Revival

•December 3, 2008 • 2 Comments

I received this from a friend and although I don’t usually read (or listen to) forwarded messages, and almost never forward them myself, I find this one well worth the time.

May this message not only challenge, but also change us!

Eleventh-Hour Provision

•November 10, 2008 • 4 Comments

Why does it so often happen that God answers our prayers at the 11th hour?

Until our own home is vacated by our tenants next August, we need a place to stay here in Ontario temporarily. For the past 3 weeks, we have loved being with our son and his family, living in a 4-bedroom house with 6 children, sleeping on a mattress on the floor in their music/computer/office/school room, but it is not an arrangement that can work over the long term.

We knew this months ago and have been praying accordingly. But it was not until one day last week that any prospects even came to view. Then everything came together in a few days. Not only that, but we will not even be paying utilities for 11 weeks! (This will help pay our way to Nicaragua next March, where we’ll be taking our two eldest grandsons on a Journey of Compassion with Impact Nations.) In exchange, I will be stripping wallpaper and painting the walls of a small spare room where we will be house-sitting during that time. Before and after our house-sitting job, we will be sharing our friends’ house where we will have our own room!

Once again, our prayers are answered and then some!

But back to my original question, could it be that our Father knows that as soon as we get an answer we won’t seek Him or pray as diligently? Perhaps it is more important, to us and to Him, that we remain close than that we know how our needs will be met in the future.

New Address – or Rather, Addresses

•October 30, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I am setting up a new blog as “Sunshine”, to mark another major change in our lives: We have moved back to Ontario.

It was good for us to be out west. He enriched us with more “sons and daughters” than we left behind. Our adventures with Impact Nations stretched us and helped us become more reliant and trusting in God’s provision and protection. We have hopes of continuing with the clean water projects when possible, as well as joining the team on Journeys of Compassion. The only difference will be our base of operation.

Over the summer months, we lived on our sailboat, “Grace”, and after several weeks of preparation, we took a 7-week cruise from Point Roberts, Washington across the Strait of Georgia to the San Juan Islands, through the Gulf Islands, across the Strait again to the “Sunshine Coast “ of B.C. and even as far as Desolation Sound – and back, of course. During August, Bob and Sue Buckley joined us for a few days, sailing with us from “Grief Point” to “Desolation Sound”. We found out how these places got their name, but it wasn’t as bad as it sounds.

I began this cruise with a lot of anxiety, lest we have bad weather or make a navigation error that led us onto the rocks. But I came home confident that no matter what happens, God helps us find a way through it. As usual, I came to this point the hard way:

There was plenty of bad weather, but we always found ourselves in a safe place when it came.

There were a few mishaps, but we found ways to resolve them and learned to be better sailors.

We lived together aboard “Grace” – our 35-foot sailboat – from the middle of June to the middle of October. Our friends watched us closely, often asking how we were managing, living together in such close quarters. I thank God for the “grace” we had for each other while on “Grace”! It was a good experience, and we hope to do it again next summer. We already miss our friends and “family” in Vancouver and look forward to playing and working with them again.

Once I get set up on my “Sunshine” blog, I’ll post some photos of our sailing adventure and include some stories.

The Way

•April 30, 2008 • 2 Comments

I wish to try to explain the process that has got me out from the boggy jungle I mentioned just yesterday.

As I read scripture with the desire to know Jesus better, to grow closer to him, I sensed Him speaking to me with love, as He spoke to Peter who had begun to sink as he walked on the water:

“Immediately, Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. ‘O you of little faith,’ He said,’why did you doubt?'” (Matthew 14:31).

I recalled that I only needed faith as little as a mustard seed, and I knew I had that much – I believed He was at work in me and that healing is in His presence, though I couldn’t see it or feel it right then. I declared that together we would get through this jungle and back onto dry land. Saints of old taught that the most valuable spiritual lessons and growth occur during times of adversity. Reading Hebrews 2:10, I saw that even Jesus was made perfect through suffering! Then I went on to read:

“Therefore, fix your eyes on Jesus . . .” (Hebrews 3:1).

I went back to reading Matt. 14, where people brought their sick to Him and those who touched His cloak were healed. I responded, “Surely, I am near enough to touch your cloak!” and it was like a light went on in the darkness of the jungle, so bright that I couldn’t see the oppressive encroaching vegetation any more – All I could see was Jesus – not as a man, but a presence. (It’s hard to describe.) And I suddenly knew in a deeper way what Jesus meant when He said, “I AM the Way . . .” There is no path apart from Him. I had been looking for Him to show me a path to follow. But He IS the path. I sensed Him saying,

“In me, you will never die. With me, you will live the abundant life, no matter the circumstances. In me, you are lifted above it all . . .”

I guess this is what an “epiphany” is. I have a totally different outlook now – outward circumstances haven’t changed, but I have. Perhaps if I had not felt lost in the jungle for a few weeks, I would never have seen Jesus in quite this way. The misery of the past has telescoped into a moment of memory while the glory of the present stretches out into the future.

Funny, that.

By the way, thanks for your prayers. God is good!

Bogged Down . . .

•April 29, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Hi, everyone. I’m back . . . sort of. I haven’t been writing because I’ve been bogged down lately, and not known how to put it into words. I’m still not sure if this will be worth the read, but for my own sake, I have to try.

