Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Voice Of The Lord

Aren't children too smart? I mean, seriously, how I am supposed to teach my children anything when they have such a brilliant insight, insatiable curiousity, and unquenchable abilitly to think for themselves... what a burden.

For example, this morning at family worship my dear 6 year old daughter came up with this question: If God isn't a human, and doesn't have a body, how can He have a voice? And if He doesn't have a voice, how can He speak to His people? How can I hear Him?

So, first, hurray that she WANTS to hear from Him. Second, hurray that she is worried she might miss it. And third, hurray that she is paying attention in family worship enough to catch that many details about who God is.

No we didn't get into big words like "anthropomorphism",
but we did do our best to explain that the God who could create something out of nothing (everything in fact) could certainly also give Himself a voice that would 'speak' in such a way as to have us 'hear', even if not audibly.

This reminded me of the Experiencing God study ( which stated that God speaks to us by the Holy Spirit through Prayer, His Word, Circumstances, and other People. Often we need to look to many of those things to collaborate each other.

But it also reminded me of Psalm 29:

The Voice of the Lord is upon the waters; The God of glory thunders, the Lord is over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful, the voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; Yes, the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. And He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; The Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord makes the deer to calve, and strips the forests bare, and in His temple everything says "Glory".

Look around you today. Look around with eyes open and see if you can 'hear' the Lord in what you see. Jesus said that His sheep know the voice of the Shepherd. Lord let us be the kind of people who look to see You move and listen to hear Your voice in all that happens around us.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas Story, Daily Truth

Whether you recall Linus' recitation in a Charlie Brown Christmas, or whether you numbly listen to it being read again this Christmas Eve service, Luke 2 is probably pretty familiar territory. Maybe it is so familiar, that like me you have come to only think of those precious words in terms of a quiet stable, a quiet sheepfold, and a baby laying silently in a mound of hay.

Last Sunday, my pastor challenged my understanding, and opened my eyes to a spiritual truth in that simple story that I need to meditate on daily; that if I really grasp it, will change my every moment from here on. (You can listen to his sermon here: but finish reading my blog first!)

In case there is anyone actually reading this blog, outside of the 5 close friends and family that I know check in here periodically, allow me to introduce a bit of my personality to you. I am a woman driven by fear: fear of circumstances, fear of failing, fear of people, fear of man's opinions, fear of all the 'what if's' of this life...Fear.

If the fear of man is a snare, then I am a little fox with her poor ankle smashed nearly irreparably in its hinges. (and no, that does not make me a foxy mama).

But the insight I gained on Sunday may have begun the freedom and release from fear that I need. Let me explain.

Luke 2 finds us out in the field with the shepherds watching over their flocks by night. Sound familiar yet? I'm sure you remember that when the angels appeared, the shepherds were "sore afraid". So what do the angels say? Pretty sensibly, and predictably they say "Fear Not, for I bring you good news of Great Joy that is for all people. For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior who is Christ the Lord.". Okay. I get that. Angels talking to shepherds 2000 years ago about their immediate need. Doesn't really apply to me.

But our pastor read it this way, "I say to you TODAY "Fear not, for I bring YOU good news of Great Joy, that is for ALL PEOPLE (including you and me). For on THAT DAY in the city of David there has been born for YOU a Savior who is Christ the Lord."

Oh. So something about that baby being born way back then has something to do with me not fearing. Well, sure. I know, He is my Savior so on the Last Day when I stand at Judgement I don't need to fear because Christ saved me from my sins. But what about today? What about everyday between now and then?

The Westminster Cathechism says that Christ has three offices: Prophet, Priest, and King. So on that day in the city of David not only was my Savior born but also my Prophet, Priest and King.

The Cathechism says that I need Christ to be Prophet because I am ignorant; Priest, because I am guilty, and King because I am weak and helpless. Sounds like the roots of all my fears.

So Lord, let me meditate, live in, dwell on, hold fast to, love, and soak in the truth that I can Fear Not. You were born not only to be the Savior from my sins and to free me from the condemnation of Judgement at the Last Day, but also to be the Prophet to teach me the Will of God everyday, the Priest to forgive my sins everyday, and the King to rule and defend me everyday.

That should all add up to a very Merry Christmas, and the happiest of all New Years.

