Friday, January 12, 2007

I love Elihu!!

Job 37:21"And now no one looks on the light when it is bright in the skies, when the wind has passed and cleared them. 22Out of the north comes golden splendor; God is clothed with awesome majesty. 23The Almighty--we cannot find him; he is great in power; justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate. 24Therefore men fear him; he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit."

One of my favourite books of the Bible is the book of Job. It has it all: drama, pain, sorrow, betrayal, Satan's workings, God's Sovereignty, Miserable Comforters, Elihu's burning response, and God's Judgment and adamant statement of Who HE is at the end.

I guess I relate to Job so well because in a small way I understand his pain. I have never lost all of my worldly goods and my entire family in one fell swoop. However, our family has gone through grinding financial pressures that never seemed to end. We lost a baby to miscarriage, and watched our dear daughters go through the loss of their precious babies. We know what it is to suffer financially, and in a limited way(compared to Job), we know what it is to suffer the loss of loved ones.

We have experienced false accusations and betrayal from friends who misunderstood and gave unwise counsel. I read Job's responses, and I am right there with him, understanding his frustration. I know what it is like to wish that God would just leave me alone (but I thank Him that He didn't) and I know what it is like to long for Him to just come and sit down with me at my kitchen table, to explain away all of my confusion, and to make all things right.

I read Job's description of himself: he really WAS a righteous man. He was wise and kind; he served his fellow man; he prayed for his family; he was well-respected. People hung on his every word. What a guy!

I think because of his godly living, he was so confused by the tragedy that befell him. He was angry at his friends' ignorant accusations that it must have been his sin that caused all of this to happen. His three "friends" just added to his pain.

He justified himself before his friends. He fell into the trap of thinking that God was blessing him because he was so good. He was angry with God. He wanted to die.

Then, along comes Elihu, burning with anger, passionate to uphold the reputation of Almighty God! I can picture the scene in my mind. He sits there, listening to his elders, boiling inside, waiting for the opportunity to speak. When he does, the words tumble out. I imagine him pacing back and forth, arms flailing as he declares WHO God is, and how He has the power and the right to do ANYTHING He wants to do, and how it is all right and good - because God is Good!

It all goes back to the fact that God is the Creator. He can do what He wants to with all that He created. He controls the wind, the clouds, the rain, the lightning. He set the stars in place. He holds all things together by the power of His might.

Who are we to question God?

Elihu is a guy I can relate to. He burns with passion. He acknowledges that the breath of the Almighty gave him life, then goes on to say that God ordains trials for our good. When we respond in repentance and faith, God restores us (in His good time). God never does wickedness. He always does righteousness.

Elihu is so passionate that he even rebukes Job, a man he respects. Elihu has the courage to point out Job's errors in thinking.

It all comes back to who God really is:

Job 36:22Behold, God is exalted in his power; who is a teacher like him? 23Who has prescribed for him his way, or who can say, 'You have done wrong'?

24"Remember to extol his work, of which men have sung. 25All mankind has looked on it; man beholds it from afar. 26Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable. 27For he draws up the drops of water; they distill his mist in rain, 28which the skies pour down and drop on mankind abundantly. 29Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds, the thunderings of his pavilion? 30Behold, he scatters his lightning about him and covers the roots of the sea. 31For by these he judges peoples; he gives food in abundance. 32He covers his hands with the lightning and commands it to strike the mark. 33Its crashing declares his presence;
the cattle also declare that he rises.

He is the CREATOR!

Job 37:14"Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God. 15Do you know how God lays his command upon them and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine? 16Do you know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge, 17you whose garments are hot when the earth is still because of the south wind? 18Can you, like him, spread out the skies, hard as a cast metal mirror?

He controls all things!

I hope and pray that I will be passionate about God, like Elihu. I hope my children and grandchildren will understand and know Him, and learn to bow to His will and accept all things as coming from His gracious, omnipotent hand.

What a mighty God we serve!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Reflections - 2006 - Praise Ye the Lord

At our prayer meeting this evening, Pastor Bob led us in a reading of Psalm 135. We praised God for His attributes, His preservation of His own "peculiar" people. We praised Him as the Creator, the One who does anything He pleases. We contrasted Him with idols, He who can do all things with idols who can do no thing.

Then our Pastor asked us if we had any testimony we wanted to share regarding what the Lord had done for us in 2006. It was a beautiful time of praising a beautiful God. One lady shared how God had taken her from a bitter, angry, uncaring, unfeeling woman to one who daily delights in the Lord and enjoys making dinner for strangers or sharing a loaf of bread with a neighbour in need. Another lady shared how seeing her friend suffer a stroke and become stronger and stronger through the year strengthened her faith in God. Another spoke of God's gracious dealings with her son, through surgery, tests, admission to college, etc. God truly directs our paths.

One of the men, a lay minister, marvelled at how God has provided opportunity after opportunity for him to preach, when his heart's desire is to preach the Word and interact with people. Our pastor's wife shared how she is learning to disregard the little things and focus on the big things: what God is doing in this world, and how He uses the weak things of this world to confound the wise.

