Artisan Hope

John 8:1-11 1but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap,in order to have a basis for accusing him.But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

You all have heard it, the story of the woman caught “in the act” of adultery. It’s a profound story especially for it to only appear in 1 of the 4 gospels. John is the only writer to capture in words, the scene played out in front of the temple gates. It’s a short passage and I could elaborate on many different aspects of the story.

Such as, where were the Pharisees lurking about to have stumbled across such an intimate encounter? Also where was the gentleman involved in such pairing? Had he fled the bed of his lover or simply not been held accountable for his actions?

I could also compare us to the Pharisees and point out how each of us is looking for a loop hole in Chris’s teaching. Maybe it’s not as deliberate as to trap Him, but to justify our struggles, or to perfect our excuses to avoid that work prepared for us, or that task we long to fulfill just not in the manner, or location he has in mind.

I could expand upon Christ wisdom. He takes his time to respond reserving a moment to evaluate his plan, counts to 10 and take a deep cleansing breath. Sage advice when faced with opposition.

I could point out what a stand-up guy Jesus was. He bows his head gives the poor girl some privacy. No need to stare her down, disheveled and disgraced. She has been exposed anouf, no need for the traveling preacher to embarrass her more by taking in the sight before him.

No what I stumbled upon is much more exciting! When confronted with sin, raw and broken Jesus creates art. Our spoiled frame work is exactly the canvas he longs to draw on. His Scratching of texture into the Sand is just a reflection of the master piece he is creating in this story… In every ones story.

From the depths of shame he created grace, grace to a life spoiled and spent on the unfulfilled needs of a broken heart.

From the platforms of public ridicule he presents a welcome mat of acceptance and a eternal dwelling place.

From a death sentence with no chance of repentance, he draws a map to new life, life filled with purpose and dignity.

From the desolate he reaches with the brush strokes of the riches in heaven. He offers a spent woman, the place of a princess, in the palace of the one true God. Creator of heaven and earth.

And he is working that same masterpiece in my life and in yours. He has saved me from myself even as he protects me from the hardships of a life walked alone, colourless with opposition on every side.

Because with the passing of his grace comes the trading of my sorrows, and as I see the tender work he is designing in my life I am able to see the beauty he is working in the lives of others. “He who is without sin throw the first stone.” When we take a look at our peers how can we condemn them with out signing our own death warrant? Oh but for the Grace of a God who only can see the covering of his shed blood, washing us white as snow. So we are to see the new creation that is our neighbours, our co-workers and even our in-laws. Who of us could ever be condemned, if we recognized their resemblance on the canvas of the Most High God? How could we ever point a finger again?

But since Christ cannot look at our sin he must cover us with his sacrificial masterpiece, of a blessed pardon so he can once again dwell with his children. His teaching that early morning was of beauty and graceful strokes that paint us in a future of hope and repentance. Don’t miss the beauty we are meant to experience when the sin sheds away like the dull heavy coat of winter. Once we are unencumbered we will run through the freshness of springtime in our salvation, as God paints the trees again with new life. The living master piece of cleansed hearts and redeemed souls that will sustains us until eternity.

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A Resting Place for Your Heart

Lamentations 3:23
Great is his faithfulness, his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Hang in there dear heart, you are beating so fast you might burst out of my chest. Its been a long morning and its only 9:30, husband off to work and a quite moment for me and God. Then waking kids and finding clothing, organizing gear for the trip to town, its swimming lessons today. Breakfast of yogurt and granola and milk in sippy cups. I of course just chug back a shake and think about coffee, but I have been drinking too much coffee lately, it keeps me awake at night.

Coffee and all of the things moms worry about, keep me awake in the darkest hours, right before the world tips over to the other side of another day. January in the Fort St. John, dark hours pile up till you fear you might never see the sun again. But it breaks through every day, cutting the fog of early mornings, and late nights. The mist lifts off the fields or sometimes it just hangs frozen mid air and glows with an invisible warmth that we wont feel for a few more months.

And I shake off the fog one more time cause that what questioning mothers do…

1 Corinthians 13:12
We don’t yet see things clearly. We are squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it wont be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We will see it all then, see it all as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as He knows us!

Questioning my ability to raise these tiny people. Questioning if they are retaining anything I say to them. Questioning if they are getting enough nutrition or enough snuggles. Questioning if the delay to achieve bench-marks are behavioural or development or just imagined. Questioning my sanity, my organizational ability, and my schedule.

I shake off the fog of all the questions and self doubt and I move forward. Cause that’s what questioning mothers do…

All these questions are my fears not letting me rest…

Fears that I might fail my children and they will suffer for my lack of wisdom in raising them. Or anxiety that they might not continue on to post secondary education, or stress that they wont be potty trained in time for kindergarten.

And what is fear… What is anxiety… What is stress….

These are all an overwhelmed display, of a lack of faith.

