responded with a speech before the only audience left who are still feeding his twisted ego: civil rights groups and bleeding hearts who are incapable of seeing beyond their own altruistic eyeballs. He knows he has no support from the average sensible American. Even the ones who supported him in the election are beginning to have second thoughts, as was evident in the number of their votes against his proposal. Obama was told "NO" in no uncertain terms, and he does not like it.

What we saw from Obama today was the return of a spoiled child who throws a hissy fit when he does not get his own way. Because it is impossible for a megalomaniac to ever accept responsibility, or to admit when he is wrong, his only reaction is to point the finger of blame at every one else. He stomped his feet and wailed for 25 of the 30-minute speech on how all of this was the Bush Administration's fault and that it had been thrown in his lap and he was only trying to fix it. He accused the previous Administration of having a knee-jerk reaction to 9/11 and that "fear rather than foresight" drove them to do the inhumane, causing America to go "off course". Instead of lauding the Bush Administration for effectively protecting and defending America from other attacks, Obama continued his rhetorical tirade against their success. After all, it was theirs, not his, and he does not like that, either.

The immaturity, ignorance, and unholy pride of this President deeply disturbs me. It should disturb every American that values his or her freedom from tyranny. Obama is moving this once-glorious nation to ruin, leading her as a child would lead a bunch of misfits into bad behavior and trouble. No matter how many times this child is told "NO", he will do as he pleases until he either brings himself down, or takes everyone along with him.

Father Knows Best

Television was much different while I was growing up. The media was relatively new to households but it didn't take long for it to become a sweeping sensation. Funny little black and white television sets with tubes that would burn out and need replacing filled the living rooms of homes all across the nation. Families would gather around them and watch wholesome programming such as "Red Skelton", "Leave It To Beaver", "Bonanza", and for a supernatural thrill, "The Twilight Zone", to name just a few. Variety shows such as "The Ed Sullivan Show" brought The Beatles to American television. After school, my sister and I would rush home to watch "The Mickey Mouse Club". Children sang, danced, and entertained with skits and there was always a moral message at the end of the program.

But one sitcom that sticks out in my mind the most was called "Father Knows Best."  Perhaps it is just the title of the show that prods memories to the surface, but the show portrayed the average American family; a hard-working father, a stay-at-home mother whose job it was to care for the household and children, and a son and two daughters who were respectful and obedient to their parents. There were values and morals written into the scripts of programming in the 1950's, much different than what we see on today's television screens. I find myself being very cautious over what I will allow my grandchildren to watch while they are visiting. Their parents made a choice not to have regular television in the house. Instead, they purchase DVD's of shows and movies they know will not subject their children to controversial issues that are contrary to God's values. The outcome has been pleasing because the kids spend more time outside letting their healthy imaginations dictate their play, much like it was for my sister and me.

Just as the father in the above-mentioned program was kept aware of his childrens' antics and responded accordingly, our Father is also aware of our comings and goings.

"From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from His dwelling place He watches all who live on earth - He who forms the hearts of all, Who considers everything they do."

Psalm 33:13-15 

Nothing we do escapes His notice. Our Father in heaven sits in front of His big "TV screen" and observes our lives. And when we do misbehave, He is sure to know about it and dole out the necessary correction to bring us back into line.

Although it did not take long for sin to assume controlling interest in television and movies, I am thankful for the brief childhood moment of sanity and wholesomeness we experienced. We were made better people by the lessons we learned both from our parents and the shows we watched. Like the characters in our childhood television shows, if we had been left to ourselves without necessary discipline, we most certainly would have made a bigger mess out of things than we already have.

So, if there is ever any question as to whether or not we are doing the right thing, or which life path we should take, just remember... our Father knows best!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Reaction To Hope In Turbulent Times

I have been sitting here this morning wondering what to post on the blog. Sometimes it is easy. Sometimes it is difficult. As the weather gets warmer, people are drawn away from their computers and outside into the sunshine. It is a good thing. We spend far too much time on these contraptions. And most of the time is spent frivolously on games and past-times that bear little fruit, if any, and I am just as guilty of this as the next. But having a blog presents an opportunity for voices to be heard, for prayer to be asked, for information to be spread to those who otherwise may not know of circumstances occurring in our troubled world, or encouragement for those who do. And as I sit staring at the screen, I am praying that others find a desire to read our voices that speak of issues so crucial to Christ's church.

