Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Schwarzenegger = Egypt's Pharaoh? Fire in California!

One of my internet friends mused this morning,

I started thinking about the fires burning in California. It is horrible, I admit. So many businesses shutting down. As of this email, around 120 Starbucks closed, 16 McDonald's, corporate headquarters of Qualcomm, Jack in the Box, Sony Online Entertainment, Petco, San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park, and Sea World are all closed. Gateway Computers have urged their employees to not come in. Hundreds of millions in damage, and it keeps getting worse.

All this after Gov. Schwarzenegger "outlaws" mom and dad. I wonder if he is starting to feel like the Egyptian Pharaoh when God sent the 10 plagues? I see it as God is still on the throne and is taking notice.

I was thinking about that, too. However, we must be careful not to say "such and such a tragedy is a result of such and such a sin".... because remember what Jesus said about it?

Luke 13:1 Now 1 there were some present on that occasion who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. He answered them, "Do you think these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered these things? No, I tell you! But unless you repent, you will all perish as well! Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower in Siloam fell on them, do you think they were worse offenders than all the others who live in Jerusalem? No, I tell you! But unless you repent you will all perish as well!"

Jesus was teaching them that there was little time, and that "TODAY is the day of salvation". God is in utter control of all events, and has a purpose in this fire. We need to be praying that God will work in the hearts of many in Southern California, and that many would respond by turning to Him for salvation.

Healing a Man Born Blind

John 9:1-12 Now as Jesus was passing by, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who committed the sin that caused him to be born blind, this man or his parents?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but he was born blind so that the acts of God may be revealed through what happens to him. We must perform the deeds of the one who sent me as long as it is daytime. Night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

Having said this, he spat on the ground and made some mud with the saliva. He smeared the mud on the blind man's eyes and said to him, "Go wash in the pool of Siloam" (which is translated "sent"). So the blind man went away and washed, and came back seeing.

In the OT it is God himself who is associated with the giving of sight to the blind (Exod 4:11, Ps 146:8). In a number of passages in Isa (29:18, 35:5, 42:7) it is considered to be a messianic activity. Jesus was proclaiming Who He is, and Who sent Him.

The disciples assumed that sin (regardless of who committed it) was the cause of the man's blindness. This was a common belief in Judaism; the rabbis used Ezek 18:20 to prove there was no death without sin, and Ps 89:33 to prove there was no punishment without guilt. Thus in this case the sin must have been on the part of the man's parents, or during his own prenatal existence. But Jesus answered clearly that the blindness was for God's good purpose, so the acts of God would be revealed through what happened to him!

So, we must not make the mistake of assuming that a tragedy or sickness is a result of a particular sin. Of course, we all sin. And God is not pleased with sinful leaders who make laws that go against His word. However, He has a plan, and it is being fulfilled. Our responsibility is not to pronounce judgments and speak as if we are God, but to pray that His plan will be fulfilled. We need to pray for the Christians in the devastated areas, that God's grace will be granted to them in abundance, and that they will be used as the hands of God to minister to those who are suffering. Pray for those who are hurting, that their response will be to turn to God, Who is the Judge...for they will face Him, if not today, then on the great and terrible day of the Lord.

In Christ,

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sarah & Tyler's Wedding

The morning dawned dark and windy, but that didn't dampen Sarah's spirits at all. Rachel arrived early to do hair and make-up, and Aunt Wendy, bless her heart, took two trips to town for last-minute items. Vicky took all sorts of pictures of the preparations, and we were so well organized that we actually got to the church early!

We huddled downstairs waiting for the signal. Then it was time for the moms to be escorted to their seats. The music changed, and Stewart, the ring-bearer, accompanied by the two flower girls (Abby Fenton and Emma Ryan, nieces of the bride and groom) marched down the aisle. Need I say they were adorable?

I don't have the proper picture yet, but you can see how cute those three were by the picture above, with the Bride and Groom.

The junior bridesmaids were next, followed by Jeanine and Lesley, who pleased the congregation by doing a pirouette as she walked serenely down the aisle. Then lovely Linda, the maid of honour, genuinely happy and full of grace, proceeded forth.

As Sarah and her Dad appeared, I watched Tyler's face. He was white with nervousness, and his eyes were glistening with tears. He told me today that it was all he could do to not cry, and that Sarah's dress was what he expected from her - simple, elegant, gorgeous.

The ceremony was beautiful, in spite of the occasional interruption from a crying baby or squirmy toddler. Kaleb, 19 months, expressed his joy very loudly, but this didn't bother Sarah at all. She loves all of the babies, and wanted them there for her day.

I had to strain to hear the vows, but I caught the emotion in their voices as they pledged their "troth", one to the other. As they signed the marriage license, Rachel sang "Before the Throne of God Above". It was beautiful.

By the time we exited the church, it was a perfect fall day, sunny, spectacular! Riverside park was moments from the church, and was a lovely setting for pictures. My only regret was that we didn't get a picture of the entire family, kids, spouses and their children.

The reception was memorable. Beautiful decorations, fun speeches, great food, wonderful fellowship. Truly a celebration!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Only a week to go!

Sarah and Tyler's wedding is coming up fast! The house is a flurry of activity, with getting ready for company, planning the lunch, making sure everyone's clothes are in order, designing the program, and so on.

I am excited and trying not to be stressed. In order to not do THAT, I am much in the Word, and praying much. I remind myself that God never gives us more than we can handle, and I look to Jesus, Who, although He was pestered and followed and surely felt the weight of all those burdens, calmly went through His most busy of days with grace, relying on the Father. He is my Example...and although I can never measure up to Him, I strive to be Christ-like in my demeanour and my activities.

So, Lord, give me grace. Give me wisdom, I pray. Help me to discern which activities and tasks are most important, and help me to discard those things which are unnecessary. Help our family to work together in harmony this week. May this upcoming wedding glorify YOU, for you are deserving of all glory.

In Christ, I pray. Amen.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Ontario Election

In my opinion, the election was lost at the starting gate by John Tory's proposal re education funding.

1. It upset the public school supporters because they see the problems in the school system and erroneously conclude that more money is the answer. Why would they want money sent elsewhere?

2. It upset Hindus and other religious groups because they don't want to be "brought into the fold." They are different, and intend to remain different.

3. It upset many Christian schools and homeschooling families who see it as a slippery slope. They provide an alternative to the public school for a reason: they want to have a different curriculum. To hold out a carrot (here's money, folks) that hides a big fat stick (change your curriculum to come in line with the public school curriculum) is dishonest and causes many to be wary.

We all know that Dalton McGuinty has broken all of his promises. But this one issue, brought forward at the very beginning of the campaign, killed the election for the Conservatives.

It's a shame.

I do hope that the next leader of the Progressive Conservatives (and I DO recommend that there is a leadership change) will actually listen to the people of Ontario at the grassroots level. With the unpopularity of the funding issue, one has to wonder who came up with the idea? Some executive types in a boardroom somewhere, I think. Certainly not the average Conservative Ontarian.