Friday, December 22, 2006


So in those exciting pre-Christmas shopping days, my family and I went to the mall. Mind you we were not shopping for others...oh no; we were quite happily, selfishly buying a new bedspread for the lovely bed my husband just built for us (yeah!).
But I digress; the shopping isn't the point. The shopping is only the reason we happened to be out 'in the world' where homeschooling moms get blasted. You know that verse in Proverbs ("they will praise her in the city gates"...that must not include Sears in Sarnia.)
After beautiful comments on the number and appearance and behaviour of my children, one lady decided to give me her opinion on the fact that we homeschool. Now I'm used to many categories of comments, as I'm sure you are. Typically it is "Oh I could never do that", "You must be so patient and organized", " What about socialization?" and so on. But for what I think was the first time, I heard "What qualifications do you have to teach your children?"
Now after having a few days to think about it, I have some excellent answers: For example, I love my children more than any public school teacher could, no matter how well trained she may be.
However, what I said probably sounded quite pathetic: "Oh, you know, you don't really have to be qualified at all. I mean, the curriculum choices online are amazing and most of them script every word you have to say (which sounds like "I'm really pretty stupid and unable to think on my own, so I need the publisher to tell me how to explain what a noun is."). Then I did try to cover my bases by saying "Well, I did go to university," which seemed to earn me some favour in this lady's eyes.
Still, I have been asking myself since then, what does make me think I am qualified to teach my children? Here is the answer I've come up with: The Lord, who is all wise, chose me to be the mom of these little ones, and it was He who put the burden on my heart to homeschool. If He says so, it must be, that I am able to teach my children.
I usually am not a big fan of those quippy signs in front of churches, but one of those slogans keeps coming to mind in this context: God doesn't call the equipped, He equips those He calls. Sounds like us doesn't it? Do you remember the people being amazed at the apostles' teaching because they were uneducated men? However, because of their skill and ability, and because of their lack of education, the people could then "know" that they had been with the Lord. This is the only qualification I want or need. I want to be the kind of woman, wife, mother, and homeschooler who can stand out in the world as being unqualified, except for having been with the Lord.
Lord, May I spend so much time at Your feet and in Your Word that I am clearly, and visibly trained by You.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Part of the Answer

Sometimes the Lord uses the strangest things to remind us of the Joy of the journey with Him. Here are the lyrics from a song called The Wood Song by the Indigo Girls. They are not a Christian band, and yet this song is full of wisdom. I wish I had written myself. I'm not going to comment on it either. It rather speaks for itself.

The Wood Song

The thin horizon of a plan is almost clear
My friends and I have had a tough time
We're bruising our brains hard up against change
All the old dogs and the magician

Now I see we're in the boat in two by two's
Only the heart that we have for a tool we can use
And the very close quarters are hard to get used to
Love weighs the hull down with its weight

But the wood is tired, and the wood is old
And we'll make it fine if the weather holds
But if the weather holds we'll have missed the point
That's where I need to go

No way construction of this tricky plan
Was built by other than a Greater Hand
With a Love that passes all our understanding
Watching closely over the journey

Yeah, but what it takes to cross the great divide
Seems more than all the courage I can muster up inside
But we get to have some answers when we reach the other side
The prize is always worth the rocky ride

And the wood is tired and the wood is old
And we'll make it fine if the weather holds
But if the weather holds we'll have missed the point
That's where I need to go

Sometimes I ask to sneak a closer look
Skip to the final chapter of the book
And then maybe steer us clear of some of the pain it took
To get us where we are this far, this far

But the question drowns in its futility
And even I have got to laugh at me
Because no one gets to miss the storm of what will be
Just holding on for the ride

But the wood is tired and the wood is old
And we'll make it fine if the weather holds
But if the weather holds we'll have missed the point
That's where I need to go

Friday, December 8, 2006

Consequence Free

So in case anyone was wondering what kinds of things I'd like to do without consequence as hinted at yesterday, let me clarify. I was not talking about wanting to rob a bank and not get caught; nor was I wanting to gorge myself at Christmas and not gain any weight (although that would be nice). No, one of the things I was thinking about was making 'simple' decisions like which church to attend.

Ah, the million dollar question. For 3 years now our family has been trying to settle into a new church home after having moved out of the city of our 'home church' for the better part of 2 decades. Does it matter which church you go to? Are there 'consequences' attached to which one you choose? Believe me, we have swung to both extremes of the pendulum in our search. And yes, I would say there are things that will effect our family dramatically based on which body of believers we join.

