Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Nature/Creation’ Category

I believe that the most important part of the Creation debate is answered in the first five words of Genesis,

in the beginning, God created

From my understanding of the Bible, one must be able to have confidence that however he did it, in whatever length of time, God created, intelligently and intentionally, our world and all contained within it.

This knowledge or faith in God’s ability to create all is the scaffolding that gives us confidence in God’s oversight of every aspect of our lives.

We can know that he is in control,
even when we do not feel that control.

I recently heard a song, by Duke Ellington and Mahala Jackson, called Come Sunday. When I looked up the lyrics, I found myself to be drawn into the gift of Sunday … the Sabbath.

Now, the Sabbath is not necessarily a day on the calendar, so much as a pause, a reset in the week. It is a time, a day that is different from the other days of the week. It is a day of physical rest, of mental rest, of social rest (for the introverts 😉 ), of spiritual rest. It is a day that is different from the others in a week. A day when we give our weariness to him, rest in his arms.

We often do not realize the rest that comes to us by looking, not at ourselves, but at God.

Through our study of his word, our prayers, our worship and even in our acceptance of downtime, a repose, we are renewed and refreshed by ensuring that our hearts and minds take a break from our working, our endeavours, our creating.

The Creator of our world, and all that is in it, rested … therefore we rest.

Come Sunday
Lord, dear Lord of love, God Almighty, God above,
Please look down and see my people through.

I believe that God put sun and moon up in the sky.
I don’t mind the gray skies ’cause they’re just clouds passing by.

He’ll give peace and comfort to every troubled mind,
Come Sunday, oh come Sunday, that’s the day.

Often we feel weary but he knows our every care.
Go to him in secret, he will hear your every prayer.

Up from dawn till sunset, man works hard all day,
Come Sunday, oh come Sunday, that’s the day.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

One of the things I love about visiting my province of origin is the grandeur of the sky.

There are no mountains to shorten the horizon and an absence of cloud cover to shade the sun from showing how far it reaches. It just seems to go on forever … and I am in constant awe and wonder looking out at it.

Psalm 19:1-6 makes me think of this upward and outward spectacular, great big sky when it speaks of the heavens:

“The heavens are telling the glory of God; they are a marvelous display of his craftsmanship. Day and night they keep on telling about God. Without a sound or word, silent in the skies, their message reaches out to all the world. The sun lives in the heavens where God placed it  and moves out across the skies as radiant as a bridegroom going to his wedding, or as joyous as an athlete looking forward to a race!  The sun crosses the heavens from end to end, and nothing can hide from its heat.”

What a reminder that this great big sky is the craftsmanship of God himself, that the sun was placed there by him. It is, though, verse three that sticks out particularly to me:

Without a sound or word, silent in the skies,
their message reaches out to all the world.

This verse makes me think of the quote, “preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary” (often attributed to St Francis of Assisi). Though I cannot be sure those are the words of St Francis, I do think that he, such a appreciator and steward of God’s creation, as well as one who would have mediated on God’s word, would know and understand this verse from the Psalms, both in word and in deed.

Our message is communicated in our words, but also in how we live our lives.

Elliott’s Commentary on this verse tells us “the communication of the sky is eloquent, but mute; its voice is for the heart and emotion, not the ear.” Our silent worship, through everything from performing our jobs, dealing with cashiers in a store, caring for our earth and all living creatures speaks to the hear and emotion of God and of those around us.

It can be ‘louder’ and more clear than any sermon, any worship service … it is our voiceless testimony of how far we allow God to work in and through us.

Read Full Post »

There is no greater sanctuary than to stand on soil, under the firmament, with nothing in view, nothing that one can hear, or smell, touch or taste, but that which God created.

It is there, in the midst of God’s creation that worship has nothing to do with professional, rock star ‘esque musicians and worship leaders … for the creation itself call us, our souls, to worship without hesitation, without hindrance.

Maybe it is the realization of the truth of Psalm 19:1-4:

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.”