There are times when the posts on the blog are not things some people want to read. They may be stories of trials, stories of persecution and requests for prayer, or an attempt to cause our readers to consider the implications of choices. Most readers want to read about the warm and fuzzy part of Christianity instead of the more serious side of the matter. But the blog's intended purpose is to exhort our readers and to encourage them to take part in God's battle over sin. Rather than quarterback from their armchair and sigh over the condition of the church, Christian behavior, or the plight of those we only consider when we read about them, we want our readers to rise to the challenge and join us.

We have been tremendously blessed to live in a time such as this. One might not think so by the turmoil and hopelessness that seems to be rising to a fever pitch around the world. In spite of the fact we live in a nation that God has blessed from its foundation, each of us can probably tell a story of someone they know who is struggling financially, who has lost a job, possibly facing foreclosure on a home, or as one brother in Christ revealed, making a choice to go home rather than be hospitalized for an illness because of a lack of insurance. However, there is no generation that can claim more hope than ours for I, along with many others, believe that ours is the generation that will see the return of our blessed Savior Jesus Christ. This is not the time to discuss why I believe this. Perhaps in another post, and in a combined effort, we can point out Scriptural truths that support this belief. But there is one event that occurred more than sixty years ago that gives us a firm and indisputable defense of our position. Israel once again became a nation on May 14, 1948. And if we remember our Scripture, God promised that once He restored her, He would never disperse His people again (Jeremiah 30 and 31). It is what occurs after this event that should awaken awareness. And once aware, the prophecied events should move everyone to action to help the Lord draw as many sheep into His pen as possible.

Before Jesus was crucified, He warned His disciples of what to expect during the time of the end. In Luke 21, Jesus spoke of signs that would point to His return: earthquakes, nations rising against nations, plagues, famines, pestilence, heavenly events, fear and dread, and persecution. All of these things must take place and prophecy clearly reveals to us they are. As much as we wish He would just simply catch us up, or Rapture us as Christians call it, to be with Him forever, there is a nagging thought in the back of my mind. It is the question of how much Christians will have to see, or perhaps suffer through, before the seven years of Tribulation begins. This is not a comforting thought. As we watch our nation and the world crumble beneath our feet, as we watch every effort being made to remove God from every aspect of society, we often dread what may lie ahead of us. But there is Hope! There is a comforting peace that overrides any dread I may experience. It is the promise God made to Israel and to His church that if we lean on and trust Him during these times, regardless of what the world may bring, eternal salvation is ours.

In the meantime, as you go about your daily chores and play, I hope you will take a moment to hear God's voice speak through this blog and share it with your loved ones. Although the way we perceive time is of no importance to God, there is little time left to remind our friends and family members that eternal salvation can also be theirs if they choose to believe. That is the main purpose behind this internet sensation. We are rapidly approaching the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and our desire is that all who stop by here will respond to what they read and react.

Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.

Monday, May 18, 2009

What I've Been Training For

(Cross-linked to Everyday Becky)

From the Word

Click and read >Hebrews 12:1-12

Key Verse:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. -Hebrews 12:1

Bright and early Saturday morning, I ran a 5K to help raise money for the YMCA. It was a special moment for me. The weather was absolutely perfect. The greenbelt was beautiful. And I was surprised by how easily I was able to run the three miles.

I have been training for this race for the last 10 weeks, following a plan called 'From Your Couch to a 5K" Ten weeks ago, I was only running for 60 second spurts followed by 90 seconds of walking for a total of about 15 minutes. Saturday, I ran 30 minutes straight without a need to stop and rest. My training paid off.

