The Big Bonfire

Bonfire night is still a part of our heritage here in Newfoundland Labrador, although many restrictions have been put in place by municipalities and government. As children, at school,  we would talk about the big bonfire we had the previous Guy Fawkes Night. Someone would always try to lay claim to the largest fire and talk about the number of tires they had piled in the fire.

When our son was around 12 years old, him and a group of friends spent weeks preparing for their bonfire. He would come home and talk about the number of tires they had and other materials they had gathered. We warned him about being careful and not to place any propane tanks, aerosol cans or explosive items in the fire. We should have been more pro-active in checking out the pile but we were not.

The fire was huge and aerosol cans were flying like missiles through the woods. Someone called the fire department and they came and got it under control. It was one of the bigger bonfires that I have seen. The heat was so extreme that you had to stand a long way from the actual fire.

There is a story in Daniel 3 about three young men being thrown into a fiery furnace. Their names were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They were among the captives who were  brought from Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, when he conquered Judah.

They were among those chosen by wise men of Babylon as ordered by King Nebuchadnezzar to be trained to help him rule his people. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were taught in all the knowledge of the Chaldeans. After three years of training they were taken into the king’s palace for His approval.

They proved to be faithful to the king and wise in their rule over those whom they were responsible for. The king was pleased with them, however there were those who were jealous because they had risen to such providence in the Babylonian kingdom.

Christians And Stress

About a month ago I went through a very difficult and stressful situation at work. I’m retired, however I do the maintenance work, as needed, at a small 13 room motel. The motel has new owners and I still look after the maintenance plus I have a few other roles added.

I was asked if I would do the bank deposits. The bank is on  my way home from work so I said yes. Usually there are two or three deposits slips and I have a card that allows me to make deposits to the account. I cannot take money from the account.

One day I received a call that there was a deposit missing. The previous day there were supposed to be four deposits and they only were credited at the bank for three. Did I know what happened to the missing deposit? I was the last person to handle the deposit before it was deposited in the bank. What would you think? I told them that what was in the deposit bag was what was taken to the bank. They know me to be a truthful person but the facts speak for themselves so I went about trying to prove my innocence.

I questioned the person who was responsible for the finances and she was adamant that there were four deposits in the bag. Hindsight tells me that I should have checked before leaving for the bank. She had checked the deposits before passing the bag to me.

We checked with the bank and their records showed that I had made only three deposits. I have to admit that as a Christian I was under some stress. The money had to be somewhere or the person handling the cash had taken it. A number of people knew that the money was missing and I guess they suspected that I had something to do with it.

We have video cameras and I spent hours reviewing videos. There was one suspect. An outside worker who was there when the deposits were being checked and had gone in to the office twice to speak to this employee. The video did not show him in the office, however; it appeared that he stuffed something in his pocket after exiting the office. Also, he went outside and opened the tail gate of my van by accident and realizing what he had done went to his van. My van is white and his is navy. The cameras show him bending down as if he is hiding something.  He appeared to be nervous. Did he take the deposit? I reviewed more video but could find no positive proof that he had taken it. Other people reviewed the video and they came to the same conclusion. There wasn’t enough proof. But he was our suspect.

Eleven days passed and some of the staff were stressed. My wife prayed with me and I had previously claimed a verse from Psalm 85:10,11..Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth shall spring out of the earth;  I had been praying a simple prayer, mercy and truth will prevail.

On the 12th day I went into the motel and the manager said, “they found it”. I said they found what and she said the deposit. Where did they find it? It was in the bank. The bank had made an error.

Now I had been checking to see if the teller, who had served me was still working there. For seven days she was not at work. Did she have something to do with the missing funds? She had been on a weeks holidays. We had been blaming a worker plus the bank teller and they were innocent. The bank did not tell us what happened to the deposit for the eleven days it went missing in the bank.

As Christian’s we face stressful situations the same as non practicing christians. It’s how we handle them makes the difference. I read my bible, I prayed, I claimed a promise and I had someone praying for me. The truth shall set you free. Not only from sin but the effects of stress.