It is as though something within us is in touch with the created world around us … we do share the same Creator. It is when we are within that which he spoke into place that our innate need to worship bubbles up from within us, and we just have to worship, to praise, to give thanks.

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
    or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
    or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know
    that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every creature
    and the breath of all mankind.”

Job 12:7-10

And if we don’t worship the Creator?

Well, the rest of Creation, from the mountains and hills, to the trees of the field and the birds in the the trees will worship, will cry out the song to the Creator.

“You will go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
    will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
    will clap their hands.”

Isaiah 55:12

Read Full Post »

Just last week, while sitting in our living room, chatting with hubby and our oldest daughter, something caught my eye.

A bright light was calling my attention away from those in front of me. As I looked beyond my daughters head to the night sky outside the window I was transfixed to the moon. It seemed so much brighter in it’s fullness, illuminating the clouds the as they quickly passed over it, providing a peek-a-boo experience for my eyes.

I was transfixed, mesmerized by the wonder of it’s brightness, it’s beauty.

“I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth”
Joel 1:30

Why, in the prophesies of the coming Messiah, would Joel tell us that God will display wonders in the sky and on the earth? (and the words that follow remind us that they are not all beautiful visions). Why not just say that the saviour is coming and leave it at that?

Maybe it is because we humans are pretty rooted to our earthly lives.

Maybe he knows that it takes some effort to get our attention.

Like the brightness of the moon, that pulled my eyes, my full attention from my earthly loves, God needs to use the extraordinary to get our eyes, our attention, when he is about to do something extraordinary … and the birth of a saviour, a redeemer, the propitiation or the reconciler by his blood, is the most extraordinary of all.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
  In the light of His glory and grace.”

“Taking up her shawl, Mary went to the cave entrance and gasp at the night sky Was it her imagination that one star shone more brightly than all the others? It was like a shaft of light breaking through the floor of heaven and shining down on the City of David. Had not the prophet Joes said the Lord would display wonders in the sky and on the earth when the Saviour came?” (From the book Unafraid: Mary, by Francine Rivers).

Read Full Post »

FullSizeRenderThis weekend is both delight and dread.

It is a lovely long weekend … yet it marks the effective end of summer.

So we live it up this weekend, soaking in the sunsets, the smores, the sleep-ins and the sweet times with family and friends.

Summer is like that indulgent aunt who loves you, but has no real responsibility for your well being. She dishes out the good stuff in life, spoiling us with the most indulgent things of life and living.

It would be easy to look at summer and say it is not reality, but a daydream in the sun. Summer, though, is so much more.

It is like a refreshing drink when we are parched. A feather soft bed when we are exhausted. A glimmer of light on the water from the full moon up above. It is rest, and refreshment and renewal for our hearts, minds, souls and bodies.

Actually, I think that summer is the ultimate sabbath of the calendar year … giving rest and refreshment to all facets of our lives. It is the time of year when it is totally acceptable to have no plans at all.

One thing that happens so naturally is the opportunity to worship our God and Creator, for his Earthly dwelling shows so well in summer, and it inspires our worship to the Creator.

The sunrises and sunsets, the flowers, plants and trees, the vegetables in our gardens and berries growing along the roadside all speak to a good and wise Creator, worthy of our praise. We whisper thanks as we stand at water’s edge, hike up a mountainside and hear a coyotes call into the night.

As we bid adieu to this fair season, the sabbath experience can continue, if we commit to intentionally including rest and reflection into our new goals for this new season. We know how life-giving this can be from our summer experience, lets take what we have learned into this new season.

The worship does not have to end, either, for God has created variation and change in our seasons. As we continue to allow sabbath into our routines, let us ensure that we give thanks and praise for this life that we have.

Less dread, more delight as we step away from this summer and into the fall.

Read Full Post »

Screen Shot 2018-08-18 at 9.11.14 AM

As I sat in a boat, being shown the lake in it’s entirety I was intrigued by how beautiful yet asymmetrical were the mountains surrounding it. As a lover of symmetry, I kept thinking how perfect they were in their imperfection.