Friday night before the race, I went to pick up my number, timing chip and course map. While I was there I was so impressed by the people I considered the real runners, those who planned to run the 1/2 marathon and marathon races.

Marathon runners train for something called "Hitting the Wall." It is common to run out of glycogen stores in your muscles and liver somewhere around the 20 mile mark. They have to train to persevere through that crash of energy, when the race feels unbearable. I saw some runners this weekend that must have hit that point in their race when I passed them. One lady was sobbing, others looked in physical pain.

It made me think of the spiritual implications of running the marathon race of this life. Walking faithfully with Christ, remaining faithful to him through persecution, heartache, and overwhelming trials of this fallen world, is the ultimate endurance run. Thankfully, we do not have to rely on our own strength. When our "glycogen" stores run out, we rely on His strength and energy to keep us going, and we put our faith into practice. When burdens feel unbearable and our strength is gone, we must remind ourselves that "this is what I have been training for," this test of my faith will make me stronger. Press on! Don't quit! Run with perseverance that race marked out for you.

At the end of my race on Saturday, I hit a point where I wondered how far I had already run and how much farther I had to go. Then all of a sudden, on my left through the trees, and over the river, I caught glimpses of the finish line. There were hundreds of people celebrating with loud music, cheering on the runners as they came in. My speed picked up, my hope increased, and I ran faster than I knew I could just to get to that party! As I ran across the finish line I was huffing and puffing but I felt so much joy and victory. I did it! I was "home free."

I was surprised by how much it helped to know the end was near, to get those little glimpses of the finish line through the trees, and to know what was waiting for me. That's what the hope of Heaven is intended to do for us. As that day draws ever nearer, as we look up in anticipation, we can run faster toward the prize waiting for us. We can remember that our faith is strong enough to carry us home because we've been training for this. Don't lose hope! Just like the crowd was cheering for me during the race, I'm cheering for you, "Keep going! You are doing awesome! You're almost there!"

Personal Application:

Are there areas of your life where you can see your faith being tested? Have you "hit the wall" in the race of life? Pray for God to strengthen you to push on, to persevere, and to remember that you are almost there.


Thank you for training my faith, making it grow and increase. Thank you for equipping me with the strength I need to endure this marathon of life. Please keep reminding me of the prize that awaits. My very great reward on the other side of the finish line is You! During this time of trial and struggle, please give me your grace and help to persevere.

In Jesus' Name I pray,


More of God's Word:

1. Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. 2 Thessalonians 1:4

2. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything -James 1:4

3. Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. -James 5:7

4. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 3:14

When We All Get to Heaven

Eliza E. Hewitt, 1898

Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,
Sing His mercy and His grace;
In the mansions bright and blessed
He’ll prepare for us a place.

When we all get to heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

While we walk the pilgrim pathway,
Clouds will overspread the sky;
But when trav’ling days are over,
Not a shadow, not a sigh.

Let us then be true and faithful,
Trusting, serving every day;
Just one glimpse of Him in glory
Will the toils of life repay.

Onward to the prize before us!
Soon His beauty we’ll behold;
Soon the pearly gates will open;
We shall tread the streets of gold.

Pressing on with you!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Christian Attorney Gao Zhisheng

Please go to the following link to view a video produced by ChinaAid and The Voice of the Martyrs and sign the petition to free Chinese Christian attorney, Gao Zhisheng, who is being held by the PSB in an unknown location and possibly being subjected to severe torture. He was kidnapped for the second time by the PSB on February 4, 2009 and his wife and two children are desparate to know of his well-being.

Please continue to pray for Gao and other faithful Christians who face persecution for their faith and their boldness in presenting the Gospel to their dark nations.

In Christ,


Friday, May 15, 2009

Facing The Disagreeable

“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”

2 Cor 4:10

Oswald Chambers, in “My Utmost For His Highest”, poses a very poignant question today: “Do I manifest the essential sweetness of the Son of God, or the essential irritation of ‘myself’ apart from Him?”

