Archives for the month of: November, 2012

Am I a procrastinator?  Sometimes I think I am and sometimes I think I am not.  What makes one a procrastinator?  I will think and write on these things.

I started off writing and naming this blog site as Family Memories, but I have written very little about family and very little about memories.  I had planned to write a new blog at least on a weekly basis, but that hasn’t happened either.  Was it because I am procrastinating, was it because I didn’t feel like I had anything valuable to write that day, or was it because my plans for the day are always changing based on someone else’s plans for me, or someone else’s needs at the moment.  e.g. How many times have you been about to make a phone call when someone else phoned you or asked you for a favour or said they were hungry and then you stopped what you were doing to do something else?  Do we always think that we will have more time, that we will make that phone call another day?  Do we really believe that we know for sure that we will have another day to talk to that person?

Today, I WILL call my Mother.  Today, I have written a blog.  Yes, it is a short blog, but who says that blogs have to be long?  Who says that blogs have to be full of wisdom?  Today, writing this blog has not been easy.

Yes, phone lines go both ways, but we need to keep in touch with those we love, because we never know how long we will have them around or how long we will be around.  Never miss an opportunity to say “I Love You” to those you love.

As I read various readings this morning, my mind was so confused.  I read Psalms 25 and was struck by the words in verses 4 and 5.  “Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me they paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”  Beautiful words which we like to hear.

But then, I was led to Psalms 137 which starts out with “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.”  Most of us would remember hearing these words and would even break out in song, upon hearing them, but how many of us really think about them or about the rest of this Psalm – a song of sadness and a song of hate…..yes, hate!  And yes, why not hate, when we remember what happened to the peoples of Israel, what happened to the people of Africa, what happened to the peoples of many of the Caribbean Islands.  I recently read two books – “The Covenant” by James A. Michener and “The Book of Negroes” by Lawrence Hill and also read “Roots” by Alex Haley some time ago and believe me, they are not easy books to read; and reading through the Old Testament alone gives us lots of examples of what Israel went through.

Eugene H. Peterson calls Psalms 137 the Scandal Psalm and says many people would like to remove it from the Psalms because it does express hate, but as I contemplate what would have been in the hearts of people who were torn from their land, their families, their loved ones, their people and who also had their children, their precious babies torn from them, would I not feel hate. Yes, when we are hurt, when we are violated, when we are in great pain, when we don’t understand why things are happening, God wants to hear how we feel.  God is a big God – He can handle how we feel and He can help to turn us around and help us work through our hate and our great sorrow.  God does not want us to suppress our feelings.  He wants us to express them and the Psalms illustrate this over and over again.  Peterson used this sentence which really struck me – “A ship that is dead in the water can’t be steered”.

Yes, sometimes we will feel actual hate – admit it, but then pray it out to God and let Him guide you in His ways. Many, many things we don’t understand, but all will be revealed to us one day.  Psalm 136:1 ” O Give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: for His mercy endures for ever.”  He will understand us even when we don’t understand ourselves.

A Psalm of David.

The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,  for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.  He will receive  blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.  Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Lift up your heads, O gates!

And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.

 Who is this King of glory?   The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle!

Lift up your heads, O gates!   And lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.

Who is this King of glory?   The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory!  Psalms 24

As I read Psalms 24 this morning, my mind was on the US election and how passionate the voters were, even standing in line-ups for up to six hours to place their vote.  I also thought about how close the overall results were.  I prayed for the results of the election before, not for any particular candidate, as I did not have a clear and definite opinion on which man would do a better job.

Reading over this Psalm, I am now praying that Barack Obama will keep a “clean heart and clean hands” and that God will use him to lead America in the paths that it should go.  There are many things that don’t look right to me at the moment, but God can change things in His own way and in His own time.  Pray for America!

Psalm 18: 46 The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.

The more that I read from the book of Psalms, the more I get excited about God and the place that He should have in our lives. Psalms 18:2 says that God is our rock, our fortress, our deliverer, our God, our rock in whom we take refuge, our shield, our horn of salvation and our stronghold.  I am purposely putting these in the third person, because even though He is mine, He is also yours.

Eugene H. Peterson in his book “Answering God” says “Significantly, while the psalmists called God a rock, they never set up a rock and called it God.  They called God a shepherd but never found a good-looking shepherd and made a statue of him to preserve the form of God.  They called God a shield but never embellished one with precious stones, hung it in a sacred place, and worshiped it.” He goes on to say that “An idol reduces and confines; a metaphor expands and connects.”

God cannot be measured … He is immeasurable!  He is not the rock, He is not the shepherd, He is not the shield, but the metaphors help to provide our insignificant minds with an understanding of God.  I keep getting drawn back to an illustration of what we must look like to an ant. When we stand over an ant running across our kitchen floor, we have complete power over it. We can crush it, pick it up and carry it outdoors to safety or give it poison to eat so that it will take it back to it’s colony and unknowingly kill all of it’s “relatives and friends”.  We can choose to pour gas on the anthill which took months and months of labour to build and burn it all up in just a few minutes, killing each and every one of the residents,or we can choose to dig it up and carry it away to another place.  And yet, even though we have the power to eliminate the ants or choose to just be amazed by their ingenuity, the comparison is not really even close to us and God.  We did not create the ants – we can only watch them; God created them and gave them the ability to do such amazing feats of carrying, building, and designing and His inspired word even tells us to consider them and how they work.

Yet, in the great scheme of things, who are we?  We, who are so much greater than the ants; we, who were created, even higher than the angels, and yet, we are still just a part of a creation.  But, not just part of a creation, God’s word tells us plainly that we are created in His image. And, not only are we created in His image, but that “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

How can we read this and understand it?  We look around and we see what is happening and has happened all around “the world” that God has created and we don’t understand.  We don’t understand the suffering, we don’t understand the sickness, we don’t understand the pain, we don’t understand how God could or would create man with the potential to be a rapist, a murderer, a pedophile, a sadist; but we also don’t understand the power of Satan in the world.  Maybe we just need to trust God that He knows what He is doing; we are just part of His creation, but a very significant part, and one day we WILL understand.

Walker Percy very wisely said “Metaphors are very strange because when you put two things together, it’s a way of discovering meanings which haven’t been discovered before.”

For today I will believe “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalms 18:2