Friday, January 21, 2011

In the Shadow of Your Wings

I will sing your praise in the shadow of your wings. The shadow is God’s protection and His wings reach to the end of the universe and beyond. Psalm 36:5-8 “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O Lord, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

In the dog days of summer when the heat from the sun is so hot it parches the grass and dries up the fields. The shade from a tree can protect everything in its shadow. The shadow cools our body temperature and protects us from burning up like dry grass. If we go out from the shadow or shade of the tree we are left to the elements. It reminds me of a time when I went camping with my friend and my two children. We didn’t have a tarp up and without much warning a storm raged through the camp. The trees began to sway violently from the strong winds, the clouds darkened and thunder roared in the distance. Quickly we ran and huddled under the protection of this big cedar tree. The branches were just high enough and thick enough that we actually kept fairly try. The storm was a cloud burst which only lasted about five minutes. We stood in the eye of the storm and watched as it marched through our camp like an army of soldiers riding on flying horses searching everything in its path. The entire time we remained protected. The feeling I had was one of awe as I watch the power of the storm. My heart rate elevated because I was a little afraid, thinking that we might actually be blown away at any minute by a tornado. The wind subsided as quickly as it began and the sun began to shine again.

During those few minutes we found refuge in the shadow of a tree. The psalmist understood the complexity of God, His shadow and the expanse of God’s wings. The word “wings” is a metaphor for the protective outreach of God’s power. The word “shadow” was a conventional Hebrew metaphor for protection against oppression as shade protects from the oppressive heat of the hot desert sun. He was asking God for protection from his enemies who surrounded him and wanted to kill him. The psalmist recognized that the safest place to be was in the shadow of God’s wings.

Today we are surrounded by a clever enemy who pretends to be our friend and lavishes us with everything that feels good, sounds good, there for it must be good. In reality this enemy is killing our souls as we stray from God’s truths and accept many lies contrary to the word of God. Lord I ask that you hide me in the shadow of your wings, where I’ll praise your name. Hide me from the temptations to compromise your standards. It is so easy to follow the sheep right off the cliff. Isaiah 53:6 – We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him (our Saviour - Jesus Christ ) the iniquity of us all.”

For more background study read the book of Isaiah. If you would like a study bible I can get you one. Leave a comment saying you would like one.

The prophet Isaiah in the Old Testament writings prophesies in the book of Isaiah chapter 53 regarding Christ and his death and salvation. The interesting fact is that Isaiah lived centuries before Christ.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Frozen Garden

Frozen Garden

Following my footprints from yesterday, I walked into God’s frozen garden . The snow was firmly packed down. I didn’t dare get off this path or surely I would sink knee deep in snow. The cold white snow would sneak into my boots and make my legs feel like frozen Popsicles. My eyes looked across the canvas that God provided for my pleasure. A sprinkling of unsullied snow delicately lay upon the ground. The sun was shining so bright my eyes had to squint. The quiet in this frozen garden was so peaceful; I was filled with a compelling desire to listen closely as to hear God’s voice whisper something in my ears. Something like, “Hello my little one, how are you doing today?” Wait, that is stupid. Of course he wouldn’t ask that. He already knows how I’m doing today. However, I did keep hearing the same verse in my head, “Be still and know that I am God.” I thought that can’t be what God is saying. I kept thinking, I already know that you are God. His words kept rewinding in my head. So I kept walking and admiring this amazing sight of which my eyes observed.

The squeaking snow underneath my boot as I stepped and the steady hum of  an airplane in the distance were the only other sounds heard. It was not like walking through cold wet snow. The snow was fluffy and soft, a comforting spread of whiteness resting over the ground all around me. Sparkles in the snow glistened like millions upon millions of diamonds. Diamonds are hard and can be sharp, but these diamonds seemed so soft yet bright. Each snowflake reflecting the sun’s light. I couldn’t help but think that there were more sparkles then there are stars. God put each one in their perfect place. Even where I stepped, the sparkles shined through my footprints. It was incredible.  

