…they followed her, supposing she was going
to the tomb to mourn there.”
John 11:31 (NIV)
We were on holiday last week and took time to visit friends near North Bay and to visit my brother’s grave at Chetwynd near Burkes Falls.
I recall the time I lived on a farm across the road from the cemetery and my brother and I would investigate the place and read the names of what seemed to be many Rumfords buried there. You see there were babies, teens, and old people with our family name who rest in that place.
My reflections at the tombstone of my brother and his wife were both sorrowful and comforting. I recalled the times we attended the little church across the road from the graveyard. I looked at what used to be a field in front of our old farmhouse. Now it was overgrown with many trees 30 or more feet high. We had many happy times there but now things were different as I could never again speak with my brother in this life.
Yet, there was a quiet peace in my heart as I thought about the fact that I would see my brother and his wife again. They had loved Jesus and were now enjoying useful and productive lives in heaven. This thought made me thankful for the Gospel message I preach each week. There is great comfort in the context of sorrow if we know Jesus.
Continue reading 'Where to go in a time of trouble'»
“She…sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.”
Luke 10:39 (NIV)
From my earliest days I have loved reading. Over the years my library has grown to several thousand volumes. Books are my constant companions even, and especially, when I go away on vacation. I suppose I should say that all my books are about the Bible and the Christian ministry. Well, I must confess they are not.
I have a good section of books written by the great writers of the centuries in English literature. There are history books galore. Also there are many books on the sciences such as astronomy and physics. My recreational reading is not in my area of formal studies at university.
It appals me to see so many young people with fine minds playing with video games, iPods and so on. What mindless activity this is when you might be informing yourself on the world around us and its wonders. Entertainment can be received in small doses like salt, but in large quantities it poisons the mind to vastly more edifying things.
In modern society there are an incredible number of voices vying for our attention. We cannot look anywhere without observing advertising to help us spend our money. There are so many magazines with detailed photos on the cover that promise to get us up to speed on the latest affairs of the rich and famous.
Such information will never land us a good job, help us solve our problems in life, or show us how to be better citizens of society. Yet people fill their minds on such useless information as if the details of other people’s lives are crucial to our continued existence.
Continue reading 'What are you hearing?'»
“Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
John 18:11 (NIV)
Many times when I am dealing with a person in difficulty they will say to me how merciful of God not to allow us to see the future. What they mean is that the knowledge of a future sorrow will rob today of its joy. The sad situation they have entered, if they had known it was coming, would have spoiled the days before its appearance on their horizon.
Living each day as it comes, without trying to see the future, is a wise course to chart in life. A dear friend has a degenerative illness that can only get worse. Now she has to use a cane to walk anywhere.
She knows that some day she will no longer use a cane because she will be looking at life from a wheelchair. However, today she puts bows, or ribbons on the cane before she goes out in the morning or for the evening with her friends.
There is no holding this person back. Because she can get about today she does. Tomorrow’s issues can wait, she has certain abilities today and they will serve her as long as they remain. When they depart, then she shall concern herself with what to do about the new reality.
Continue reading 'He drank damnation dry'»
“…I watch in hope for the Lord,” Micah 7:7 (NIV)
One Sunday many years ago I had finished preaching and walked down the aisle of the sanctuary to greet the people as they left to go home. Before anyone could get to me my 5 year old son ran ahead of them toward me with his arms outstretched to greet me.
I held my arms out to receive him and with the momentum of his running I took hold of him and swept him up and onto the shelf above the coat rack. He was frightened to be suddenly up that high and cried to come down. I told him to jump and I would catch him.
It was a foolish thing I said because if he did jump I might miss and let him fall to the ground. The little fellow immediately jumped and happily for me I able to catch him and let him down gently to the floor where I stood. My son demonstrated more faith in me than he should have. Apparently he was still at an age when he believed his father could do anything.
It is likely that all of us have been “let down” by someone we thought totally trustworthy. It hurts to be in a position where we suffer because someone did not live up to their promise to us. It may be a marriage vow broken, a church leader who led a double life, a neighbour who broke a confidence we shared with them or any other matter where a commitment made was not kept.
Continue reading '“Jump, Daddy will catch you.”'»
“…give me your heart…” Proverbs 23:26 (NIV)
I suppose that no person has the heart of a small child like it’s mother. It seems natural and proper for a child to have given their heart to the one who has shown the most love in action towards them. However, the time will come when the boy or girl will grow up and give their heart to another.
We do not fault the young adult for displacing their mother and father with someone who has not demonstrated the sacrificial love of the parents. This is the normal cycle of life and the marriage partner has the strongest hold on the spouse of anyone in the world. All of us who are married have put someone ahead of our parents in our affections.
Yet, in the biblical view of the world and life, there is One who asks for first place in our heart. The person who calls on us to give first place in our heart to him is the Creator, the one who made us. God is actually jealous for first place in our hearts and in our text for today we hear Him calling on us to give our hearts to Him.
Continue reading 'Where is your heart?'»