What a blessing to hear God's people praise God for blessings AND for trials! They stood together, firm in their faith, knowing that our gracious Father works everything for good, that His timing is always perfect, that He is utterly in control, and that He can be trusted, day by day, with the little things and the big things.

How good it is to share with God's people. Reminds me of a verse in Malachi (3:16) - Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in His presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honoured His name.

17. "They will be mine," says the Lord Almighty, "in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not."

It is good to be with other Christians. It is good to know that as we share our testimonies and encourage one another, the Lord is listening, and the Lord is hearing. It is good to know that our names are being written down in a scroll of remembrance. It is so good to know that we are His treasured possession.

Halleluiah! Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Well on my way! (an ordinary day)

I had a great day today! I got up and read the entire paper, waiting for the rest of the family to stir from their beds. We've had a lot of late nights, lately, so early risings aren't happening at the present - except for ME. I am definitely a morning person. Sleeping in just isn't an option. If the sun doesn't peek in, I just know in my bones that it is morning, and if I roll over to try to go back to sleep for a few more minutes, it is just frustrating. Sleep doesn' t come, and I am wasting time.

Reading the paper all alone with a good cup of tea is not a waste of time, however. I read articles about Saddam Hussein, about Gerald Ford, about the new Archbishop in the Catholic church in Canada. I read lots of articles that I flagged to discuss with the children later. I skipped the sports section with nary a twinge, and enjoyed the puzzles and the comics, and even read "Dear Abby".

After that, I read the Bible. I am working through the Bible Chronologically (see this site: ) this year. My 7 year old son, Critter, came in and sat on my lap while we read about the Flood and the animals and Noah and the long lives of the Antediluvian patriarchs. I was interested in the fact that there is a parallel genealogy - the line of Cain contrasted with the line of Seth. Critter and I talked about what we read and about how God has always preserved His people, since the beginning. We talked about God's power over the animals - He sent them to Noah - and over Nature - He opened the floodgates! We talked about the sheer size of the ark, and about God's protection of Noah and his family. Tiana (10) was up by then, and discussed the Sabbath Day with me. She had read about God resting on the Sabbath day, and thought that Sunday was the Sabbath. It's nice to know that she is thinking while she is reading her Bible.

The sun was shining and beckoning to us to come outside, so out we went for a brisk walk to the corner and back. It was a good start to my exercise program. I added weight work on the machine tonight, and I feel like I am on my way to better health and a slimmer me.

Rick and I had banking to do, then I did housework while the children mucked out the stalls and did some yard work and laundry. I then ran errands, made supper (Prime Rib roast, mashed potatotes, mixed vegetables, with a small glass of red wine) and enjoyed Bible time with the family.

All in all, a fine day. I think the fact that the sun was shining has encouraged me to no end. The fact that I set some goals for a more spiritually focussed life, as well as a healthier body, has also encouraged me.

This truly is the day the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Link to Amy's Humble Musings - on Getting in Shape!

I have to say that of all the blogs in Cyberspace, Amy's Humble Musings is my favourite. Her post on using the Body For Life method to get herself in shape (after 3 babies!) is inspiring. I am putting it here for my own benefit, so I can read it again and again. Perhaps someone else will be encouraged by it, too.

Turning over a (nother) new leaf!

Here it is, January 1st, 2007 - New Year's Day. And here I am, turning over a new leaf (again!).

I love a new year. The beginning of each new year is brimming with potential; hopes and dreams, longing for change; self-improvement --- all of these things fill the mind and make one ponder.

Some people are against setting New Year's Resolutions, but I am all for it. So what if I don't accomplish all of my goals? So what if we as a family fail to keep every family resolution we make? At least we SET the goals. At least we tried. And because I am an eternal optimist, I refuse to beat myself up over the failures. I prefer to revel in the achievements and celebrate the accomplishments.

So, here goes, for all to see:

FAMILY RESOLUTIONS (in no particular order)

1. Smoke-free home. (Rick changed this to a nag-free home (grin) but we really want all of our relatives to respect that we choose not to smoke, and not to breathe in smoke from other people's cigarette habits.)

2. Clean up after ourselves. (Don't allow ourselves to 'gerbil' - to drop an item here, or fail to put away something that goes there...)

3. Daily Bible Time

4. Daily Memory Work (catechism and verses)

5. More outdoor activities TOGETHER

6. Fridays - Family Games Night

7. Keep Bedrooms clean

8. Pilgrim's Progress (followed by other read-alouds)

9. Mom doesn't do supper dishes

We have determined that we will strive to accomplish all of the above goals, as a family. We will hold each other accountable to do these things.

Janet's Personal Resolutions

1. Nothing By Mouth that is not Nutritious or "Fuel" for the Body. Everything is to be evaluated according to whether or not it will benefit me nutritionally, allowing me to achieve my goal of fitness and vitality, so I have the energy to serve my family and my Lord.

2. Daily Exercise. Minimum of half an hour of walking, plus weight lifting or exercise equipment.

3. Daily Devotions.

4. Daily Journal/Blog

5. Work on Website at least once per week. (Granny Pages)

6. Weekly planning and scheduling to be done on week-ends: school planning; finances; family scheduling, etc.

That's enough.

And I start tomorrow, for sure.