Purging “Stuff”

Over the past few weeks I have been busily purging “stuff” from my home.  It’s been quite a process!  I inherited quite a bit of my mother’s china and décor items when she passed away many years ago.  Then I inherited more from my Dad, and most recently from my in-laws.  Not to mention, over these many years I’ve amassed my own collection of “stuff”.  I’ve told my kids and my sweet husband to please not buy me anymore things that I need to dust!

So I’ve been de-cluttering the house of “stuff”.  Some people have even asked if we are moving because I’ve tried to sell a lot of my stuff online.  No worries friends!  So far God has not given us a go-ahead to leave the Ponderosa yet!  Instead, I have been going through boxes, closets and cupboards and basically weeding out items that I haven’t used for years and are just dust collectors.  It hasn’t been easy.  We live in a throw-away society but I have really struggled to let go of some things.  There is a lot of sentimental value associated with some items.  For example, my dear mother-in-law started me on my collection of Royal Albert tea cups and china ware.  It pains me to see them on display but unused in my china cabinet.  I dust them faithfully, but the sad reality is that I don’t even like tea!

Stuff.

It clutters up my space.  I hang onto it, because it has been a part of my life for so long.  I have to let it go…

But, it’s so hard to let go!

Oswald Chamber’s words struck me to the core the other day while reading “My Utmost for His Highest” Daily devotional:

“Sin is a thing I am born with and I cannot touch it; God touches sin in Redemption.  In the Cross of Jesus Christ God redeemed the whole human race from the possibility of damnation through the heredity of sin.  God nowhere holds a man responsible for having the heredity of sin.  The condemnation is not that I am born with a heredity of sin, but it is when I realize Jesus Christ came to deliver me from it, I refuse to let Him do so, from that moment I begin to get the seal of damnation.”  (Oct. 5)

Sin.

It clutters up my space.  I hang onto it, because it has been a part of my life for so long.  I have to let it go…

But, it’s so hard to let go!

I find with sin, like with my china tea cups, there is a kind of sentimentality involved with hanging onto it.  I have become far too accustomed to it that there is almost a feeling of comfort surrounding it.  Why, there are even memories associated with it!  I don’t even realize that sin is there anymore.  I’ve tucked it away in the cluttered, secret closet of my soul, and I have become so accustomed to its presence in my life, that it has become part of my inner décor.  Over time however, the dust accumulates and begins to affect every area of my life.  Unfortunately, the longer I hold on to it, the harder it is to let go of sin.  I only realize the grip it has on me when I think about what would happen without it.  That’s the turning point.  Keep it, or let it go!  This is not a simple effort.  Sin is inherited.  I was born with it.  It requires seeing sin for what it is, useless, and destructive to my well-being.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23)

“Sin is a fundamental relationship; it is not wrong doing, it is wrong being, deliberate and emphatic independence of God.” (Oct. 7)

“Jesus Christ rehabilitated the human race.  He put it back to where God designed it to be, and anyone can enter into union with God on the ground of what Our Lord has done on the Cross.  A man cannot redeem himself; Redemption is God’s “bit”, it is absolutely finished and complete; its reference to individual men is a question of their individual action.  A distinction must always be made between the revealed truth of redemption and the actual conscious experience of salvation in a person’s life”  Oswald Chambers

That conscious determination only comes once I realize that I need redeeming and I consciously say, “Yes!” to Christ so He alone can purge the stranglehold of sin upon me.

Let go and let God!

 

 

 

 

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Is Prayer Enough?

No doubt my response to the past week’s senseless violence in the States and Canada is much the same as any individual’s: shock and horror.  A graphic video from Edmonton shows a young man run over and then stab a police officer repeatedly.  That this brutality has occurred in my home province seems too unreal to believe.  Thankfully, the officer and the other four victims this man careened into with a van, are recovering in hospital.  Still, it is disturbing that even in our seemingly peaceful land, we are not immune to radicalized terrorism.

On Sunday, a deranged man, opened fire on a crowd of people gathered in Las Vegas to hear a country music concert.  He fired nearly a thousand rounds from semi-automatic rifles from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and killed 58 and left over 500 people wounded.  It is the single largest mass shooting in American history…for now.  No one truly understands why someone would perpetrate such a heinous crime, but perhaps President Trump said it best, that the shooting was “an act of pure evil“.

Whenever tragedy strikes, we ask whether or not this could have been prevented.  Certainly, there will be many professionals, politicians, celebrities and many, many more who will be outspoken in their opinions.  The sad and universal truth is that no matter what authorities do to try to prevent shootings and acts of terrorism from happening, evil will not be thwarted by OUR doings.  Only God can prevail against evil.