Greater is He that is in me then he who is in the world.  1 John 4:4

 

What About Temptation

Sometimes I think I’m the only one being tempted continually with one specific temptation. However, I know this to be untrue but I believe there are many more like me who think this way. The, what about temptation post. hopefully; will get us to open up to confidential christian friends to talk about our struggles with this spiritual epidemic.

In 1 Cor 10:13 Paul writes: No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. but when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

What does Paul mean? If, all my life I have been tempted to lust after women, which is  the history of men in my family, then this is common to man or in the case of women to lust after men? Paul had a thorn in the flesh which God did not take away from him because as Paul said,  2 Cor 12:7 “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.”

Please don’t misunderstand me when I say I lust after women. I can look at a woman and if I allow it this can turn into lustful desires such as David had. My father had an affair, which lasted for a few years and it had long lasting effects on our family. I made a decision that I would not follow in his foot steps. My wife and I have been married for 48 years and I have kept my vow, with God’s help, to be true and faithful. There have been innumerable temptations and fantasies that I have had to deal with, however; through prayer and not allowing lust to consume my mind I have dealt with my thorn.

I was just thinking of two very good friends of mine whose fathers committed adultery and their parents separated. My friends were both christians and they told me that they would not  do to their family what their father did to them. Sad to report that both men are now separated from their families because they had affairs.

My prayer is that I will be faithful to God and thus faithful to my wife.

Introduce My Old Friend

My friend, Gord and I went to a local coffee shop for a break from a project.  A long time friend of mine was in the lineup behind us. I made it a point to introduce my old friend to Gord. It was an easy introduction as they both participated in conversation as we waited to be served.

My old friend, Ford, purchased his coffee and left but we decided to sit and have a chat. He asked me about Ford and or friendship. it was quite easy to tell some things about him and his accomplishments.  I had met him many years ago as we had lived across the street from each other. His younger brother was  a friend of mine and we would spend many hours, at his place,  shooting hockey balls and practicing our softball skills.

I played on a local softball team with Ford and his brother. We won many championships together and played in the provincial finals. Ford went on to become one of the top softball pitchers in Canada and was a top athlete in hockey. One year he was selected the provincial athlete of the year. He became a very successful businessman.

While in church, I thought about this chance meeting and how relaxed and happy I was to introduce my friends to each other and to talk to Gord about Ford. Then it struck me, my best friend is my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. For some reason I find it very difficult to introduce Him to others, especially to my friends. Why!

Am I ashamed of Jesus? No.

Am I afraid that they might misunderstand my relationship with Jesus? Yes.

In progress

 

 

A Wise Woman

On of the most quoted verses about a wise woman is found in Proverbs 14:1,, The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down. The NLT is one of the better translations.  A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.

My wife is and has been a wise woman. She is not outgoing but would much rather work in the background.

This is just one example.

I’m retired and work part time as a maintenance man at a small motel. This business has new owners and the fire department had given the previous owners 14 days to correct five deficiencies, I was not aware of the letter. The new owners were contacted and I was put in charge of the work. Four of the deficiencies were corrected without any real problem. The fifth one became a challenge,

I was pressed by the owners to have a door installed to the electrical room in the basement. It had to be done within a day. The problem was the fire inspector told me it had to be a fire rated door. This door would have to be a special order because of height restrictions in the basement.

One of the owners kept pressing me to get the door installed immediately. I checked to see if there was one available at recycling depots and even put an ad on KIJIJI.

Eventually I went back to a lumber supplier,  that I was familiar with, that had been in business for years. I was praying and hoping that they would have an old wooden fire rated door in one of their buildings.  We found one but it was two inches too wide and six inches too long. It weighed about 100 pounds. I was told that they could cut the door but not the width. Panic time. They called around to wholesalers, however; there was nothing available. I made a decision to have them prepare another door which I hoped would be acceptable. I was doubtful but hopeful.