Our daughter has been painting mountains this summer (@rangaart) and I love how in each painting it is the colours of the lower ranges that accentuate the grandeur of the mountain’s heights.

The mountain tops are beautiful because of
the lower ranges and the valleys below them.

I know from experiences hiking up mountains, that I need to climb with my eyes focused   either on where I am presently (ie. focused on each step) or where I am going. My eyes do not look back down the mountain until I reach the destination, the summit. It is then that I can look down and appreciate from where I have come, the efforts to get where I am and breath in the accomplishment of my efforts.

Psalm 121 is one of the Songs of Ascent in the Bible. It was written to be sung as one were to climb to Jerusalem.

Like my own hiking experience, it begins with the words “I lift my eyes to the mountains.” The Psalmist had obviously climbed to a summit before, for he knew that he needed to focus on where he was going.

The passage continues with “where does my help come from?” Not only did he know where he was heading, but why … his eyes were not on the destination, but on who would help him make it to his destination.

Our lives are made up of hills and valleys, and, like the mountain ranges, no two are the same. As we pursue these times in our lives we need to keep our eyes focused on the one, on God, who will will keep our steps steady, who watches over us, who protects us.

As the phrase says, keep your eyes on the prize … but the prize is not the destination, the prize is the help for the journey.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.”

 

 

Read Full Post »

Screen Shot 2018-07-15 at 7.51.05 AM

As Sunday dawns so does Sabbath … a day of rest, renewal. In our North American culture, in this time, Sunday is no different from any other day of the week. Yet our bodies, out minds, our spirits and souls cry out for all that Sabbath can and should be … rest, renewal.

However one might interpret the actual turn of events, Genesis says that:

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2:2-3)

God, the Creator of the heavens and Earth, rested from his work.

I was speaking to my mom, a few days ago, about our recent move to a new home. I was tired, bone tired. We had been unpacking and organizing for six days straight (after packing for weeks prior). My mom, in mom fashion, reminded me that it’s okay, even good, to just sit and relax and enjoy our new place. I balked that there was too much to be done, and that I couldn’t possibly enjoy anything until we were unpacked.

Then, while chatting with one of our kids, I found myself offering the same advice … that it’s okay, even good, to just sit and relax …

When advice is good and beneficial, it can even come from those of us who do not practise what we preach. It is as though our souls know what is best, even if we are deaf and blind to it’s truth in our practise.

In reading Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Genesis passage about God resting, I found this:

“The eternal God, though infinitely happy in the enjoyment of himself, yet took a satisfaction in the work of his own hands. He did not rest, as one weary, but as one well-pleased with the instances of his own goodness and the manifestations of his own glory.”

Sabbath is not limited to a certain day, but we all need a day of rest in our seven days. It does not have to be about an afternoon nap, it can simply be taking satisfaction in what we have accomplished, created in the six days prior, giving appreciation and homage to work well done.

If we were to regularly take time each week to honour what we have been part of, what we have worked to accomplish, what we have created, perhaps we would experience less stress, anxiety and depression.

Perhaps there is something to this day of rest.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Frijdom

encouraging space to think deeply

His Wings Shadow

Trust ~ Delight ~ Commit ~ Rest

The Thought Factory

where thoughts are developed

Perfect Chaos

God's Perfect Purpose in a Chaotic World

Life- All over the map

A family journey through childhood cancer and around the world

A L!fe Lived

seeking the full life that only Jesus offers

J. A. Allen

Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins

Relax --

God even loves gulls.

The Mustard Seed Kingdom

A Blog of the Evangelical Anabaptist Partners

Brittany Wheaton

reflections on living intentionality and soulfully in the midst of the grind

Frank Solanki

If you want to be a hero well just follow me

The Wild Heart of Life

"He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life." ...James Joyce

Ishshah's Story

Tell the story. Live the story. Be the story.

This is Ellen Peterson.

Playwright and actor Ellen Peterson writes mostly true stories.

Widow's Manna

A widows journey. Discovering God's provision is just enough for each day.

My life in words...

My heart and soul explode with joy- full of glory! Even my body will rest confident and secure