I dropped to my knees in the middle of this frozen garden surrounded by the vastness of sky, sun and fields. In awe of seeing this canvas that I felt God had made just for me, I exalted the Lord God with praise. There was no else around. I tried to praise in a manner which would match his splendour. I failed. For nothing matches the splendour of God, the Creator of all things. When I looked at each snowflake a realization came to my mind. God put them there, just like He put the stars in place, in the same way that He created each one of us, in detail and unique.

Only when I try to comprehend how big, how vast and how awesome God must be, I realize that God is indescribable. There would not be enough paper in the entire world or enough trees to cut down to describe God in His fullness. God is a personal God. His voice rings loud and clear even in the middle of an empty field. God is God and I am His and He is mine. Wow!

God didn’t want anything more for me this day then to recognize who God is in my life and to take a moment to be still. Whether I am walking with Him on a busy street or laying in a blanket of snow in silence. God is with me all the time. He always was and is and forever will be. Lines of communication are open.

Psalm 147:15 – “He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly. He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. He hurls down his hail like pebbles.”

Psalm 148 – “Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights above. Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created. He set them in place for ever and ever; he gave a decree that will never pass away.” Wow!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

bible thumpers

Hello fellow bible thumpers. That is the title many of us Christians are given and I wonder why? Does it come across like we are head bangers using what we have learned from reading “The Word of God” the "Bible"? Many times that interpretation is probably not far from the truth. Yes our great commission is to go out into all the world and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. (Key word is "teach" not pound over people’s heads). I don’t think God meant for us to to go out and try and impress everyone with how many scripture verses we have memorized.

I imagine, some may argue that we are just trying to save the souls of the lost. We are passionate and we don’t want to see our loved ones go to hell. After all we are living in the end times. Christ’s return is imminent. I have to tell them so they will repent. (I envision - after reading the last couple of sentences that half the readers just clicked on the delete button.)

Did anyone notice that bible thumping is not working? To hear the word of God might mean we have to change the way we live, think and breathe. Our churches are emptier than ever. While many of these scriptural truths stare us in the face, people don’t want to be made to feel like they are any less important than the next person. It sometimes seems that churches only want perfect people. Hello, Jesus came for the sick, the weak, the poor in spirit – he came for the sinners which is every single one of us. When we Christians begin to think we have it all figured out and that we are saved and they are not – I say be careful lest you might fall. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that who ever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of the Lord.” I memorized those two verses. Don’t pat me on the back yet. I still have 1,949 more pages in the version of my bible to memorize. Not going to happen in this lifetime unless I have a Jesus miracle. “All things are possible through Christ Jesus.” I know that line of scripture too. Impressed yet?

My solution to my own opinion: I’m talking to myself when I say these things. Christians need to walk like the shepherd, talk like the shepherd and sound like a shepherd too. Of course I am referring to the Shepherd of all creation – Jesus Christ. It is not as much that we are not to share the word of God; we are to share the good news. There is a time and a place and a leading of the Spirit. It is more that we are to live the word in our daily lives. Do we always succeed? No, Why? We are not perfect. That is why we need a Saviour every day. When we realize that we are all the same, we all have needs, desires and the same daily essentials to live this life. We are all searching for the same thing. It takes each single one of us, a different amount of time to find it. Each life journey is unique. If each of us genuinely changed the way we think, eat and breathe, if we individually looked to God for the answers, if we intuitively came to know who Jesus is in all His majestic splendour then we would joyfully share him with the example of our daily lives.

What does it take to do this? To begin, it takes time, a study bible, desire, initiative, prayer and the help of the Holy Spirit. With these six elements you will be amazed at what the Holy Spirit will teach you. I'm sure far more than any bible thumper like myself could teach you. Enjoy your discoveries.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


What is my purpose? What is my destiny? What happens when we die?