In other words, when something “disagreeable” enters my life and causes unrest, turmoil, or a range of emotions, do I allow the circumstances to overrule the disposition that God is attempting to instill in me? Do I debate with God and resist, reacting in a way that does not reflect the manifestation of the Son of God within me? Or, do I glorify Him by cheerfully entering into the “disagreeable”, that which God has engineered to make me more fit for His service?

There are times when God has asked me to perform a certain task that brings on a lack of enthusiasm, perhaps resentment, and often dread or fear. I resist and, thereby, unknowingly grieve the Spirit of God. I forget that it is not my honor and reputation that is at stake, but His. And by balking or debating, I am bringing dishonor to the Holy Spirit Whose task it is to draw sons and daughters to glory through Christians like me.

I must keep myself fit for service, even if it means the task God has placed upon me is “disagreeable” and difficult. By enthusiastically allowing the manifestation of the Son of God in and through myself, by inviting Him to be “living and active” in me and letting His light shine from me, I am more able to approach the task and help the Lord bring it to its glorious conclusion.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Big Chief Tablets

“You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”
2Corinthians 3:2-3

My grandfather, Duncan Eddy, had the heart of a true Irishman, his soul filled with poetry, music, and story-telling. As children, we would sit in his lap as he sang sweet ditties, or recited poetry he had learned as a child. My mother, now in her twilight years, can still recall certain poems and songs from her own childhood, passed down to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren from ages long ago. There are a few that we lovingly cherish and diligently teach to our children in order that they are not lost by time and fading memory. They are family treasures and our grandchildren’s lives would be somehow diminished without them.

I was quite young when my grandfather died and I can only recall shimmering glimpses of him now and then. There is a dim and distant memory of being at his house one day and, not seeing him, I went in search. I found him, as was often his habit, in the attic with a pen in hand and a Big Chief Tablet on the table in front of him. I was
probably interrupting a contemplative moment, as children of the age of four are apt to do, but he didn’t seem to mind. Instead, he set me on his lap, handed me a pen, and then solemnly placed a small notebook in my pudgy hand. The conversation we had has long been erased from my memory, but the significance of his actions has spoken volumes to me since.

More than fifty years have passed since Duncan Eddy went home to be with his Saviour. However, he le
ft behind a treasure that far surpassed the little ditties and poems he would recite and that we struggle to remember. Among a box of memories was found two Big Chief Tablets holding some of the things he had written, perhaps even on the day that I had interrupted him. The tablets chronicled his search for Christ, and his fumbled, often mistaken but soon awakened, reality of Who He is. They read as a letter would to my heart, revealing to me that my grandfather was a spiritual man in spite of his many faults. He struggled with understanding, as we all do at first. Most of the writings revealed his attempt to mistakenly pin down the date of Christ’s return because of all he had seen in his lifetime and the prophecy that was being fulfilled in front of his time-wearied eyes. We, too, find ourselves doing this today simply because we long to see His face. But, what was joyfully obvious was that he knew his Lord, he knew Him to be his Saviour, and he looked forward to His return, whether it was then or after he had gone.

Grandpa wrote on the tablet of my heart. Perhaps not when I was a child of four,
but certainly when I was giv
en the Big Chief Tablets to transcribe. “Written not with ink,” but with the hands of God’s Love that span eternity and are able to inscribe on hearts, far into the future, a message of promise, redemption and eternal life. This is the true treasure, given by the Spirit of our Living God. It wasn’t the ditties, poems, and stories that Grandpa Duncan prized the most and that we so diligently strive to pass on to other generations. It was the two Big Chief Tablets that survived decades of being moved from place to place, and the message that had been written upon his heart and passed to ours.

I carry my own notebooks now, writing upon them the treasures of my heart, and often, my own grandchildren innocently interrupt my contemplations. So I place them on my lap and give them their own pen and paper as my grandfather did to me. One day I hope they will also find mine, tucked away for another day far into the future, and as God did for me, the eternal treasure they bear is written on the tablets of their hearts as it was mine.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Big Questions

For my grandson, Liam David Brahs, who is waiting to ask God the big questions.

