March is a good month in Vancouver. There is still snow in many other places in Canada at this time, and in many places in the US further south, but spring is here for us. It's still a bit chilly on some days, but the cherry blossoms trees and the forsynthia are blooming and the lilac bushes are starting to bud. The warm current from Japan makes the difference in our weather.
It has been carrying radioactivity this way, as well, from the Fukishima nuclear disaster, but I don't let that worry me. I would be worried, if didn't know the Lord and have a fairly good understanding of His Word, but since I do, then I know that it's all the more incentive for Christians to press in to appropriate our covenant rights, not only for our own health, but also to get our faith activated on the behalf of others to pray for their healing.
Last Sunday, I enjoyed a walk along the promenade in White Rock. I looked at the water and wondered what the readings would be, if I had a geiger counter in my hand. I never have been very enthusiastic about going into that water since becoming an adult and getting pickier about where I go swimming. I remember when people had to jump over scum on the water to go wading at White Rock. It looks better than it used to, but it might be worse for people's health.
I didn't dwell on these thoughts, though, and let it ruin my enjoyment of my walk. I just reminded myself of God's Word, and thanked Him that, though it had been cloudy and sprinkling a bit when I got to White Rock, by the time the event I attended was finished, the sun had come out and the weather was warming up.
I was invited to a birthday party for a dear lady of eighty years. It was a big, fat, Greek birthday party at a Greek restaurant that she and her husband opened many years ago and then later sold. Loula likes to go there often. When her family invited her out for dinner on her birthday, intending to take her to Boston Pizza, she insisted that she wanted to go to Cosmos Restaurant, her old favourite. They went along with that, and Loula thought that her birthday had been celebrated adequately.
She arrived there again on Sunday, thinking that she was now going to attend her brother–in–law's birthday. Loula was totally taken by surprise when she saw that the crowd consisted of her own friends; it's so much fun when the guest of honour is genuinely surprised. She cried and we were all quite gratified. I enjoyed hearing all those people speaking Greek, though I had no idea what they were saying, and listening to them sing their songs. They were a jolly, noisy lot. It had been ages since I had been to a party; I generally don't like parties, but this was a good one.
Arne has had me come in a few times to do some office work for him. The transition of Prayer Canada to its new head office in Ontario is not yet complete, though the legal work has been done. The new Director is waiting on receiving approval of applications from the government, so Arne still has some tasks to do on his end, but he is somewhat handicapped by knowing very little about using computers.
He needed me to update some things, and to try to sort out problems that arose on the computers. The issues on his were easily fixed by shutting it down and unplugging it, then firing it up again. The computer I use was a different matter. Someone must have been playing games on it, and now it has a virus that makes ads and games from the Internet pop up intermittently, even when I'm not on the Internet. Thanks a lot, whoever did that. I don't know how to get that virus off, and I didn't have time to clean up the computer anyway, even if I knew how. I wasn't there long enough. Thankfully, I could still access the programs I needed.
I have picked up some work to do at home, typing for a Prayer Canada associate who has a ministry. His material certainly is interesting to read. It's very satisfying to do work that helps to advance God's Kingdom. I'm looking for steady work in a regular job, but I'm quite particular about what kind of company I work for. I don't want to work for a company that makes products that are damaging to people, such as the cell phone industry, or that manufactures unhealthy foods, etc.
Earlier this month, I was giving some thought to the grace message that is so heavily criticized. Some criticisms are justified, if the message is out of balance and it is taught that a person can pretty much do whatever they like, and still go to Heaven, as long as they have said the sinner's prayer. Repentance involves more than just saying a prayer. It means to actually turn away from one's sin, and turn to Jesus to receive His forgiveness and the cleansing of His Blood, as well as the power to sin no more. Many of us, though, still struggle with sin after we are saved, but the key word there is struggle. If a person has genuinely repented, they aren't okay with continuing to sin. As we mature in the Lord, we learn to enter more into His rest, and that changes our behaviour.