Deep down, don’t we all have that wonder to know the answers to these questions? Sometimes it takes an entire lifetime to find out what that purpose is and sometimes we never find out. That does not mean that we have not fulfilled God’s purpose. We would be surprised how over a lifetime, we may have influenced someone in a good or bad way. I would like to share some scriptures meaningful to me. In my searching and through the answers I am complelled to share what I learn so others may also join in this revelation. I know as soon as some people hear the scripture quotes they close the blog never learning a thing. If you really want answers, then all I am hoping is that you will search these quotes and seek to know what your destiny can be through a Saviour.

When a loved one dies it often makes us think about life and what comes after death. For me, the first question I would like to affirm is if the deceased person had a relationship with the Saviour Jesus Christ? Did they at any time in their life recognize the need for a Saviour? Did they live a strong Christian life by going to church or did they worship the Lord in the privacy of their home? Did they have faith in Jesus? or Was it a life lived without the knowledge? The bible is also called the book of knowledge. Perhaps that person was like one of the criminals on their cross. One on the left of Jesus and one on the right side of Jesus during the crucifixion of Christ on His cross (my cross). Luke 23:39 “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said. “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserved. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

One criminal mocked Christ. The other in his own way confessed his sin and then he acknowledged Jesus as Lord. It was really just a brief conversation from one criminal’s heart to the Lord of all Creation. The criminal accepted who Christ is right at that moment while nailed on that cross, knowing he was going to die. In return Christ Jesus accepted the criminal into the kingdom of God. His sins were forgiven because of that confession of the heart. It is interpreted that the mocking criminal on the cross, had his eyes pecked out and that he did not go into paradise.

I believe our lives are intertwined for a God purpose. There are no coincidences in life. The fact that you are reading this is not a coincidence. We all have a time when we are born and a time when we die. King David had a special relationship with God and it is evident throughout his life that he also had great insight. Words written by David in the psalms, best express answers to our purpose in life. Psalm 138 “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me. Your love, O Lord endures forever – do not abandon the works of your hands.”

We all have a purpose to fulfill. While God’s love endures forever – he can and does allow us to make our own choices. The choices we make determine our final destiny when our life on earth is finished. God has given us instruction for a better life and the opportunity for eternal life. Make no mistake God will abandon the work of his hands if we don’t accept the gift of eternal life found in the acceptance of the Saviour Jesus Christ. Read the old testament book of Lamentations - A horrific book tells in detail what happens when God's children forsake God. The new  testament clearly shows God's mercy and the way back to Him.That way is through Jesus. “He is the way the truth and the life.”

“Old testament - Psalm 139:13 – “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

From that verse we can see that God is all knowing. If we really take the time to try and comprehend what God is and how he works it is probably far beyond what we can even fathom. God in His infinite wisdom made it simple for salvation to occur. How big is God? David understood and said it clearly. Psalm 139:17- “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.”

I search the scriptures to gain my own insight. There are many questions. I’m sure I will never fully understand the whys of this world. Life is a journey to a final destination. My hope is that I will live for eternity in the kingdom of God with God, otherwise known as heaven, paradise. To know that others, who God has placed in my life circle, will also meet me in that great beyond, also gives me great hope and peace.

I wish I could pray everyone into heaven, but I can’t. Each person is responsible to make that choice for themselves. If you have taken the time to read my blog, also take a moment to ask yourself and ask God what is the purpose He has for your life? You can begin by talking to Jesus. There is always a choice. That is what the two criminals on the cross stand for. What side of the cross are you going to stand on? Then you will know your destiny.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011



The Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary

Beauty “An assemblage of perfections through which an object is rendered pleasing to the eye; those qualities in the aggregate that give pleasure to the aesthetic sense; qualities that delight the eye, the ear, or the mind; loveliness; elegance; grace; a particular grace or ornament; that which is beautiful; a part which surpasses in beauty that with which it is united; a beautiful person, especially, a beautiful woman.”