“At that time, Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said,
“I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was Your good pleasure.”
Luke 10:21

“Who is God?” my grandson asked.
“Look all around you,” I replied.
“But if we cannot see Him,” my grandson pondered,
“How do we know Who He is?”

“He is all things,” I answered,
“For He made all things we know and see.”
“Even the birds and trees?” he asked with awe.
“Yes, sweet child, even you and me.”


“Where is God?” my grandson asked.
“Look all around you,” I replied.
“But I don’t see Him,” he said in confusion.
“He is here always,” said I.

“Where is God?” he asked again.
“Look within your heart,” I gently told him.
“God lives in my heart?” he asked with puzzled frown.
“How can He be there?”

“God is everywhere, dear child,” I replied.
“Open your eyes and see.”
“But you said He’s in my heart,” my grandson said.
“How can I see Him there?”

“We do not see Him,” I explained,
“Yet we believe He is there.
We cannot touch Him with our hands,
But He has touched our hearts with His.”


“Does God love everyone?” my grandson asked.
“Even the ones who don’t love Him?”
“God is Love,” I replied with tears.
“He loves us in spite of ourselves.”

“But there are bad men who do bad things.
Does God love them?” my grandson asked.
“With Love God made all things, even them,” was my reply,
“In hopes that they would love Him in return.”

“Will they love Him back?” he quietly asked.
“God sent Himself in hopes they would; He gave up all for them.
With love and patience He waits until
Each one of us makes up our minds.”


“Will I see God in Heaven?” my grandson asked.
“Will I be able to touch Him and talk to Him then?”
“Yes, oh yes!” I replied as my heart soared within me.
“We will be with Him forever and His joy will be complete.”

“Good,” my grandson said with resolve.
“I think I should like to get to know Him better.
And then someday when we’re there with Him,
He can answer all the big questions.”

Friday, May 8, 2009

May I Have This Dance?

When it comes to dance, I have two left feet. It’s as though the musical talent and rhythm God blessed me with stops at my fingers on the piano keyboard. I can tap out cadence with my feet, my hands are able to shake and beat rhythm with instruments, but my legs, when united in dance, stubbornly refuse to work together. This phenomenon could be attributed to one of two things: a short in a synapse somewhere between my brain and feet, or my self-conscious inhibitions prevent me from freely expressing myself. Either way, I look like a clumsy and timid mouse on the dance floor and so avoid it as much as possible.

Even though I fail to impress on the dance floor, I delight in watching others who have been blessed with obedient legs and feet. I watch in awe as they gracefully move every part of their body in unison to the music. I must admit I don’t understand some contemporary forms of dance; the meaning or necessity of certain movements and the idea that some styles must be infused with offensive sexuality. But, I marvel that there are people capable of expressing their emotions in this art form. I envy their ability to give themselves over to complete abandon and cast all doubt and self-consciousness to the wind.

I believe dance is inbred in mankind. All social castes and ethnic groups have
their own form of it. The Japanese with their slow and methodical movements; the Hawaiian who speaks with her hands as she gently sways back and forth; the indigenous tribes recounting daring feats of bravery. Each dance tells a story about certain aspects of the peoples’ heredity and history. Although some dance is rooted in paganism and superstition, it is also clear that God delights in dance when its intended purpose is to honor and glorify Him. King David, stripped down to a loincloth, unabashedly danced before the Ark of the Covenant as it was returned to the Holy City of Jerusalem (2Samuel 6:14). God surely must have been pleased as He watched His chosen one express his joy in such a way and worship Him with such fervor.

Even creation reveals an ability to dance before its Creator. Flowers and heads of grain sway in dance on their tender stalks. Leaves turn on the trees in anticipation of heavenly rain. Insects rise and twirl in the warm rays of the morning sun and pollen dances in sunlight’s beam. The waves dance upon the crown of the sea and the fish below it pirouette in glimmering rondes. I watch each year with great delight as the pelicans, who have taken up residence on our local reservoir, take their fledglings to the heavens. Their bodies, clumsy and burdensome on land, perform the most beautiful of ballets in the azure sky. And when evening drapes the earth in darkness, fireflies dance like tiny stars in the twilight. From the smallest and least to the largest and greatest of creation, dance is employed to worship its Creator.