A person in my family once told me that she thought she would "get saved" when she got older. Meaning, after she had her fun. But what made her think that God would accept her on those terms? Repentance is a gift from God. Nobody can repent, unless God grants them the gift of repentance. He does not always do so. Sometimes people have shown too much disrespect to His Holy Spirit, ignoring His pleadings time after time, until He can no longer maintain His dignity in the face of their adamant refusal to trust Him and submit to Him.
Esau tried to repent, after he realized that he had thrown something very precious away, but it was too late. He dismissed his chances and when he wanted to repent, he could not. He kept running in circles, coming over and over again to the same conclusion; he felt justified in what he had done when he sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. Jacob had deliberately set a trap for him, taking advantage of his low blood–sugar. How could a low–down, lying, cheating scoundrel like him be entitled to retain that birthright? And how was it right that such a little thing as eating some food resulted in such a huge penalty? He found it impossible to see things God's way because he was so locked into Self that all he could see was his own desires, which he wrongly thought mattered more than anything else.
If God refuses to grant repentance, it becomes impossible for a soul to be saved. He offers it many times before He withdraws the offer. Though some rebels die very young, they have had the witness of Nature that there is a Creator, and that witness is louder than the theory of evolution and all other myths. Every one of us is touched daily by this witness. The logical thought that follows the fact that the Universe has a Designer is, "What does our Creator require of us?" He withdraws when His attempts to speak to a soul are continually refused.
In mercy to a soul, God may end their life while they are young before they pile up any more torments for themselves in Hell. They won't appreciate that, because their suffering will be beyond anything that can be experienced on Earth, but God can see the difference it makes. He might also be saving other people from being terribly wronged by those younger sinners, who would have become more hardened in sin as they aged, as they were determined deep in their heart to never repent of serving Self. God knows the end from the beginning; He knows who is going to genuinely repent of their sins, and who will not, and the right time to cut them off.
God is longsuffering, but that does not mean that His patience is infinite. It is not. Refusing to repent over and over is disrespectful. How does one know when they have gone too far? Frequently, not until AFTER they have gone too far. It's a very scary thing to harden one's heart to God. How many times can a person do that, before they have lost all their chances to be saved? It varies with each person. Seeing as some die unsaved when they are very young, only in their teens, older people can be very sure that they have already used up a lot of their chances.
Some believe that, once a person is saved, truly saved, that is, they can never lose their salvation. I agree that nobody can ever take our salvation from us, but we might allow ourselves to be persuaded to turn our back on God, and then we would go to Hell when we die, but it would be worse for us than it is for others who were never saved.
Though God still loves us when we fall and get ourselves in a mess, it's important to obey Him, both to be a credible witness for Him, and also because Yehoshua said that obeying Him is like building our house upon a rock, so that the house can withstand the storms when they come. Consistent obedience to God is preparation to be faithful to Him in the darkest hours of trial. For this reason, we also need to be as busy as little squirrels preparing for winter to lay up God's Word in our heart.
I've started a new program of Bible study. Last week, I finished copying out the Bible for the second time. The first time, I did it in neat handwriting; this last time in neat printing. I do it neatly, not ony out of respect for the Bible, but also to slow myself down, so that I take more time to think about what I'm reading. I am going to go through the Bible again, copying and pasting it on my computer from the Jubilee Bible, which was compiled by Russ Stendal, a missionary to Colombia. It is a more accurate translation than the King James. I am adding my own notes. When I am satisfied with my notes, I will convert the Bible text to a handwriting font and print it off, then go over the handwriting portion with my own pen. This will improve my handwriting while giving me another opportunity to copy out the Bible.
I've decided to upload my Bible study onto my website, while progressing through it, in case anyone else wants to follow along. My thoughts might spark some insights in others, prompting them to consider aspects of the Scripture that were hidden to them before.