“Beauty is but skin deep”

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever;

Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness.” John Keats

What is your definition of beauty? I think that for the most part people have it all wrong. There is too great of an emphasis put on beauty and how we look. From an early age, I was told that I was pretty. Over the years, one or two have called me beautiful. Being somewhat athletic, I have naturally remained quite fit and kept a somewhat slim figure. Acne was never a problem so my complexion was clear and I always tanned easily. When I finished high school I thought I could find a career by using my looks. I was
not academical. That was when I decided to go to modeling school where I learned how to accentuate my looks even more by learning how to apply make up, how to dress, walk and better present myself.

Now I am getting older and notice the enemy of age slowly taking away the youthfulness that I once wore on my face. External beauty really is fleeting. Many celebrities and many women today have face lifts, botox and spend a great deal of money clutching to keep that eternal youth. Self inflicted or not, the pressure for a beautiful person to remain good looking is enormous. Mostly our vanity becomes an obsession that we cannot win. Some facelift results are horrific. Honestly, I rather bury my head in the sand then walk around looking like I just walked through a wind tunnel that left my face looking like a plastic bag has taken up permanent residence. I’d rather get old gracefully and accept the lines and sags as they come. Do I like the ageing process? Absolutely not! In fact as I get older, I would kind of like to escape with my husband to some deserted place where I don’t have to worry about what other people think or comment about my appearance. It would be nice to live in a place without mirrors or judgment, other people’s criticism or comments. It would be nice to not care about how I look and just enjoy who I am. For whatever reason, more often than not, we always seem to look at people and see them for what they look like externally, not the beauty that lies within.

Recently I have been looking at pictures. Don’t we always put out the best pictures of ourselves? Face it. Doesn’t it take a person who is very confident within themselves to put out a picture that is very unflattering? I guess I have thought about what true beauty is in the last few weeks.

My little sister Penny recently passed away. We had her funeral. Many people came and shared their perspectives about Penny. I must admit, I’ve done a lot of reflecting and soul searching since her death. This is not easy to confess. By appearances one might look at two sisters standing together. One sister has model like attributes while the other sister has downs syndrome attributes, one eye pointing in, short stature etc. I remember when we were young, going into stores and noticing the stares Penny would get. It was because her appearance was different.

I think of the movie Shrek. In the beginning of the movie, it shows the princess so very beautiful in appearance. A witch puts a spell on the princess and transforms her into a less attractive looking woman. In the end of the movie, everyone wants this princess to get her beauty back. The twist in the movie is that the princess actually remains in what some may consider an ugly state. It seems that it is human nature for us to always choose outward beauty before we choose the inner beauty.

I am thinking that Penny has taught me a valuable lesson since her death. In all my soul searching, looking at pictures and listening to other people who knew Penny, I have witnessed the inner beauty which exuded from her. Truthfully, I never really thought about it before. I simply never noticed a lot of things about Penny. She didn’t have a vain bone in her body. Sure she liked it when people told her she looked pretty, but for the most part Penny never concerned herself with how she looked. Penny had a freedom to be Penny. After looking through many pictures, I realize she was quite photogenic and very cute. Truly her beauty shinned through her natural smile. Penny carried within herself far more beauty than I have ever been able to obtain. When you take off the make-up and look at our spirits, perhaps Penny was far more beautiful than I or any celebrity, even with all the facelifts in California. I look at a picture of two sisters and now see that Penny was the beautiful one and I have been the ugly duckling. It is said, “True beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

I think my Pastor said it best at Penny’s funeral. “All the gold in California is not in a bank in Beverley Hills. It is right here.” The gold was shinning in that service through the life Penny lived and through all the people who shared in her beautiful life. A penny is made of copper. Our Penny was pure gold.

I love you Penny, my beautiful little sister.