But the most obvious proof that dance is inherent in man is found in our children. The moment a baby finds the courage to stand to lofty heights, his feet find rhythm. I have witnessed this time and time again and it never fails to awe and amaze me how natural it appears. The day after my father was laid to rest, my baby-filled family was gathered in my mother’s living room. Although we were still raw with sorrow over our loss, joy also filled the room as we recalled how Dad was finally at rest with his Lord. My sister and I had compiled a CD of his favorite music and I placed it in Mom’s stereo. No sooner did the music begin to fill the room, the toddlers began to dance with complete abandon, just as King David did before the Ark. Like moths to flame, their hopping and skipping about drew the adults into a circle where we joined them, hand-in-hand, as we celebrated Dad’s life.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance”. (Ecc 3:1,4) I have no doubt that God looked down with great pleasure upon Dad’s and His children as we moved and sang in worship and adoration. The timing was just right. He restored our souls and reminded us of His faithfulness, His love, and His unfailing promise to always be with us. We were freed once again by the simple act of a child’s response to the music in his heart and his feet moving in unison to the beat of God’s own.

I look forward to the day when I am at last in God’s presence and can dance with
the freedom and lack of inhibitions that children display. Although I am unable to do so now, there will be a time when my Saviour will approach me and ask, “May I have this dance?” And there will be nothing that will be able to stop my legs and feet from joining His as He gracefully waltzes me through the pearly gates into the brilliance of His eternal city. Until then, I will be content with my lack of dancing ability and reserve my delight in watching others do it, for one day I will be able to say, “You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give You thanks forever.” (Ps 30:11-12)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

From The Mountain To The Valley

There is no place better, no place more serene, peaceful, and enlightening than to be on the mountaintop with God. Moses knew it on Mount Horeb where he saw the burning bush and heard God's voice come out from it (Ex 3:4). He knew it on Mount Sinai as God gave His commandments and ordinances (Ex 19:20). Peter, James and John also discovered this truth when they accompanied Jesus to the mountain top and watched as He was gloriously transfigured. The mountain top is where we want to remain, as the disciples longed to do. When we are there, we are on holy ground because God dwells there. The mountain top is sacred realm, and where God dwells, sin and the world cannot be present.

But we are unable to stay there. As badly as we long to remain and erect "shelters" for the Lord and His companions (Mk 9:5,6), we know in our hearts that, for now, we must return to the valley. It is in the valley where our work awaits us, where the lost wander blindly and need a gentle hand to guide them towards their Savior. Until Christ returns fully in His glory, the mountain top is only a place to be visited on occasion when He knows we need a brief rest from our toil. It is a place reserved for renewal and strengthening before we take up our swords and are thrust back into the battle.

The Lord took me high upon His mountain this last week for a brief rest. I reveled in Him. I rested with Him and delighted in His presence and the blessings He had poured out upon me. But the vacation was brief, for trouble was brewing on the valley floor. There the enemy was hard at work, attempting to destroy those I loved the most, tearing at the foundations God had laid, and undermining tender hearts. He was brutal in his attack, for he chose the weakest part of my loved one's nature to use as a weapon of hatred, rage, and viciousness. I did not wander down the mountain path to the valley floor. I did not even rush swiftly towards the face of this destruction. I felt as though I had been violently thrown from the highest cliff to the cruel and sharp crags that lay below me. Although it was a time and place I dreaded to be, the Lord knew I was needed and did not hesitate to place me there.

