Encouragement From The Word, Uncategorized

A sun dog morning

Sometimes, stereotypes exist for a reason. For example, I am about to talk about the weather. I’m a Canadian. We talk about the weather. That’s a stereotype.

Yesterday morning, on my way to the church office, I spotted something in the sky. It wasthumb_IMG_2023_1024 hard to miss, frankly. An ‘ice halo’, otherwise known as a ‘sun dog’, was plainly evident in the southeastern sky. It was a bright, cold, clear day in Nobleton, save for some cirrus clouds in the upper atmosphere. The conditions were right for this unusual meteorological phenomenon. And the timing to catch it was perfect.

Why am I talking about the weather? Well, there’s so many ways we could go with this, but let me limit my thoughts to two.

First, while it was the coldest morning we’ve experienced this winter, and not everybody is a fan of the cold, one isn’t going to see a halo around the sun when it’s warm. Rainbows, yes, but halos, no. Sometimes, we need to experience some discomfort in order to experience a unique blessing.

Have you ever found yourself enduring difficult circumstances, only to discover, later, that those difficult circumstances paved the way to something amazing? Those of you who have given birth will understand this better than the rest of us, I expect. But we who have never birthed a child can understand it, too. Sometimes, we find ourselves in challenging situations. In their midst, we might feel like the world is crashing down around us. But once we pass through those situations, we might find our character has been strengthened, or our hearts have been opened to some greater thing God had planned for us. This may not be true in every difficult circumstance, but something good can come from it, though we may not enjoy it at the time.

Second, timing matters. Often, I don’t head out the door until closer to 9:00, since I live quite close to the church. But yesterday, I was at the church at 8:40. Why? The only reason I can guess is that the Lord wanted me to see that beautiful meteorological feat of his. (Sure, physics can explain it, but who made the physics possible, right?!) When we are open to God’s timing, and ready to go when God says ‘go’ – even if it’s just a 750 metre trip – we can experience blessings that we might miss if we remain chained to our own schedule.

All this might seem like a stretch just from seeing a sun dog, but that was my Thursday morning experience, and it was a blessing for me. How has an uncomfortable situation, or being in the right place at the right time, been a blessing for you?

When you go through deep waters,

    I will be with you.

When you go through rivers of difficulty,

    you will not drown.

When you walk through the fire of oppression,

    you will not be burned up;

    the flames will not consume you” (Isaiah 43.2, NLT).

Biblical Messages, Uncategorized

God speaks to us

When we want to experience God in prayer, we often think of talking to God.  But what about listening to God?  In a personal relationship with the Lord, it’s like any other relationship, in that there is dialogue.  But how does God speak to us?  Through Scripture.  How can we read Scripture so that, through it, God speaks to us?

This message is inspired by John 10.22-30, particularly verse 27:  “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

In this message, we also engaged in the practice of lectio divina with Isaiah 43.1-4.  Have a listen!

Encouragement From The Word

You are honoured and loved!

This Sunday, I’m going to preach on the story of Daniel’s three friends and their time in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3).  Every time I hear that story, I am reminded of God’s comforting words in Isaiah 43.1-4:

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.

O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have
ransomed you.

 I have called you by name; you are mine.

When you go through deep waters, 
I will be with you.

When you go through rivers of difficulty,
 you will not drown.

When you walk through the fire of oppression,
 you will not be burned
the flames will not consume you.

For I am the Lord, your God,
 the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia and Seba in
your place.

Others were given in exchange for you.

I traded their lives for yours
 because you are precious to me.

You are honored, and I love you.

Okay, now go back and read those words again.  Ask yourself:

  • Are there deep waters through which I am going?
  • Are there rivers of difficulty that I fear may cause me to drown?
  • Is there an oppressive fire that I fear will consume me?

Then read those last few words again:  “you are precious to me.  You are honored, and I love you”.

Even if you are in the midst of a trial right now, claim that promise from the Lord:  you are precious; you are honoured, and God loves you.  You may not understand what you experience in these days, but there is a divine purpose that will work for your good, and for God’s glory.

Whatever you face in these days, know that you are honoured and loved by the One who made you.