Thought For The Day
The way you receive rest is to be yoked with Jesus, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Pastor Joseph Prince.
Thought For The Day
The way you receive rest is to be yoked with Jesus, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Pastor Joseph Prince.
When I knew divorce for me was imminent, I believed what I was trained – divorce means you’re done. Fortunately, I had some godly counselors who let me know otherwise. So I told God, “I will proceed to obey Your call upon my life. If You don’t want to use me, I pray You will stop me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” He’s still using me. But I don’t want to focus on my story today. I want to focus on the stories of a few others of whom you may or may not be familiar.
One is a man named Ray Jones. He was a minister of music in Texas when he came home to a goodbye note from his wife. She no longer wanted to be married to a man in ministry. His church fired him, and he saw no foreseeable future in ministry. A pastor who had just…
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The above pic of a statue in the city of Worms, Germany.
500 years ago, Martin Luther nailed his thesis of 95 grievances to the door of the Wittenberg Church. We celebrate that day as the birth of the Protestant Reformation. You can read the list of his grievances here.
In those days the Roman Catholic Church was a very controlling and corrupt force. The clergy convinced the public that they (the pope and the clergy) had the decision-making power as to who would go to hell or heaven. Money spoke. Anyone with money, religious or not, could buy their way out of purgatory and into heaven. The church was pretty powerful in convincing the poor to give their last dime to the church in order to save their souls. This is only one example of many that were problematic in the church.
Martin Luther spent a few years as a monk searching for truth and for a personal relationship with God. As he searched the scriptures he saw many inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the church. He left the priesthood and enrolled at the University of Wittenberg eventually becoming a professor of theology. While preparing for his lectures and studying the Bible, he came to realize that salvation comes through faith, not by works. Salvation could not be determined by the pope or by any priest or any man, but rather only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Furthermore, he determined that the pope did not have the sole right to interpret scripture, but rather that each person should have access to the written scripture so that they could determine the truth for themselves.
He wrote a thesis detailing his perception of the inaccurate beliefs preached by the Roman Catholic Church and nailed this thesis to the door of the Wittenberg church. At a special trial in Worms, Germany (called the Diet of Worms), he was convicted as a heretic and excommunicated. Threatened with arrest and branded as an outlaw, his life was at constant risk. He spent the rest of his years as a fugitive.
This year I was fortunate to travel to Germany where we stopped in Worms and I was able to get some pictures of the church there and several statutes of some of the Fathers of the Reformation. Unfortunately, we did not have a guide in this city, so we were unable to interpret many of the inscriptions on the statutes and graves inside the church.
A few pics of the church in Worms, Germany.
A few days later, we were in Geneva, Switzerland and visited the Museum of the Reformation. We were not permitted to take any pictures inside the museum, but the pictures below are of the area around the museum.
I read that the original Protestant churches met in secret in caves in the mountains around the city of Geneva during these early years of change. There is one cave that can be visited and is still set up as a chapel. However, access to that site is very difficult, requiring a car and good set of hiking boots. We didn’t have time to scout this out.
A few pics of the area around the Museum of the Reformation in Geneva, Switzerland.
We may wonder if healing will come. Sometimes God seems so far away. But his promises hold true.
It was as a dream. The exception is that it was more than a mere dream. Not even a vision of the night, but an encounter. For those who can believe, I am certain some aspect of me truly was there, even if only in spirit.
Sitting close to the centre in the second row, the speaker was central to my view. One person to my left in the group was debating the truth of the speaker’s words–not to be difficult, but because they didn’t yet know the truth experientially. As for me I sat transfixed, smiling at him as warmth filled my being and nodding my assent.
“I have Loved you to Pie/ace.”
To One Piece, and to Peace. A play on words. The content was about becoming whole, as one piece rather than broken or fragmented, and to peace versus anxiety and fear. I knew it in every…
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Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Today I reflect on thankfulness.