But the Lord did not abandoned me to the fray below. I did not go alone. It may have at first appeared to me that He had stayed behind on the peaceful mountain top as the events boiled up around me. Yet, that was not the case. Jesus flew ahead of me as I came crashing down to the valley floor in order to catch me and hold me up. I felt His precious arms envelope me as what appeared to be all Hell breaking loose before my eyes. Prayer poured from my lips as I begged Him to intervene and overcome the onslaught. My heart was wrenched, but He soothed it. My eyes poured forth tears, but He gently wiped them from my face. He threw up impenetrable walls of defense around His children. And His army deflected the arrows and spears that threatened to pierce and kill our hearts. He subdued and drove back the enemy, and as David in Psalm 18 proclaims, "You armed me with strength for battle; You made my adversaries bow at my feet. You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes." (v39,40). How mighty is the Lord our God in battle!

The battle waged yesterday was a victory for my God. Today I am witnessing repentant and humbled hearts yielding to His will. I am seeing forgiveness and love restored to my precious family. Hope once again has overcome despair as we strive to clear the battlefield and rebuild the foundation on which we stand. Praise our Lord Most High for His mercy and grace!

Perhaps, soon, He will allow me another brief rest upon the mountain top to renew my strength and rest from my struggles. I know I will not be able to stay there. And I also know if I am needed in the valley of despair, He will go ahead of me. He will hear my cry for help and stand in readiness to defend all that is precious to Him. I witnessed it yesterday. I saw His mighty strength overcome and deliver us from the enemy's attempt to destroy us. And He revealed to me and mine His tremendous and overwhelming love and how far He will go for us.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Five Smooth Stones

It has been fascinating to watch the Lord work both in this blog and Facebook the past week. Although we have not intimately shared with each other the directions God has been leading us, it is apparent He had at least three of us heading down the same path and meditating slightly differently on a similar theme - standing up for the Lord.

As Dana so accurately concluded in her most recent post, our strength lies with and through Him, and as she illustrated with the account of David and Goliath, "I can do all things through Him Who gives me strength." Phil 4:13. Nothing is impossible if we build our faith upon the fact that the battles belong to God and it is His honor that is at stake. It does not mean standing idly by and watching Him fight alone. It means stepping in and becoming His soldier, donning His full armor, and relying on His strength to overcome the Goliath that threatens us. We have a Champion Who will go behind and before us into the fray of battle because the battle is solely His.

For 430 years, the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt. If the life expectancy of man was 70 years at that time, six generations passed before God liberated them. One would think after all that time the people would have lost hope and faith in God's promise of deliverance would have become an ancient tale told to children. But as He led His people out of bondage, His presence was always with them:

"By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people."
Exodus 13:21,22

God displayed His might and His power and the Jews were kept constantly aware of His presence and protection over them. He will do the same for us if we allow Him to lead.

When we are faced with burdens that spiral out of our control, or stand in battles that seem hopeless of winning, there is only one way to turn. Like David, we must choose five smooth stones, knowing in faith that it will only take one if we remember to Whom the battle belongs. God is not unaware of the Goliath standing before us. He could just as easily destroy him with one word. But He wants us to stand up beside Him, to take up His sword of truth and wield it by drawing on His strength. He wants us to share in His fight for righteousness and truth.

As we have been warned, the paths we walk will not always be smooth, level and without obstacles. The enemy delights in throwing up hurdles to turn us back and make us weak. It is up to us, as Christians, to learn to turn to the Lord Almighty when we approach a seemingly unmovable barrier, for the Lord Jehovah is our "war club", He is our "weapon for battle" (Jer 51:20) Without question or doubt, He will have the victory. But are you, dear Christian, willing to stand beside Him and carry His banner into the battle? Or will you step back in complacency and apathy and watch from your comfortable armchair as it is waged around you?

The question was eloquently posed in Dana's post. It is up to us to make a choice as to how we will serve the Lord, how far we are willing to step out of our comfort zones and defend His honor, His glory, and His Truths. Like Dana, I will not offend my God by staying silent. I will stand up along side her and choose five smooth stones as my weapon.