The following morning I was getting ready to pick up the door and my wife knew that I was stressed. I told her the problem and she in her wisdom said, “why don’t you widen the opening.” None of us had even considered this option. She prayed for me and I rushed to the lumber dealer. I told them to hold off until I checked to see if I could make the change. The room was finished so I had to cut away some drywall to see how it was built. It was wood on both sides. I could make the change and use the fire rated door.

The only problem was they wern’t sure if the core was wood fibre or concrete as it was over ten years old. They checked and they were able to cut the door and prepare it for installation.

My helper and I were finishing putting a self closure on the door when the inspector arrived.  He approved all the deficiencies and gave us the required letter for the authorities.

Thanks to a wise woman.

Your Always On My Mind

I remember both Elvis Presley and Willie Nelson singing Your Always On My Mind. The first verse of the song reads

Maybe I didn’t treat you
Quite as good as I should have
Maybe I didn’t love you
Quite as often as I could have
Little things I should have said and done
I just never took the time

You were always on my mind
You were always on my mind

I thought about that song as I was reading Our Daily Bread devotional and read the following statement

What we let into our minds shapes the state of our souls.

Here are a couple of verses that speaks about the christian having the mind of Christ.

Philippians 2:5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

1 Corinthians 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

What if we could sing, with conviction and praise to God,  Lord, You’re Always On My Mind…You’re Always On My Mind.

I was doing some research and found this song by Misty Edwards..Always on my mind..

 

Mercy And Truth

This morning, while doing my devotions, I was reading Psalm 57 and I was struck by the words of verse 3b. God shall send forth His mercy and His truth. My life has been based on truthfulness and there have been times where my truthfulness has been tested. I will say that there have been times where I have not been truthful, however; for me it has been a learning and a growing process.

If I tell an untruth now or am stretching the truth, that still small voice or my born again spirit or God’s spirit will alert me to the fact that I’m not telling it like it is or was.

This past week my truthfulness has been tested. This is the story.

I’m retired and work part time as a maintenance man at a small motel. The motel has a bar and some video games. Most of my work is building maintenance both inside and outside. Recently the motel was sold and they kept me on with the rest of the staff.

I was asked to make bank deposits. This didn’t bother me as I have managed businesses and am very familiar with the process and the bank is on my route home.

Basically I take the deposit and drive to the bank and in most cases there are three or four deposits within the deposit bag. A few days ago I was told that there was a deposit missing. There were three deposits put in the bank and there should have been four. I was the last person to have the deposit bag before putting it in the bank. The deposit bag was given to me by the manager and I went to the bank. I’m not naive. What would you think?  I can’t see the bank teller making a mistake as I stood in front of her as she entered the information and handed me the receipts. I don’t know if there were three or four deposits as it was a couple of days later before I was told about the missing deposit and I  had been to the bank again after this happened.

I know what I did so, did the teller make a mistake or was the deposit not in the bag when it was given to me. The people know me to be truthful and the owner had been told that I can be trusted.  So this morning I prayed, Lord send forth your mercy and your truth in my life today.

This is a study of Psalm 57: Click Here

We have cameras, in the building and after reviewing video there is strong evidence that an outside worker, doing an upgrade to some equipment, may have some information on the missing deposit.  The video will be reviewed, by the owner, to determine whether there is enough evidence to confront this person or pass it to the authorities.  Does this clear me of any possible wrong doing? Yes and no! People are people and they base their observation of a person on his or her performance or their social relationship with a person.

As a practicing christian what Christ like qualities do they see and have seen in my interaction with people?

Why Am I So Discouraged

Many of us, who call ourselves Christians, are discouraged, downcast and show little joy in our relationship with God. The psalmist was very familiar with discouragement and we can find from Psalm 43 and psalm 42 how he found the answer to his questionable spirit.

The King James version, for those of us who favor this translation reads:  Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. kjv.43:5. The nlt version translates this verse as: Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!

Psalm 42:5 asked the same question: Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and  6 my God!

Please recognize the fact that I am just a man who is very familiar with the trials and struggles of life. I have been discouraged, I have been anxious and I have worried about situations and circumstances that have come into my life.

Here are a few..