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

A lack of seeing the unseen victory that is all around us. Victory over sin and death and yes even fear. Fear is the absence of worship and gratefulness. Fear leads you down a path that will never fulfilling the destiny God has set before you, You can not live a life of obedience, chained to the shackles of fear. When you dwell in anxiety and worry you will miss your calling, a calling that is written in the scriptures and whispered in your heart.

A calling to rest…

To rest in the midst of the storm.

Mark 6: 36-40
Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, Teacher, don’t you care if we drown He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the waves, Quiet! Be still! Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples Why are you afraid Do you still have no faith…

There will still be storms but with Jesus in the boat you can rest. Rest assured that he know what is keeping you up at night. Rest assured that he fearfully and wonderfully made your Children and he longs for them to live a life best used for his glory. Rest assured that you are the chosen mother for theses tender years, for the teen years, for the turmoil and the tantrums. Rest assured that you are not to walk alone as mother or as a father, but you are to walk with God and to rely on his strength when ours is limited and lacking. But mostly you are to rest in the storm as Jesus rested in the storm… Because Jesus knew His Father He knew He was secure…

Jesus has power over the storm, he can have power over the storms in your life. This a power we have access too. Because it doesn’t matter what the pediatrician says or what the teachers say or what the little league coach thinks. It doesn’t matter what the specialist say and what the books tell you. It only matters what God says. It only matters that God has Power over the storm.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Resting Place 1506

Dear heart the day has come to an end and the darkness has settled around us but the moon still casts shadows over the yard. Shadows of hope stretching out in the dark, behind each tree a valley is formed. A little well is formed from the strength of the tree protecting that which stand close behind it.

It is like that standing close to the living shelter of our Christ we will find a resting place for all the things keeping us awake at night and all the things keeping us from from peace and contentment. So lay your burden in the shadow of the cross, drop them in the well created with the unmoving stance of a gracious God who will stand in the storm with you, and shelter you from the wind. Take comfort dear heart, do not beat so fast but carry the peace that comes with the knowledge of a good shelter in a dark storm.
Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Breaking Trail

Today the sun broke through the cold clouds and set the diamonds to winking, all over the snow covered fields. Untouched after a week of -27 and blowing snow it was a delight to strap on the snow shoes and get outside. I loaded my girl into the skimmer for a refreshing hike in our pasture. The cows were shipped this fall and the hubby’s sled isn’t running so what a view before me of smooth perfection. Just the pup eagerly breaking a trail to travel on.

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Happiness is not having to break your own trail! Its been a great year for the white stuff and as I am a winter sports enthusiast I wont be kept in doors for long. But 2 fresh feet of powder will slow a girl down. The pup sniffed out a trail and motored on looking back occasionally, to be sure she wasn’t leaving us too far behind.

So surrounded with Gods glory I of coarse found myself reflecting on the trail set before me. It is a well travelled path since God has been calling many to take it since the beginning of time. I am speaking of a trail that started with a wild man hiking out of the desert. A man called to prepare a way for one who is coming who sandals he would not be fit to carry. I am speaking of the first coming of our Christ and the trail we share in the preparation of the second coming as well….

Matthew 3:1-3
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near This is who he was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah; A voice of one calling in the desert, Prepare the way of the Lord, make way the path for him.

John was born not long before Jesus, they were cousins and both of blessed conception. Johns folks love the Lord and loved His Law, advanced in years one would assume the priest and his wife were wise and willing to raise their child, a precious gift form the Lord, in the ways he should go.

Oh but the wild ways he would go, camel skins, wild locusts and honey. Long hair and dirty feet from travelling hard country. You have to be a little wild to embrace the calling of God on your life. You have to be ready to cut loss from your fears and anxieties and follow an unmarked path.

John could draw a crowd, and change the hearts of man to turn from the error of their ways. John baptized them and set them on a new path. A path that would lead to life and hope and blessing for many. But the path he was preparing for his cousin Jesus was a path that would first lead to death before new life could be found.

John has left an impression upon the pages of the bible, and I’m sure he left an impression to those who heard his teaching. Weather your heart was change or not who could forget the Man from the desert, dunking folks in the Jordan river. I bet he was the talk of the town.

John was a trail breaker…

Breaking Trail 1502  Breaking Trail 1502

Matthew 3:13
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.

Jesus was a Trail Breaker….

He broke into his mother womb. He journeyed on a path to Bethlehem to fulfill what the prophets said and he fled out on a trail to Egypt to survive genocide. He wander the wilderness for 40 days to seek the path His Father would have Him take, to lead His people to an understanding of his purpose and his message. Humbly and passionately he broke trail right down to the Jordan, right in to the water, and then be broke through the surface with victory and with blessing. John had faithfully perused his calling and he was given rest. Rest for his soul, rest as he followed behind One who would now break a trail for him.