Yesterday, we celebrated Thanksgiving Dinner with my son and his family, and my daughter. My son and daughter-in-law are the most amazing cooks. Their turkey dinner (and most other meals they cook) would beat any contest going. I’ve often nagged them to open their own restaurant, to no avail. To their credit, they’ve both worked in the foodservice industry and they know the hard work and expense that such a venture entails. They prefer to share their culinary talents with friends and families for free. We are always delighted when we get an invite.
My son and his daughter-in-law both have the gift of hospitality. Although I encouraged my son’s culinary interests, the love of hospitality was not something that he inherited from me. Perhaps I slaved over the kitchen stove when my kids were growing up but I no longer do so, nor do I desire to. I am truly thankful for these two special people in our lives that pour out their talents to bless others.
I am thankful for the gift of a beautiful granddaughter. Needless to say, because of her parents, this young one will grow up with a very sophisticated palate. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if she becomes a chef or some other type of expert in the food industry. At the age of one, her future is a blank slate waiting to be written. We can place options in front of her, but in the end, it will be the talents imbued by her creator that will draw her to her chosen field. I am thankful to have the opportunity to encourage her to develop her God-given talents.
I am thankful for my husband. Because of his faithfulness to me and dedication to our life, I have everything that I need. More importantly, I have someone that does his best to take care of me when I can’t take care of myself. Those difficult days happen too frequently. But he never complains.
My husband and I are polar opposites in many respects. One balances what the other lacks. He freezes at the technological challenges that stupify many of our generation, while I take up such challenges with the belief that if a small child can learn it, then I can too. I’m willing to take risks while he prefers playing it safe. He needs structure, clarity and defined schedules, while I function with loose boundaries and diffuseness. I may see a fridge full of opportunities while he only sees sandwiches and canned soup. Together we may be opposites, but we encourage each other to greatness.
That wasn’t always the case. There was a time when we attacked each other’s differences. Now we accept them and embrace them, and admire them. Each is what the other is not. Today I am grateful for this diversity.
I am thankful for my daughter. Her challenges and limitations taught me patience and acceptance. I think back to how incredibly impatient I was as a young mom. Because of her, I learned to pause, reflect and develop critical thinking. Parenting a special needs child requires strong problem-solving skills. Because of her, I developed a strength in that area. Without her, I would still be an incredibly selfish woman. Today when I see people who struggle with life, I wonder if they have loving family and friends to help them cope with their disabilities. I see the failure of our society to address the needs of the disadvantaged and my spirit cries. I am thankful that I can understand and that I have been blessed enough that I can help.
I am thankful that my husband has two daughters and a precious granddaughter that love him. Even though they are three thousand miles apart, he has a connection and a bond with them that tells him that he is loved. The physical distance saddens him. All miss out on the special occasions in each other’s lives. Birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving and special events are celebrated without each other. This is an unfortunate reality. Thankfully, technology makes distance less distant. I’m thankful that he is loved. Because he feels loved, he is able to love me more.
I am thankful for so many wonderful friends that grace our lives. There are people that pour into our lives and allow us the opportunity to pour into theirs. Sometimes we are so empty and we need others to fill us. When love overflows in our hearts we can spill over into others. Love is that gift that just keeps on giving.
I’m thankful for the memories of our parents. My mother still lives, but her life is frail and fading. It’s always sad and painful when people pass. But we can hold on to great memories that remind us of those that loved us and encouraged us in our lives.
I’m most grateful for the Christian foundation instilled by my parents. I shudder to think what my life would be without that. Because of them, I know that Jesus lives and I know he cares about my daily life. Because of their influence, I learned to talk to God and to listen to the sound of his voice. My youthful rebellion proved that a life lived poorly is a life wasted, but obedience brings fruitfulness. Despite the many wrong paths that I took in my life, I eventually came back to the truth. We all make mistakes, but the education of our childhood cannot be understated. For that childhood and a lifetime of memories, I am grateful.