Alzheimers within my family

Anxiety attacks

Dealing with the accidental death of my  17 year old daughter’s boy friend.

Loss of a job

Financial stresses.

Confronting and going to court with and against a pedophile who was associated with my family.

Premature birth of twin boys who are our grandchildren who had very little hope of survival and if they did would have severe medical issues.

Accidental death of grandparents.

Yes, our lives are filled with turmoil and stress.  Some of us find it unbearable to face the struggles that confront us: however, the psalmist knew and provides the answer.. Hope thou in God.

One of my favorite verses is 1 Corinthians 13: No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

All of us need a trusting and confidential friend to confide in and who will listen to our heart concerns without being judgmental. For me his name is Jesus. He is my saviour and my friend, 1 Peter 5:7 tells me that I can cast all my cares upon him because he cares about me.

Make an appointment with God to talk to him about your discouragements. When I say make an appointment, I know that we can speak to God at any time but seriously find a comfortable place where you feel you can open your heart to Him. He  is aware of what you are facing and longs for you to talk to Him. Tell Him what’s on your heart as if you were talking to your doctor. Just wait on God……..

 

How Do I View Mercy Killing

 

Over the past number of weeks we  have seen a deterioration in the mental health capacity of my sister-in-law. She is a sufferer from alzheimers. To see her fall from a healthy, happy, fun loving lady to a sometimes restrained, shouting and one who shows no recognizable knowing of family members has been burdensome.

I mentioned to a few close friends that I now understand why some loved ones would consider mercy killing. Upfront, I disagree with taking another person’s life because of health issues. What I’m saying is that I see why people are challenged to consider mercy killing.

I have heard family members say that they would prefer, rather then see her suffer the deteriorating effects of alzheimers, that she would take a heart attack which would take away her pain, suffering and degrading mental capacity. Maybe those are my thoughts as well.

We love this lady and hopefully those thoughts are not selfish thinking that would ease our burdens and concerns.  Our faith is in our God. We have and will continue to pray for her healing as well as for ourselves that we will be loving, supportive, patient and faithful.

I’m reading the book “Second Forgetting” by

An article in progress

Things That Make You Angry

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on the cause of your anger. Eph 4:26 Net

Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Eph 4:26 Kjb

Are there things that make you angry? For me personally, there are many situations that cause me to be mad or angry. For example, being Canadian, I’m very angry with the way the President of the United States is behaving towards Canada and his uncontrolled tongue.  In my opinion he is pompous and dictatorial. My anger is hopefully a controlled anger and I have prayed for and will continue to pray for President Trump.

His Presidential style may be working for the employment of the American people but at what expense to the rest of the world.

I have traveled to the US on many occasions and have always been treated with the utmost respect. During 911 I had the privilege to bring, some of those who were stranded, into our home for a shower and to show them some of our local sight and interests.

It makes you wonder if he is envious of how Canada is viewed by the majority of people in the world.

Yes, this makes me angry and sad, however; I will not lose sleep over it and as mentioned I will continue to pray that God’s will be done in this situation.

I get angry at the following.

When I hear of children being molested or being mistreated.

When I see able bodied people on welfare and robbing the system

When I hear of women being raped, murdered and beaten.

When I see the neglect at some nursing homes

I get angry at cancer, alzheimers, dementia and other life threatening and mind related illnesses.

I get angry at genocide and other atrocities done in the name of religion.

I get angry who hid behind Facebook and other media.

I get angry at my local open line shows where you are unable to mention anything concerning Christianity. I suppose they have their reasons.

More to be added

I get angry with me when I make bad decisions or say something that may be misunderstood or deliberately to hurt those who are close to me.

Before I became a Born Again Christian I would get angry. This anger would be at my wife. I noticed that it usually happened when I was tired or stressed. Anger was toxic and it hurt me and others so I  knew that I had to deal with it. I laid it on the altar and asked God to take it away or to help me to deal with my anger outbursts.  It was not taken away, however; it is under control and when it starts to raise it’s ugly head, I stop to pray about the cause.

Have to run to bring the grand-children to school.