Breaking a trail to Peace, to Unconditional Love, to Everlasting Life with the One True God.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

And what a journey they took…

3 years of breaking trail, 3 years of gathering missionaries and 3 years of miracles. 3 years of washing dirty feet and 3 years of speaking truth to young and old. The miles they walked, the discussions they had, the meger meals they ate around the camp fire. They broke a trail in Judea, Samaria, Galilee and Jerusalem. He covered ground and He cover sins then he broke His trail right up to Calvary. Wile he broke the Trail to everlasting life we broke His Heart and we broke His body.

They broke a trail in Judea, Samaria, Galilee and Jerusalem. He covered ground and He cover sins then he broke His trail right up to Calvary. Wile he broke the Trail to everlasting life we broke His Heart and we broke His body.

But as John proceeded Jesus, Jesus proceeded the Holy Spirit

John 14:15-17
If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever- the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.

He did not leave us as orphans, Mercy and Wisdom prevailed and we were given a new Trail Breaker. He will break a trail into our very souls if we only ask for the great director of the universe to give us the direction we are so longing for in our lives.

Matthew 7:14
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only few will find it.

You are not left alone, that would be too much for God to ask of us, so he never has. He has always provided a Trail Breaker to move the debris from our path and the clutter from our lives.

The poem Foot Prints paints us the picture of God walking along side of us as we travel life’s roads. But today as I hiked through the deep snow I pictured Christ and I not traversing parallel paths, as though we were shoulder to shoulder, entering the deep drifts as companions struggling through together.

Rather I pictured His strong back in front of me, as I followed directly in his foot path. The Drifts were broken through before I reached them, and the branches broken back, so not to mar my view of the path before me. He is Breaking the Trail he would have me follow.

Deuteronomy 31:8
The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

 

New year Fresh resolution

 

It’s that time of year and everyone is ready. Blank calendar, new cross trainers, stack of motivational books and a carefully thought out check list laminated and pinned to the fridge. We are ready to resolve, to make a plan, to revamp the day planner with all the things we are going to gain from this new direction.

But,what if Christ was our new direction…

What if you just cleared your schedule for his agenda…

What if moving forward ment slowing down the pace, turning down the volume, and cleaning out the clutter of the gaining this and attaining that….

What if we all sat still and just listened for God…

Psalm 27:14

Wait upon the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, WAIT for the LORD.

Now I’m not saying to sit in the place you are stuck and wait for a crane to come and dislodge you from your fears, or laziness, or business.  If you are lost in the fog with a self made map, you need to prepare for change and then make it. But what I’m hammering at is that direction, and control is the key.

The KEY that Christ holds for each of us. As you look into this next year be wise with the 2 most powerful words in the English language.

Yes and No

We are all running out of time…

Time to get our chores done, time to get the kids off to music and soccer. Time to finish that report or pay that bill. You see time is the great equalizer that makes us desperate to use it wisely, but frantic to get everything accomplished. Everything we are trying to purchase, everything our parents expect from us. Everything our spouse is longing for from us, and everything our friends are attaining ahead of us.

What you choose to say Yes to, determined what your most rapidly dissolving commodity is going to be either invested in, or wasted on.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

He has made all things beautiful in HIS TIME. He has set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Christ has managed his time with excellence and He wants to help you better manage yours. What ever it is you are striving for, God can get you there faster and make it beautiful. He is the only free ride you are going to be encouraged to take in this life, a free ride that  will give you more then you can imagin. The blessing he is waiting to bestow on your life and the calling he has for your future are profound but you must seek him first to gain access to the BEST YES he is calling you too.

With the best couch comes the winning athlete, so run not a race but into his arms.  They are waiting to carry you to the top of the ladder, to drive you through that hectic car pool, to lift you out of the pit you have fallen into. Run and Rest and Trust in the Resolve of a better plan and the perfecter of your new direction.

Revelation 21:5

(God) Behold I am making all things new again Also he said Write this down for these words are trustworthy and true

So this year stop the trying, the purging, the playing the part of the Pinterest Perfect Parent. Seek God. Seek Him like buried treasure or like missing keys when you are late for work. Long for his voice and listen so you will hear it. Be still and be silent and get unplugged and disconnected from the buzz of the now and the better and the urgent.

Your time to make a BEST YES is running out. Christ makes us new and the old self we are so painstakingly trying to wash away one pound at a time, or one bad habitat a time, will be washed down stream with the cumbersome, and the clumsy, and all the things that have been holding you back will  be revealed not as things, but as choices. Choices of time wasted and relationships squandered, opportunities missed and time spent with the Saviour of our Souls and King of our Hearts lacking in attention and focuse.

So this year make a Resolution to SEEK GOD in the places where WISDOM GATHERS and as you dwell in the presents of the PERFECT PLAN-MAKER you will become bold and equipped and eager to step forward into the life you have been searching for all along.

Matthew 7:8

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.