For example, at one church our children would grow up thinking that the Holy Spirit doesn't function in the gifts today the way He did in the New Testament. I would have to unteach that at home, and they would not get to exercise their spiritual gifts in the Body.

At another, our children would grow up thinking that God overlooks all kinds of sin because the Ten Commandments don't really apply to Christians today. So again, I would have to unteach that at home, and they would have to close their eyes to all kinds of moral neutrality and depravity within the Body, and wonder why we have a higher standard for them than the other kids have.

At another, our children would grow up thinking that what you do is more important than why you do it. At home I would have to teach that although God really looks at the heart, man looks at the outward appearance so we kind of have to play along with tradition to 'fit in'.

At still another, they would might learn that being busy 'doing church' is the same as being fruitful in the Kingdom, and that church activity = spiritual success.

My husband's Uncle once asked why people find it so hard to find a church when there are "lots of good churches" by which he meant many that have right theology, even if your heart is not engaged.

Why can't we just pick a church, some church, any church, without wondering what effect it might have on us? I don't want to have to worry about what my kids will learn, be influenced by, worry about. I just kind of want to be Joe Christian going to a 'good Church' without stressing over whether or not it is the right church. Don't get me wrong, we have enjoyed parts of every church we've visited, and enjoyed getting to know the people we've met. There have been things to learn at each church too, and we've been grateful for those nuggets of new thought. I am not implying that those churches are "wrong" and we are "right". Others would thrive in these places. They are full of people who love the Lord and want to do His will, just like us. But because I do believe there are 'consequences' to our choices, I have to believe that there is a church for us to join that will come with God's great blessings, an overflow of His love and pleasure for us. That's what I want. Pick one church and just be 'okay'. Pick another and really grow and blossom in the Lord's place for us.

Psalm 38:6-10 speaks very accurately of my experience these last many months: "I am bent over and greatly bowed down; I go mourning all day long. For my loins are filled with burning; and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am benumbed and badly crushed; I groan because of the agitation of my heart. Lord, all my desire is before thee. and my sighing is not hidden from Thee. My heart throbs, my strength fails me; and the light of my eyes, even that has gone from me."

We long to find our new church home so we can finally dig in to what the Lord has planned for our family. We are longing for the community of believers that we've been missing. I am longing for my experience to stop being like Ps.38:6-10 and start being like Ps. 40:1-3.

Come Lord and show us Your plan. Speak clearly, because it seems like we are not quite getting it.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Puritan Ponderings

This morning at our family worship, my husband read a prayer from a book we love called The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions. Sometimes it is helpful to read what someone else wrote to put words to what you feel, but can't quite express.

This morning's reading really made me think though, and I'm glad it was my husband reading it and not me so that I had time to mull over what I was saying "amen" to.

Listen: "Creator, upholder, and proprietor of all things, We cannot escape from thy presence and control, nor do we desire to do so."

Whoa. So already in the first 3 lines of the prayer I had to say, "Really Lord? If I'm being honest can I always say that I don't desire to escape from Your presence and control?" I think there are many times that we wish we could just duck out for a few minutes and do our own thing without worrying about whether we are now walking in God's blessings or His discipline.

Years ago we knew a young teenage couple who had the foolish idea to have "Sin free days". Not that they would not sin all day long, but that they could choose to sin willingly and pretend that there were no consequences. Great Big Sea even has a song called "Consequence Free". It is quite catchy. But the point is all wrong. I remember thinking how irresponsible to choose to intentionally sin expecting that God would give you a day off from responsible living and natural consequences.

Except now I'm realizing that in my heart, if not in my actions, I am very interested in having the freedom to step out from under God's control on occassion.

Fortunately that is not an option. Imagine how dreadfully I would ruin things.

Thankfully, as I was thinking these things (and the thoughts came quickly!) the prayer continued next to say "Our privilege is to be under the agency of thy omnipotence, righteousness, wisdom, patience, mercy and grace; For thou art Love with more than parental affection."

So it maybe isn't so bad to submit (which my husband discovered one time means to 'get under and wait') when the One I am submitting to only has love for me, even if it feels hard some days. He is all wise, all patient, all merciful, all gracious.
Lord help me to surrender. Not just when you are asking me to do something I would normally do anyway (that's not true obedience), but also when the way looks tough and I am weary. You are good Lord. Thank You for covering me.