Tuesday, October 10, 2017

To Boldly Go 

Early in the morning, I could hear the rain dripping from the Eaves trough. The rooster’s crow rang loud through my open window. There I lay in the dark with my eyes open, snuggled cozy in my bed. Then my mind starts to wander. I am reminded to pray for this person and that person. Next, my mind is off on a star trek type journey. This is a lifelong mission, to explore this strange planet, to seek out life for all, to boldly go where many have gone before. I know it is not the same wording as the Star Trek introduction.  I memorized it when I was a child. My brother and I watched that television show every day after school. Yes, back then, it was in black and white.

                Where is this journey taking me? I don’t know. I just know that I had to get up out of the dark bedroom and come and write this down while the rooster still crows. Did I count the rooster’s crows? No, but he actually has been crowing nonstop since about four o’clock this morning. There is no correlation that I am aware of to the disciple Peter who denied Christ three times. Each time he denied knowing Jesus, he heard the rooster crow. Every morning, I hear that crow. Lord help me if I deny Christ Jesus that many times or at all.  I know Jesus forgave Peter because Peter became the rock that the Christian church was built on. Jesus, after his resurrection from death, met with Peter and the other disciples. Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him. Peter was extremely convicted of his sin and he truly did love the Lord and Peter answered Jesus with an emphatic, “Yes Lord, I love you”.
See reference in John 21. Click on link

Peter served God for the rest of his life. He certainly had many trials and testing during his life of service to God. Jesus had promised He would leave a helper to be with his disciples. That would include those who died for their faith.

Yes, I believe God was there at the end of Peter’s life when they hung him upside down on a cross. While there may have even been times when he questioned, his faith remained to his last breath. The same can be said of Paul and others who have been martyred for their faith.  I am told that when people are martyred for the faith in Christ that God (HOLY SPIRIT) is there with them and does help them endure. We have heard of many martyrs. The first one mentioned as the early Christian Church began was when they stoned Stephen to death because he preached a very convicting message from God to the people. They did not want to hear the message God had for them.
You can read the entire account of Stephen in the New Testament- Book of Acts chapter 6 and 7.   https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+7&version=ESV 

The Stoning of Stephen

54 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together[b] at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Wow! That is amazing Grace)

In my research when I typed in martyrs, this website came up. I found it interesting to see these priest who were martyrs and this was in Ontario in the 1600’s

Many have travelled the globe to give the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the great commission to every believer. We don’t all have to go all over the world. We can begin right in our home town. I am thankful also to the brave apostles who went out in boldness to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many men and women have also been martyred for their faith over the centuries for fulfilling that great commission.

What is the Great Commission? This phrase is taken from the Words of Christ Himself as instruction to the disciples who became known as apostles. These men by spreading the gospel and teachings of Christ Jesus formed what is called Christianity. Basically, the word Christianity covers a great many people who use this name. For the early church, to be called a Christian, held great responsibility. A Christian was to follow and live out the teachings of Christ and not just recite them to the people.

The Great Commission – Matthew 28:18-20 English Standard Version - The basic doctrine of every Christ centred Church is based on these verses.

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

I have attended so many funerals and it always seems the preacher uses the verse from John 14:1-7. I sit and listen and because I know Jesus I am comforted. I often wonder how many people sitting there also know this truth within the words. We have come to lay our loved one at rest and we are given the great words of hope and eternal life to comfort us in our grief.

For some, we have lived our lives and explored everything on the planet and now our proud song is played. “Regrets, I’ve had a few. I’ve travelled each and every byway, but more, much more than this. . . . The grand finale’ “I did it my WAY”. We are called to do life “God’s Way”. In doing life our way, we all must ask ourselves where does God find a place in the “my way” of our lives?

We are not told to do things our way.

I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life

John 14: 1-7

14 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;[a] believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”[c] Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.[d] From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

These are the words I was inspired to write about this morning. Part of my life long mission to explore this planet and spread the words of life and seek out new generations to also go out for generations to come and spread the Word of Life. I suppose that if all those who have died for their faith in Jesus, would have lived different lives, the gospel would not have been spread across the globe for the last 2000 years. If they had lived their lives their way, instead of the way of Christ, what would the world look like today? Would it still be here? We can also ask ourselves if we lived our lives according to how God has called us to live, how would our lives be different right now?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Handmade Dish Cloth

Briefly, through the corner of my eye, I saw the red tinge covering the horizon as the sun began to rise early this morning. The fog lay over the fields like a nicely folded blanket percolating from the lowlands. Hundreds of black birds sat on the branches intermingling with the colourful leaves as they sang an extra loud symphonically orchestrated song.  I stepped outside to take a breath of the morning’s freshness while I watched our dog get the newspaper. Mornings like this bring a wave of appreciation to God’s magnificent ingenuity.  All these wonderful gifts to experience so early in the morning set the stage making it a great start to the day.

                We cannot always stop and smell the fragrances of autumn for too long. Life brings with it, many jobs which need to be done. It was not long before I busied myself with my daily routine of feeding chickens, doing dishes and hanging a load of laundry out to dry. There is something about seeing the clothing blow in the breeze. Perhaps a nostalgic memory of my own childhood when my mother hung all her clothing and bed sheets out to dry.

Wiping off my countertop, I couldn’t help but notice the holes in my dish cloth which had been well used. How often I had also washed that cloth with my laundry and reused it again and again. They are very hardy those handmade dish cloths, these ones that my mother had knitted together with her loving hands. Maybe that is why I hesitated for so long to discard it. I remember in her later years as aging had made its changes to her body, much like that aging dish cloth. Her hands lost their flexibility, her eyes dimmed by macular degeneration which made it difficult for her to see the stitches on her needles. I remember her frustration she experienced making those cloths. They didn’t come out square. She took such pride in whatever she did to make sure it was done right. Smiling at my memories, I also realize the love she poured into ever knit and pearl.

I looked at the huge hole in the cloth and saw the unraveling of the wool. It was no longer a nice white cloth. It had been used so much it was a dingy gray. That morning it had wiped its last countertop. With some sentimental attachment I had to put that dish cloth to rest. It accomplished its grand purpose. It just plumb wore out. Much like that dish cloth, my Mother’s body just plumb wore out too and she died a couple years ago. Needless to say those cherished cloths she gave me have such sentimental value.  

After reluctantly discarding that old dish cloth, I went on with my day. Sometimes it is difficult to keep on track as my eyes seem to wander to something else I could do. If I rearrange all my potted flowers or change a picture on the wall, move some furniture or change a table cloth. Then one thing leads to another.

                As I was digging through my over flow of stored blankets and table cloths, two little pure white handmade dish cloths fell out from the bottom of my jam packed Chester drawer. My mother had knitted them together with her loving hands. They were not square, somewhat distorted in shape and probably two of the last ones she had made.

                Little things like this sneak up on us when we least expect them. The two cloths I held in my hand, took me back once again to those reflective memories of my mother. I asked myself, should I use them or put them back in amongst all the table cloths and blankets and leave them there and save them? Or Do I use them knowing full well that they will wear out and eventually also finish their purpose.

                Sometimes it is hard to completely let go of these earthly treasures which we hold so dear to our hearts. In letting go, we somehow think we are letting go of the person connected to those earthly treasures. The sentimental value I attach to these things, other people don’t have to them. Long after I am gone, one of my children may pull out those two dish cloths that are imperfect.  To them, the dish cloths might look like rags. So, I pause for one more moment in time and ask what my mother would suggest. My mother would probably say, “That is why I made them, for you to use.”

The Bible tells me the answer to my peril.

Matthew 6:19 – 20 ESV -  19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Reference -Biblegateway.com