A question posed on Twitter forced me to respond.

In a country as deeply divided on gun control and the right to bear arms as the U.S., this question cannot be easily answered using 140 characters on Twitter!  I am adamantly opposed to civilians, being able to purchase a firearm (rifle or handgun) that fires in bursts multiple rounds of ammunition with the pull of a trigger.  Those types of weapons should be for military use only.  Having said that, I truly think that most gun owners in the States and Canada are responsible, law-abiding citizens, who carry licenses and have been trained in the safety and handling of their weapons.  The point I’m making is that those responsible gun owners: hunters, gun enthusiasts, and home owners, who feel the need to protect themselves and their property by owning a gun, do not have need for a weapon that fires dozens of rounds of ammo in seconds!  Am I right?

Unfortunately because “pure evil” seems to be the motivator in these acts of violence, if a person is set on shooting someone, or purposely running into a crowd of people with a vehicle, chances are that person will find the means to do so regardless of any imposed gun control or any other security restrictions.  Limiting a lunatic’s access to guns that only fire one or two rounds before needing to be reloaded, may cut down on the numbers of victims but it does not negate the agony and heartache to the victims or the families and friends impacted by these acts of pure evil.

There has been much negative conversation on social media about those who are “praying” for the victims and families as if that activity is useless in itself.  Jimmy Kimmel, late-night talk show host said, “”Your thoughts and prayers are insufficient.” and went on to expound on the need for gun control legislation and called out politicians and others who opposed it.  Then he made an interesting observation: “It feels like someone has opened a window into hell,” he said.

I do agree that a window to hell has been opened, it has in fact been opened since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.  Up to that point, man and woman walked in close fellowship with God.  Their disobedience caused a separation from God and sin was loosed upon the world.  “Pure Evil” in all its forms has plagued man ever since, but the most effective means given to us to thwart the plans of “pure evil” is ongoing and persistent PRAYER.  Any nation that chooses to ignore God, abandon Biblical values, and persist in rebellion against God will suffer the wrath of “pure evil” because no one is standing in the gap against it.  Bible-believing prayer warriors know that we are in a spiritual battle with the enemy (Satan) everyday, knowing that he “prowls around like a roaring lion, waiting for someone to devour” 1 Peter 5:8

The fact is that wickedness is running rampant in our two countries and around the world because we have abandoned God and allowed all manner of sin and evil to corrupt us so we may propagate more evil.  We fail to acknowledge that there is only One Who can completely and utterly destroy pure evil…God!  “The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”  1 John 3:8

Jesus can change the hearts and minds of all peoples to live in peaceful harmony with one another. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  John 10:10  THAT is what we should be praying for!  Pray that all peoples would come to salvation through Christ, become disciples, and then join Him to make more disciples, by submitting to the authority of God.  “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  James 4:7

Only when people turn from the wicked ways and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, will we see these acts of pure evil lessen and eventually stop altogether.   “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  1 Chronicles 7:14 

Keep praying!  It is our greatest weapon against evil.  It is not insufficient, or insignificant.  It is life changing!  When we pray in faith, scripture tells us that whatever we pray for will come to pass.  “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”  Mark 11:24

Pray for peace, pray for unity, pray for revival!  Only through prayer will we see “pure evil” defeated once and for all!

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.   And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[b] will not overcome it.”  Matthew 16:15-18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Stand to Show My Respect

We have lost something very valuable in Canada, and the United States: RESPECT.  We have lost respect on the national political global scene, as well as respect for one another in our own countries.  We do not value each other or the contributions we have made on the world stage or in our own back yards.  Social media allows bullying of the most insidious manner, by famous and infamous name-callers who use the most offensive language to demean, degrade and defame a person(s) on a world-wide scale.  There is no such thing as “freedom of speech” because there is no respect for anyone who has a differing opinion.  Divisiveness abounds in our culture.  Our catch word is “tolerance” but the reality is anything but that.  Hate-filled rhetoric is launched at us from all directions.  Even our world leaders resort to a cacophony of name-calling that is petty and childish.

Many people use a variety of methods to protest against racism, religious persecution and social injustice but this only leads to more denigrating banter between those who agree and those who disagree with the protest.  It all ultimately dissolves into more name-calling and side-show antics that negate the effectiveness of civil protests.  No one wins, everyone is offended, and all civility breaks down.  It all comes down to a profound lack of respect for one another and denying the right of groups or individuals to voice opposing opinions.  This permeates to every facet of our lives and to the way we conduct ourselves daily and interact with our fellow-man.