Remember when I wrote about the adventure – how I felt like I was white-water rafting? And then I was floating along on smooth waters? Well, the raft seems to have taken a small tributary that ended in a bog! I told Bob this afternoon that I felt like I was lost in a jungle and could not see any way through.

Olympic National Park, WA

It doesn’t make sense. Aside from this aberrant emotional state, things are going well. The CML medication is working very well and all my blood tests are normal; we went on a great mini-vacation to the ocean on the Olympic Peninsula a couple of weeks ago. . .

View from our cabin - La Push, WA

View from our cabin – Quilleute Reservation, WA

I am looking forward to a visit next month with my precious family and friends back in Ontario; our preparations to move onto the boat when we return are coming along nicely; we have a summer of cruising the beautiful southern BC coast planned; and in the Fall, we’ll be moving back home to Ontario. So, I say with the psalmist:

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God” (Psalm 42:5).

I know that God is faithful and loves me and is with me, but I can’t find comfort in this truth right now. My eyes have been on the tangled growth around me and on the mire sucking around my ankles. I need to get my eyes back on you, Lord. Help me!

“Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me . . . to the place where you dwell” (Psalm 43:3).

Humpback whale - La Push, WA

I was doing so well in the beginning. I’m usually on a pretty even keel.

Now, at times, I am barely keeping my head above the water, like this humpback whale!

Bob thinks I’m down because of some symptoms I have been having lately that may or may not be side-effects of the medication.

Please pray for me. I will not wait so long to report.

One good thing I can see is the humbling factor in all this!

Just Thinking . . .

•March 22, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Matt. 10:16-19 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves . . . On my account . . . they will arrest you . . .”

Jesus had just given his apostles power and authority to heal and to deliver from sickness and evil spirits. Along with this authority, he gave a warning that persecution will come – like a “package deal”. We know from scripture’s and history’s records that persecution often did come. As a result, the good news was disseminated far and wide. God was ultimately glorified.

Some expect that persecution will come in the form of spiritual attack on health and finances and loved ones as we step out in obedience to God, but there is something that just doesn’t sit right with me in that expectation. I have even heard people say that such opposition is a sign that we who are seeking to follow Jesus must be doing something right – we are a real threat to the enemy. (This tends to glorify us more than God, doesn’t it?)

Well, there may be some truth in that belief, but what about all God’s promises of protection and provision, strength and blessing for those who fear and love Him? Surely they count for more than the threats of the enemy! If the devil consistently succeeds in taking us down either before or after every bit of Kingdom work, shouldn’t that indicate that we must also be doing something wrong?

I may be missing something, because I am still learning about spiritual things. Perhaps persecution does come in these forms. What I have seen so far, though, is that it came to Paul through men’s opposition – men undoubtedly under the influence of evil, through ignorance, pride, lust, selfish ambition or any number of sinful entryways for the influence of Satan – but still, through the agency of sinful man.

I believe it could be my own choices that make me vulnerable to enemy attack. The devil is always on the prowl, seeking whom he may devour, kill, rob or destroy. If I am making foolish or sinful choices, I make myself vulnerable. I am not sure about this, especially since the recent CML diagnosis I am dealing with – I’d rather not believe it is a result of anything in me that has opened the way for it. On the other hand, if it is something I have done, then as soon as I find out what it is, I can hope to regain some control of my life through repentance and trusting in God’s mercy. (I confess, I kind of like this idea of control!)

Perhaps the test should be, “Does this glorify God?” I can’t see how sickness, financial setbacks and relational troubles glorify God. However, I am pretty sure the early believers who were fed to the lions couldn’t see how their suffering did either, unless the Lord gave them a revelation to strengthen them.

Even so, I choose to believe that God’s promises have more weight than the devil’s threats, and that even when we do get taken down through sickness and other troubles, the Lord is with us to heal and deliver and bring good out of any situation to those who love and worship Him in Spirit and in truth. I choose not to dwell on what the enemy might do or might have done, for that gives him glory, perhaps even relinquishing to him again the power that has been restored to us in Jesus’ name. I will, by God’s grace, believe that God is true to His word and that He in me is greater than he who is in the world!

Back to the Future

•March 15, 2008 • 2 Comments

winter_landscape.jpg
Ontario Winter, watercolour, 2004

We’re getting ready to go home to Ontario. Everyone thinks we are crazy, what with the record snowfall in the Hamilton area this winter, and I guess we are crazy – about our kids and grandkids.

Besides that, though, we feel our purpose for coming here in the first place has been fulfilled and that to stay on would be like marching in place – energy expended but going nowhere!

We are not just going back to our old lifestyle, to the way things were. We will still be associated with Impact nations, and going on missions from time to time – just from a different home base.

Besides that, we believe that there is something new for us there. First of all, we may not even be able to move into our own home right away. Secondly, we have had a growing conviction that we will find like-minded people back there who share our desire to follow Jesus from adventure to adventure in close fellowship with one another, as we’ve been blessed to have found here.

grace_reid_hbr-8622.jpg

“Grace”, Reid Harbor, San Juan Islands, 2007

We will miss our dear friends here and the beauty of the west coast. Before we go, though, we are planning to move onto the boat in June and take a long sailing vacation up the BC coast, perhaps to Desolation Sound and environs. In an ideal world, we will be able to keep our boat here and come back for a sailing vacation each summer. We’ll see . . .