Who knows? By His strength, maybe it will only take one.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sister Marie

“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

Proverbs 31:30-31

The word “works” always makes me squirm, for without grace and faith, works are meaningless. I was raised in a “works-based” church, one that did not know and thereby never taught that it was Grace, amazing Grace, which mattered. It was a lifelong battle to shake off and put away the false teachings that had buried their knife to the hilt in my heart and God eventually brought a day of victory to me. However, within the confines of this narrow-minded congregation of my childhood, God had put into place a reminder, a remnant if you will, of His Truth, His Love, and His Grace. Her name was Sister Marie.

Sister Marie was a round and plump woman and, as was the custom and belief of the church, wore her black and uncut hair piled atop her head. By all appearances, she strictly adhered to the tenets that were fearfully ordained by the Elders: always in a dress, no makeup, and having about her bearing the strictures that had been applied by them. Obedient and circumspect, the women of the church knew their places. But when Sister Marie walked into a room, it was as though the Pied Piper of Hamlin had just entered and children would magically be drawn to her side. Her presence demanded our attention, which she received with a smile and a warm embrace, never once chiding us for the onslaught that hit her every Sunday. Put plainly and simply, we loved Sister Marie and she loved children.

I recall a time that Sister Marie saw the need for ministry to the growing number of children that attended each Sunday. She felt that we would all benefit greatly with a Sunday school and approached the Elders, volunteering herself and her time to instruct us. Of course, she was soundly reproached and rebuked and the idea was never mentioned again. To do so would have been tantamount to heresy and she would have been shunned from that point on. But, God has ways of working around ignorance and stubbornness, and if He couldn’t have it that way, He would have it another.

The children would carefully watch where Sister Marie settled - which was usually in a pew towards the rear - and rush to see which one could claim the seat of honor at her right side (for her husband, Brother Fred, always sat in the aisle seat to her left). Our parents were never concerned, fearing that we would be unruly or disruptive, because Sister Marie seemed to exude a gentle and loving command for obedience and respect within the confines of the church. We may have giggled and wiggled while the adults were still visiting, but once the service began, we became the angels she and our parents expected. Besides, the church building was small and Momma and Daddy made sure we were always within reach if the need should arise.

Sister Marie knew what it took to help a child sit still on a hard pew for three hours. Along with her King James tucked under her arm, she carried a large handbag that held the instruments and tools necessary to accomplish this daunting job. At the appropriate time, when she sensed that we were approaching a moment of unsettledness, she would pull one of these mysteries from her purse that were lovingly prepared ahead of time. Like a magician would pull a rabbit from a hat, out of the deep confines of her purse a handkerchief would suddenly appear. Unfolding its edges that were tucked around an invisible lumpy shape, we would look with delight at the mints and candies that nestled in her palm and which instantly took our minds off our discomfort. And much to our surprise and awe, she always knew the exact number of mints that would be needed on any given Sunday, as if a head-count had been taken prior to our arrival.

A palm-sized spiral notebook and the stubby ends of pencils, just the right size for our small hands, would be whisked out at another moment’s notice. My sister, the other children, and I would while away a good portion of our expected attendance, drawing scenes from our innocent imaginations and playing “Hangman” and “Tic-Tac-Toe”. A wallet with pictures of people we didn’t know, but wondered about, would keep us musing for many precious moments. A ring of keys that opened doors to castles; a handful of coins to count to a million; a compact of face powder that smelled like Sister Marie yet reflected our tiny faces in its little mirror. Her supply was limitless, and no sooner did we think we’d gotten to the bottom of it, the service would end - just in time.

As I look back upon these things, I now realize that God blessed us tremendously with Sister Marie. I didn’t know at the time that God was using her to prepare our hearts for Him. The Elders may have chosen not to allow her to teach us, but God placed us by her side on many Sundays so that, through her, He could teach us of His love and grace that went unmentioned in the church service. She exemplified Jesus Christ by her desire to teach Him to us, by her kind and gentle face, by her handbag of “distractions”, and by the taste of the sweet mint that has lingered on my tongue to this very day. I have no doubt Sister Marie knew her Savior and what was and was not required of her because she hid Him in the handbag she carried with her each Sunday and revealed Him to the children who sat by her side.

When I see her again, I will have a mint for her in my hand.