There used to be a time when RESPECT was learned, not necessarily earned.  That goes counter-culturally to what we think now, that respect is earned.  As children we were taught to respect our elders.  Age and wisdom demanded respect.  We were taught to respect those in authority over us: police, law-enforcement officials, teachers and political leaders.  We didn’t need to agree with everything they did or said, but we respected the “office” they represented.  We respected and honoured our parents and grandparents.  We gave up our seat on a bus or in a gathering so adults and seniors could sit down.  That courtesy also extended to men standing so a woman could sit down.  Chivalry is a thing of the past now.

We stood in respect and silence every Remembrance Day to honour the men and women who fought and died so we might have freedom in our country.  We understood their sacrifice for our nation and honoured them.  Here in Canada today, our war vets struggle to get the medical care they need, or the financial support to live.  It is a national disgrace.

I remember when patriotism included the singing of our National Anthem, and the recitation of The Lord’s Prayer every morning in school.  We honoured both God and country.  In 2017, Canada’s 150th anniversary, most public schools have banned those two exercises as being irrelevant and even offensive in our multi-cultural society.

As faithful church-goers, families in the 50’s and 60’s stood in church when Scripture was read, and everyone dressed in their “Sunday best” outfit to show respect in keeping the Sabbath Holy.  We honoured and respected our Senior Pastor as God’s appointed under-shepherd. We understood the significance of gathering together for Worship.  Now we criticize and complain if services go too long, or the songs are too traditional or too contemporary.  We prioritize our attendance as casually as the way we dress in church.  We critique the sermons and find fault with our brothers and sisters in Christ.  Christian against Christian, we sow disunity amongst ourselves.  We have become so “Seeker Sensitive”, we cater to an audience of the many rather than the Audience of The ONE.

Believer, how big does the “plank in the eye” have to be before we feel compelled to remove it?

What are we teaching our children about respect today?

It’s okay to tear down anything that offends us.  That includes people, things, and ideas.

It’s okay to call the President of the United States a “bum” and hold up a replica of his severed head as a joke on social media.

It’s okay to disrespect the flags and national anthems of our two countries by kneeling instead of standing at sporting events.

It’s okay to bully and name-call those whom we do not agree with.

Am I hitting a nerve yet?

Our two countries were founded on God.  Many would like to negate that now, but go back in history to the writing of the U.S. Constitution and Canada’s Charter, the supremacy of God is not disputed but applauded in both documents!  In our selfish societies, where me-first attitudes pervade every thought we think, we are unable to center our wills around a sovereign God.  It goes against our self-satisfying natures to be controlled in any manner by those in authority over us, be it parents, employers, law-makers, civic, provincial or national leaders, let alone GOD.  It all stems from a serious lack of respect for ANYONE in power.  God is maligned more than ever among secular humanists, who deny His existence or His dominion.  Little to no respect is shown to fellow-man, so it is not surprising that man’s Creator would also be shown little to no respect.  It will be to our own undoing!

So, I am taking a stand.

I am standing up for what I believe in; the values I hold dear.  I want my children and my grandchildren to know that in the midst of all this dissension and lack of respect they see in the world around them today, there are truly things we can STAND up for.  Though the inevitable criticism will come, we can STAND firm knowing our beliefs are trustworthy and built on the rock-solid foundation of Jesus Christ.

I STAND… to show that I am a follower of Jesus Christ.  He is my Saviour and my Lord.  There is NO ONE and NOTHING else worthy of my worship and praise.  If I must bow my knee, it is in reverence and prayer to Him only.  1 Chronicles 16:7-36

I STAND… to acknowledge that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.  2 Timothy 3:16

I STAND… to acknowledge that “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.”  Proverbs 16:9

I STAND… in support of family and to uphold the traditional marriage union between a man and woman in the bonds of Holy Matrimony.  Genesis 2:22-24

I STAND… to acknowledge that I believe in the sanctity of all human life from conception forward.  Jeremiah 1:5

I STAND…to acknowledge that every individual of every colour, race or nationality is a child of God and is worthy of love and respect.  Romans 8:14-17

I STAND…to give thanks to God for the law-givers and public officials who seek to lead, despite criticism and complaint, so that the laws of our land are upheld and respected.  Romans 13:1-5

I STAND…to show patriotic respect for my country’s flag and national anthem.  1 Peter 2:13-17

I STAND… and salute the brave men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for my freedom.  This includes veterans, first responders, police, fire and rescue and the many more exemplary individuals who have put themselves in harm’s way for others.  Isaiah 61:1-3

I STAND…to show my respect.

Who will stand with me?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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