It is important to lay up God's Word in our heart. Psalm 119:11 says, "Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against You." During a discussion with a young man after church one day, he said, "We've got to get God's Word into our mind, so we can remember it and it can drop into our heart." I shook my head and said, "No, we've got to put it into our heart. The Holy Ghost will bring it to remembrance. I'm not good at memorizing Scripture, but when I put it in my heart, Jesus reminds me of the right verse when I need it, and then I can remember it."
There are people who have a lot of knowledge of what the Bible says, and some them aren't even Christians. They mangle the meaning and try to use it against us. There are some who think that they are Christians, but they are just religious. For them, memorizing a lot of Scripture supports their illusion that they are righteous. It is good for Christians to memorize Scripture, if they can do it, but they need to make sure that they think about what they are reading and meditate on the Word of God throughout the day.
It's a real joy when the Word of God comes alive. To me, the stories I read in the Bible are my family history. The people I read about aren't "characters" in a story. The godly ones are my brothers and sisters, who are watching us right now, cheering us on, and I'm going to hang out with them when I get to Heaven. I can see many, many ways that the things they experienced and learned are pertinent and applicable to my own life. Before I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, reading the Bible was a hard slog, but after the baptism, what a difference it made!
The other day, I picked up an item at Value Village called the Forearm Forklift. It's a strap that professional movers use to lift heavy items. It requires two people to use it. The straps are shoved beneath the item and then the ends are slung over the movers' forearms, creating a fulcrum that makes the furniture much easier to lift. It seems to me that this lifting tool kind of illustrates the Holy Ghost, whom many who profess to be Christians don't really know who He is.
He is the Helper, the Comforter, the paraclete, which means "called to another's side to aid, help or support". Though the Greek word for Comforter was used as a legal term to describe a counsellor in a court of law, it is not confined to that definition. It includes any kind of helping.
The Holy Ghost comes into our hearts to abide with us when we repent of our sins and receive Jesus as our Saviour. Jesus is God the Son, which means that He is the physical, tangible projection of God the Father, and the representation of His character. The Holy Spirit is fully God, as well; He is the expression of the Father's wisdom and power.
To me, that lifting strap is like the Bible. The Word of God is what a person needs to base their life upon; to rest upon it. The Holy Spirit quickens the Word and makes it come alive, which makes it easier to obey. When we understand, through the instruction of the Holy Spirit, why God commands various things, and see that His love and mercy are at the heart of all His commands, it becomes a joy and delight to obey, and more so the deeper revelation we receive. Together with the Holy Spirit, as our lifting partner, we can arise and move on to our proper place, the place where God has ordained for us to function. Pretty cool, eh? When I was in the thrift store, I knew that the Lord was directing me to buy that lifting strap, but I had no idea that there was such a deep lesson in it.
I'm looking forward to this next month with the current work that I am doing at home and the warmer weather. I love spring! After all that chilliness in the air and frost on the windows of my car, and it getting dark so soon, I am going to enjoy the longer daylight, and wearing sandals, instead of boots, and just a little jacket, instead of a coat. I can hardly wait for the lilacs to bloom; there's a bush in the yard, and it will smell heavenly.
The grandkids are sprouting up, too. Jake recently celebrated his eighth birthday. I helped buy him a bicycle and was proud to hear that, though he hadn't ridden one before without training wheels, and that was three years ago, this time he just hopped on and took off on it like he was used to it. Connor is fourteen and nearly six feet tall already. His hair has gotten quite black. I told him, "You got that hair from me. I'm the only one in my family who had hair that dark." His is curly, though. Little Ayla is getting bigger the most noticeably, as babies grow quite a lot from one month to the next. Those bright eyes eagerly absorb the details of her surroundings; she is anxious to do big people stuff. The boys think she's so cute; they cuddle their litlte sister and coo to her. I love to see their gentleness and affection. I am so blessed to be a grandma.
Copyright © 2014, Lanny Townsend
Page modified by Lanny Townsend on April 1, 2014
Scripture references on this website are closely paraphrased from e–Sword's King James Bible.