I am thankful for Canada, the country of my birth. Our country still permits political and religious differences. We can still vote our conscience and worship in the church of our choice. Most of us enjoy clean drinking water and clean air. We live with a relatively high standard of living. In our individual home provinces, we enjoy the security of no-fee basic and emergency health care. This system is far from perfect, but it’s something even our neighbors don’t have. There are many social and political challenges in this country, but we enjoy privileges that many countries don’t. For that, I am grateful.
For all of these things and more, I am thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving Canada.
This summer God has been downloading so many things to me mostly around the theme of gardening.
You might think that I’m a wonderful gardener. I’m not. In fact, most of the time I give up halfway through the summer. I get tired of the work involved. I just want to sit back and enjoy the flowers. I walk around the neighborhood, admiring the beautiful front yards, wishing I had the stamina to put in the work required to have an award-winning yard.
But I don’t. I suffer from low energy levels and poor physical strength. To keep my energy levels consistent, I’ve learned to pace myself, take plenty of breaks and accept the inevitable. My body can only do so much. It needs plenty of rest.
This week I was at Christian leaders’ retreat in Toronto. My decision to go was almost spur of the moment, registering only two weeks before the conference. I wasn’t sure why I needed to go, it was simply an urging of the spirit.
I can’t go into everything about the things that I learned. Some things will settle and morph as the weeks go by. So many revelations were dropped into my spirit and many wounds were healed. It was an incredible week, full of emotion and intimacy.
At the beginning of this week, I experienced a profound and uplifting vision. I’d like to share this with you. I hope it will be as encouraging to you as it was to me.
The vision opens with me standing in my backyard. I walk over to my garden. Jesus is standing there at my raised garden bed with a hoe in his hand. I am surprised to see him standing there. He waves me over and holds up a rake.
“Come Garden with me.” he says.
“Well, I’d like to garden with you, Jesus, but nothing I plant ever grows. I’ve planted and planted and nothing ever comes up.” I said.
“Garden with me.” he says again.
I stand there unsure. I am so discouraged. I’ve tried this before, it doesn’t work. I want to give up.
“But Jesus, I’ve tried this before. It didn’t work then, Why will it work this time?” I ask.
“Because I’m here. Let’s do this together. The seeds will grow this time.”
I take the rake and start to work the soil with him.
I mumble, “I just want to see some fruit from my planting.”
“Come with me,” he says. He beckons me with his crooked finger.
I follow him around the pergola. There in the middle of a very large backyard filled with trees are banqueting tables, stacked end to end covering the lawn. The line is so long I can’t see the end of it. It seems to go on forever.
(Just a note of explanation here. In the natural, my backyard is very small. It would never hold this many tables. This fact confirms the spiritual implication of this vision. This is about my spiritual life, not my natural life.)
Now back to the vision.
The tables are covered and overflowing with fruits and vegetables.
I look at him in awe.
“Where did these come from?” I ask.
“From the seeds you planted.”
I stand back, open-mouthed, my view fixed at the table. I look at him again, then back at the tables.
Then, I see them.
Scores of people, all races of peoples, all ages, young and old alike, from all corners of the globe, are seated around the tables. It’s hard to see them because they are almost hidden by the produce on the table. They pick from the table and eat, feasting on the fruit that came from my garden.
“Where did they all come from?” I asked.
“These are the fruit,” he whispers. “These were from your seeds. They have grown, they are at the table eating. Your planting was not a waste. Your seeds grew and multiplied. You just weren’t there to see them grow.”
The vision closed. I pondered.
There is so much revelation here, that it’s difficult to pick one issue to talk about. But I will review this many times in the weeks and months ahead. I will leave the relevant learnings for each reader to glean for themselves. At least, for now.
At the end of the week, one person (who knew nothing about me or this vision), spoke this one word of knowledge to me.
It was a perfect word that fit this vision from the beginning of the week.
My spirit is overflowing. There is so much more to come.
Thank you, Jesus, for this vision.